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The Haunted Port Townsend Lighthouse

Updated on January 09, 2015

Point Wilson Lighthouse

Point Wilson Lighthouse near Port Townsend, WA
Point Wilson Lighthouse near Port Townsend, WA | Source

Point Wilson Light Station

Point Wilson is a finger of land jutting into the sea where the Straight of Juan de Fuca meets Puget Sound in Washington State. Located near Port Townsend, Washington, the Point Wilson Light Station is an important navigational aid to ships traveling to Seattle and other ports in Puget Sound.

To passing ships, the lighthouse appears on the starboard side and marks the the place where ships must make a right turn to enter Admiralty Inlet if their destination is Puget Sound.

The lighthouse tower is 49 feet tall. Each light station has its own signal to help ship captains determine their location. The signal from the Point Wilson beacon is a white light which is on for 15 seconds, then off 5 seconds, with one red flash during the time it is darkened.

The original lighthouse was built at Point Wilson in 1879 and its light was visible for up to 13 miles. The current lighthouse was built in 1914, but the original lighthouse remained as the light keeper's house.

Over many decades, several lighthouse keeper's wives and other people staying in the light keeper's house have reported paranormal activities including sightings of shadowy figures, sounds like someone walking on the second floor and objects mysteriously being moved. Some people believe that the Point Wilson Lighthouse is haunted. Learn about the history of Point Wilson Light Station, see the video from a paranormal investigation, watch scuba divers explore a sunken ship and decide for yourself if you think Point Wilson Lighthouse is haunted.


A Map of Fort Worden and Point Wilson

Map of Fort Worden, Washington
Map of Fort Worden, Washington | Source

Where is Point Wilson?

Point Wilson is on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State about 60 miles northwest of Seattle. It is approximately 2 miles north of Port Townsend, Washington adjacent to Fort Worden State Park. The Point Wilson Light Station is at the tip of Point Wilson. The straight of Juan de Fuca is on the north side of the point and Admiralty Inlet is to the south.



A View of Point Wilson from Fort Worden State Park

Point Wilson and Lighthouse
Point Wilson and Lighthouse

Point Wilson Lighthouse Quick Facts

Current lighthouse built in 1914

The Tower is 49 Feet Tall

The light from the beacon may be seen for 16 miles

Powered by a a 4th order Fresnel lens

Point Wilson Light Station 1914

Point Wilson Lighthouse, Washington State 1914
Point Wilson Lighthouse, Washington State 1914 | Source

The History of Point Wilson Lighthouse

The Point Wilson Lighthouse was built in 1879 when Washington was still Washington Territory. (Washington did not become a state until 1889.)

The light was commissioned on December 15, 1879 with a fourth order barrel-type fresnel lens that was visible for up to 13 miles.

The first lighthouse keeper was David Littlefield who served as lightkeeper for about 4 years.

A new lighthouse was built in 1913 with a new concrete and masonry lighthouse tower attached to a fog signal building. It was powered with the original 4th order Fresnel lens from the original lighthouse, but the height of the new tower increased the visiblity of the light to 16 miles.

Just after midnight on Friday, April 1, 1921, a tragic accident occurred near the Point Wilson Lighthouse. The 417-foot passenger ship S. S. Governor, with 240 passengers and crew members aboard collided with the freighter S. S. West Hartland. Although a rescue effort was immediately begun, eight lives were lost when the S.S. Governor sank within 30 minutes in 240 feet of water, one mile off Point Wilson. The crew of the S.S. West Hartland were more fortunate with no loss of life.

During World War II (1941-1945), the Point Wilson light was turned off, as were several other lighthouses on the west coast to prevent them being used as landmarks for an enemy attack

In November 1976, both the lighthouse and fog signal at Point Wilson were automated. A radio-beacon transmitting signal was also installed that is used for locating a ship's position.

The fresnel lens is currently illuminated by a 1,000-watt quartz lamp. It produces a 60,000 candlepower beam that is visible for 16 miles. The foghorn signal is activated by automatic sensors that detect moisture in the air. When activated it sounds one three-second blast every 30 seconds,


See the Lens and the View from the Lighthouse Tower

The Pt Wilson Lightkeepers House

Pt Wilson Light eepers House, Washington /state
Pt Wilson Light eepers House, Washington /state

Spooky Stories of Point Wilson Lighthouse

Over the years several different Coast Guard wives who lived in the light keepers house reported seeing a movement out of the corner of their eye only to turn and see a fleeting shadow of a woman in a long dress. There were also numerous tales of unexplained sounds of footsteps or noises like someone was rummaging through a bathroom cabinet when no one else was in the house. Sometimes items from a cupboard were mysteriously pulled out and found laying on the floor. In another strange incident, cards received by a child for her birthday that had been displayed on the mantle were found scattered on the floor

A guest of one family who resided in the light keepers house was sleeping on a sofa when he awoke with the sensation that he was being smothered. He saw the figure of a woman in the nearby kitchen.

Another encounter involved a Coast Guardsman who lived in the residence. He sensed a presence as he stood cooking a meal in front of the stove in the kitchen. He turned around to see the shadowy figure of a man standing nearby.

It seems that most of the paranormal activity happened in the west side of the house which would be on the right side in the above photo. Sometimes families living in the keepers house stayed on the east (left) side of the house to avoid having any strange experiences.

Who Could Be Haunting Point Wilson Lighthouse?

One theory is that Point Wilson Lighthouse is haunted by the ghost of Maria Hastings Littlefield, the first light keepers wife. According to Washington state death records, she died July 1, 1912 and is said to have tragically lost her only son, Loren Littlefield in a drowning accident October 6, 1900.

The SS Governor

The SS Governor
The SS Governor | Source

The Sinking of the SS Governor

Another possibility is that the spirit of Lucy Washbourne wanders the Point Wilson Lighthouse.

Just after midnight on April 1, 1921, Lucy Washbourne, her husband and their two daughters were asleep in the cabin on the S.S. Governor, when it collided with the S.S. West Hartland offshore from Point Wilson. Their cabin was at the site of the impact. Lucy and her husband were rescued from the cabin, but the two girls were trapped inside. The crew were unable to reach them and left them to go down with the ship. Lucy Washbourne was hysterical and ran back into the sinking ship and she and her daughters were never seen again. A total of 8 people were lost when the SS Governor sank.

There were other numerous shipwrecks in the vicinity of Point Wilson, so perhaps some other unknown ghost or ghosts may be haunting the light keeper's house.

The Discovery of the SS Governor Shipwreck

The wreckage of the SS Governor was found by two commercial divers in 1976. It rests on the bottom of Admiralty Inlet in 240 feet of water about a mile from the Point Wilson Lighthouse. Because of the extremely hazardous diving conditions the shipwreck has only been visited a few times by very experienced teams of divers.

A Scuba Dive to the Wreckage of the SS Governor in 2010

A Dive to the SS Governor 2011

What do you think about ghosts? - Are they real or imagined?

Do you think the Point Wilson Lighthouse is haunted?

Yes

Yes

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    • Sharon Mullins 14 months ago

      I lived in the west side of the house for three years, yes it is haunted! I was a young military wife, home alone with a toddler all of the time. I would wake up to find the contents of my pantry all over the kitchen, often. The incident that scared me the most, was when I became very sick with pneumonia. One night I kept hearing someone calling from the breakwater on the west side of the house. I don't remember getting up and going outside, much less climbing the treacherous breakwater. My husband found me (hours later) sitting on the breakwall, too close to the water (I could have been washed from the rocks at any time!) just staring out at the ocean, apparently I was babbling about a woman wanting me to help her find her son. There was no-one out there with me! A few hours later, I was diagnosed with severe pneumonia, I was only hours away from death, the doctor said I probably wouldn't live through the night. I believe Loren's mother, was the spirit that was asking me to help find her son. At the time I knew nothing about the supposed hauntings (the Coast Guard did not mention any of the hauntings, when they moved us into the house!) It has been almost thirty years, and I am still finding new information about it.

      Sharon Mullins

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      i lived there!!!! :) and yes we lived on the west side of the house! our oven timer used to go off at three in the morning all the time, and one day my mom asked me if id gotten up to use the bathroom (my room was the attic, hers was on the second floor by the bathroom) I told her i hadn't and she asked again, and i was frustrated lol, well i guess she saw a shadow walk past her room and heard someone in the medicine cabinet and just assumed it was me (im getting chills just talking about this lol) then....... i was laying in bed half asleep one night, i went through this stage where i would literally pray my grandmas spirit would come to me i missed her so bad, well you know when you just feel something and you know you need to open your eyes? well i did, and i opened my eyes, and a woman with long hair and a white nightgown was leaning over me looking at me, i was so afraid i shut my eyes and assume i miraculously fell asleep instantaneously but i wonder if i didn't pass out from fear lol, so anyway in the morning i asked my mom if she had came up and checked on me and she said no :/ so yes it is DEFINITELY haunted lol

    • wheresthekarma 5 years ago

      Yeah if people are reporting shadows and stuff, then yeah.

    • Blonde Blythe 6 years ago

      Yes!!!!

    • WhiteOak50 6 years ago

      I have been at this for a long time. Without a doubt I believe in spirit/ghost!

    • gmarlett lm 6 years ago

      absolutely! how could it not be?

    No

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      • MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

        I don't know if it is, but I think that something happens, I just don't know what.

      • WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

        I'm not sure. I watched the video and I wasn't able to hear or connect with many of the noises and sounds.

      • SandraRoseDesigns 6 years ago

        I'm still not sure of stuff like this... I'm glad I'm not in charge of deciding, though!

      Directions to Fort Worden

      The Point Wilson lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard and managed by Fort Worden State Park. The lighthouse and tower are open to visitors from May through September on Saturdays during the hours of 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Port Townsend Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla #47 offers free guided tours. For information, call (360) 385-5520 or (360) 582-3890.

      Driving Instructions: From Highway 20 in Port Townsend, turn left on Kearney Street. When Kearney Street ends, turn right onto Blaine Street. From Blaine Street, turn left onto Walker Street, which becomes Cherry Street. Follow Cherry Street 1.6 miles to Fort Worden where the road changes to Fort Worden Way. Enter Fort Worden and turn right on Eisenhower Avenue. When Eisenhower Avenue ends, turn left on Harbor Defense Way and follow it 0.8 miles to the Point Wilson Lighthouse.

      Lodging: Port Townsend is a picturesque seaport town located about 2 miles from the Point Wilson Lighthouse. It is known for numerous historic Victorian era homes. There are several choices for overnight lodging.


      © 2010 Vicki Green

      Have you ever been to a haunted lighthouse? - Feel free to leave your comments

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        • mbgphoto profile image

          Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

          I've been to a lot of lighthouses...but never a haunted one (that I know of). Interesting lens.

        • profile image

          bdkz 6 years ago

          Congratulations! You've been SquidBoo Blasted. Happy Halloween!

        • CastleRoyLisa profile image

          Lisa 6 years ago from Rhode Island

          wonderful lens I love learning about haunted places thank you.

        • aka-rms profile image

          Robin S 6 years ago from USA

          Congratulations! After completeing the August Get Cracking Challenge, lensmaster CastleRoy has awarded this terrific lens a Purple Star.

        • PNWtravels profile image
          Author

          Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

          @CastleRoyLisa: I am stunned - I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much!

        • Draconius LM profile image

          Draconius LM 6 years ago

          I love haunted places, lens rolled to my arkansas ghosts and urban legends lens. Very well done!!

        • PNWtravels profile image
          Author

          Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

          @Draconius LM: Thank you!

        • PNWtravels profile image
          Author

          Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

          @gmarlett lm: Thanks for visiting - I'm glad you enjoyed.

        • WhiteOak50 profile image

          WhiteOak50 6 years ago

          Fantastic lens. I am featuring it at: Scariest Places on Earth I would love to see this lighthouse!!

        • PNWtravels profile image
          Author

          Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

          @WhiteOak50: Thank you!

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          SandraRoseDesigns 6 years ago

          Very interesting lens! I like this in combination with Halloween. Lensrolled to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and to Legendary Lighthouses!

        • PNWtravels profile image
          Author

          Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

          @SandraRoseDesigns: Thanks for visiting and the lensroll!

        • Linda BookLady profile image

          Linda Jo Martin 6 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

          Such sad stories! I wouldn't be surprised if one of those traumatized mothers was haunting the place!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Another great lighthouse lens, lensrolled to my lighthouse collectibles lens.

        • Kiwisoutback profile image

          Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

          I've never been to a haunted lighthouse to my knowledge, but I have been to plenty of lighthouses. The most impressive one that I can remember was Bodie Island in North Carolina, and the Cape Hatteras one which is nearby on the Outer Banks. Great lens.

        • patinkc profile image

          patinkc 6 years ago from Midwest

          I visited the Port Townsend Lighthouse several years ago, but it was not open. It was a lovely place to sit for awhile. I didn't see any ghosts. :-( I would love to go back sometime.

        • WindyWintersHubs profile image

          WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

          I haven't (knowingly) visited anything haunted. Would love to visit the Port Townsend area and see this lighthouse. :)

        • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

          MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

          These are fun. But I didn't know they were still building light houses in the 20th century

        • Sylvestermouse profile image

          Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

          What a fascinating story! I got chills just reading about it and it is broad daylight.

        • plrsource profile image

          plrsource 5 years ago

          Very cool lens.....i love lighthouses....i collect them....Very nice!!!

        • Northwestphotos profile image

          Northwestphotos 5 years ago

          Very nicely written lens! Been to Port Townsend several times, but had never heard about the lighthouse being haunted. Thanks for that info!

        • wheresthekarma profile image

          wheresthekarma 5 years ago

          I love "haunted" lenses. I do some ghost hunting as a hobby myself. Will pin this to placed I'd like to ghost hunt board on pinterest.

        • Blackspaniel1 profile image

          Blackspaniel1 4 years ago

          Nice lens

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Very interesting article. You sure did a nice job of invoking feelings with this. :)

        • Angelgirl1976 profile image

          Angelgirl1976 4 years ago

          Hi, what a fantastic lens :) I love haunted places and I love writing about it more though :) brilliant and full of interesting info especially for me as I am from UK and do not know of these places unless they get onto TV with 'A Haunting', or Paranormal Witness' etc Thanks for the lens :)

        • takkhisa profile image

          Takkhis 4 years ago

          I like reading about Lighthouse.

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