Let me first say thanks to you for being patient for this blog post. It’s been well over a year since I last published the Jennie Wade House in Gettysburg, PA post.
For the opportunity to not only visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse, but the opportunity to run some of my equipment, I’d like to thank two podcasts: Hillbilly Horror Stories and History Goes Bump who hosted this ticketed event. It was an honor to meet all the hosts from these shows since these are podcasts that I not only look to for inspiration, but also for podcasting tips and tricks.
So, let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we? For the accompanying podcast episode, Amy Smart, our new co-host, did the research and history portion of the show and I’m providing her well-taken notes below for the history portion of this investigation. Her notes couldn’t give any better citation and explanation of the vast amount of history of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
I would also like to add that for evidence and history segments working in unison to prove the paranormal activity of one specific unrested spirit is damn near impossible for this location. As you’ll see by Amy’s notes, there is an extended history to this site due to the age. Please use the “History” section below as points of reference as you dive into the location for yourself.
Amy’s History Notes
1ST KEEPERS—HEAD KEEPERS
- JUAN ANTONIO ANDREU (1824-1849)
- JOHN CARRERAS (1849-1853)
- ROBERT MICKLER (1853-1854)
- JOSEPH J. ANDREU (1854-1859)*** FELL TO HIS DEATH PAINTING THE OUTSIDE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE***
- MARIA DE LOS DOLORES MESTRE (MASTER) (1859-1862) *WIFE OF JOSEPH, SHE TOOK OVER AS KEEPER AFTER HUSBAND JOSEPH ANDREU DIED**
- SILADONIA PELLICIER (1867-1873). ?
- 5 YRS W/NO ONE ? (IN 1862 THE LIGHT WAS DARKENED DURING THE CIVIL WAR)
- WILLIAM RUSSELL (1873-1875)
- WILLIAM HARN (1875-1889). ENLISTED IN THE ARMY IN 1854 AT THE AGE OF 19. A FEW YEARS LATER, AS A PRIVATE, HE WAS SENT TO FORT MOULTRIE HERE IN SC. HE WAS LATER TRANSFERRED TO FORT SUMTER WHERE HE WAS DURING THE CONFEDERATE BOMBARDMENT AND THE CIVIL WAR BEGAN. HARN ALSO SERVED IN THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG AND BATTLE OF RAPPAHANNOCK STATION, VA. IN AUGUST OF 1865, HE AND HIS WIFE MOVED TO CHARLESTON SC WHERE HE LIVED AS A MERCHANT UNTIL 1869, HE THEN SERVED AS LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER IN CHARLESTON FROM OCTOBER 1871-75. HE WAS THEN TRANSFERRED TO BE THE PRINCIPLE KEEPER OF ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE ON ANASTASIA ISLAND UNTIL HIS DEATH OF CONSUMPTION MAY 31, 1889. WHILE IN CHARLESTON, WILLIAM MET A YOUNG WOMAN FROM MAINE NAMED KATE SKILLEN. HER FATHER WAS JAMES, AN ORDINANCE SERGEANT AT CASTLE PINCKNEY, IN THE CHARLESTON HARBOR.
MATERIAL: BRICK (1ST WAS MADE FROM WOOD)
HEIGHT: 1ST TOWER WAS 52 FEET, 2ND 165 FEET
MARKINGS/PATTERN: BLACK/WHITE SPIRAL BANDS W/RED
LANTERN CHARACTERISTICS: 3 MINUTE FIXED FLASH; IN 1936 CHANGED TO 30 SECOND FLASH
ORIGINAL LENS: FIRST ORDER FRESNEL, 1874
HISTORICAL TIMELINE(TAKEN FROM UNITED STATES COAST GUARD-RESEARCHED AND WRITTEN BY DIANE HACKNEY)
- 1824-OLD SPANISH WATCHTOWER BECAME THE FIRST LIGHTHOUSE IN FLORIDA
- 1867-THE FIRST LIGHTHOUSE WAS RELIT AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. DURING THE WAR, CONFEDERATE SUPPORTERS REMOVED THE FRESNEL LENSE AND HID IT.
- 1871-CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW LIGHTHOUSE WAS STARTEDOCTOBER 14
- 1874-OLD LIGHTHOUSE WAS LIT FOR THE LAST TIMEOCTOBER 15,
- 1874-NEW LIGHTHOUSE WAS LIT FOR THE FIRST TIME. LARD OIL WAS USED AS THE FUEL TO LIGHT THE LIGHTHOUSE.
- 1878-OLD LIGHTHOUSE CRASHED INTO THE SEA
- 1885- KEROSENE REPLACED LARD TO FUEL THE LIGHTHOUSE
- 1907-INDOOR PLUMBING WAS ADDED1925-ELECTRIC LIGHTS WERE INSTALLED IN THE KEEPERS QUARTERS
- 1955-THE LIGHTHOUSE WAS AUTOMATED AND THE LAST KEEPER RETIRED
- 1960-THE KEEPERS HOUSE WAS DECLARED SURPLUS PROPERTY AND WAS PUT UP FOR SALE. THE QUARTERS WERE BOARDED UP AND LEFT NEGLECTED
- 1970: WHILE NEGOTIATIONS WERE UNDERWAY, THE HOUSE FELL VICTIM TO ARSON.
- 1981-THE HOUSE WAS PLACED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
- 2002-THE IS AN OFFICIAL, PRIVATELY OWNED, ACTIVE AID TO NAVIGATION. THE ST AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE & MUSEUM OWNS AND MAINTAINS THE LIGHT STATION
- THE MOST POPULAR IS THE TRUE STORY OF THE TRAGEDY OF HEZEKIAH H. PITTIE, SUPERINTENDENT OF LIGHTHOUSE CONSTRUCTION 1871-74.ON JULY 10, 1873, DURING CONSTRUCTION OF THE TOWER, THE FOREMAN’S CHILDREN PLAYING ON A SUPPLY CART THAT RAN ON THE TRACKS TO WHERE MODERN SALT IS NOW. WHEN THE CART HIT THE GATE, THE CHILDREN WERE TRAPPED UNTIL A WORKER WAS ABLE TO LIFT THE CART. THE 2 YOUNGEST CHILDREN, EDWARD AND CARRIE PITTIE SURVIVED. THE 2 OLDEST ELIZA AND MARY DROWN.
- THERE WAS A 3RD GIRL, UNNAMED. SHE WAS AFRICAN AMERICAN BUT HER NAME WAS NOT SHARED BECAUSE AT THAT TIME, THEY DID NOT SEE ANY SIGNIFICANCE OF MENTIONING HER DUE TO HER SKIN COLOR. SHE WAS 10 YEARS OLD. GUESTS HAVE SAID THEY HAVE SEEN THE FIGURE OF A LITTLE GIRL IN A BLUE DRESS ON THE GROUNDS. MARY WAS BELIEVED TO BE WEARING A BLUE DRESS THe DAY SHE DROWNED.
- ALTHOUGH NOT A GHOST HUNTER HIMSELF, MATT HLADIK, A 21 YR OLD TOUR GUIDE, HAS SEEN MANY STRANGE THINGS AT THE LIGHTHOUSE COMPLEX….A SHADOWY FIGURE IN THE TOWER, A HAND COMING THROUGH THE TOWER DOOR AND FURNITURE MOVING AROUND ON ITS OWN.HE HAS ALSO HAD ARM HAIRS PLUCKED FROM HIM IN THE BASEMENT OF THE KEEPERS HOUSE. ALSO HAD HIS ANKLE GRABBED WHILE DOING A TOUR ONE NIGHT. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT ELIZA HAS A CRUSH ON HIM. AT THE TIME HE STARTED GIVING TOURS, HE WAS 16, ELIZA WAS 15 WHEN SHE PASSED. HE FEELS HER AROUND HIM 9 OUT OF TEN NIGHTS. AS IF SHE IS FOLLOWING HIM AROUND.
- STAFF HAS ALSO REPORTED LOCKING THE DOOR AT BOTH TOP AND BOTTOM OF LIGHTHOUSE AT NIGHT AS THEY LEAVE, WHEN THEY REPORT BACK TO WORK THE NEXT DAY, THE DOOR AT THE TOP WILL BE UNLOCKED AND OPEN, EVEN THOUGH THE BOTTOM DOOR REMAINED LOCKED THE WHOLE TIME.
- STAFF HAS ALSO REPORTED HAVING ITEMS GO MISSING ONLY TO SHOW UP LATER IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION.
- GUESTS AND STAFF HAVE WITNESSED FURNITURE IN THE KEEPERS QUARTERS MOVING ON ITS OWN.THE BASEMENT OF KEEPERS QUARTERS IS WELL KNOWN FOR CLASSIC EVP’S. ONE GUEST USED HIS PHONE TO RECORD. NOT LONG AFTER STARTING TO RECORD, HIS PHONE SHUT OFF. HE ASKED, “DID YOU TURN MY PHONE OFF?” ANOTHER GUESTS THAT WAS RECORDING PICKED UP A “YESSS” IMMEDIATELY AFTER HE ASKED THAT QUESTION.ALSO IN THE KEEPERS QUARTERS.
- GUESTS HAVE REPORTED A DROP IN TEMPERATURE, COLD SPOTS, AND AT THE SAME TIME HAVE SEEN A TALL SHADOW FIGURE OF A MAN. WHEN THE SHADOW FIGURE DISAPPEARS, TEMPS GO BACK TO NORMAL.
- EYE WITNESSES HAVE ALSO SEEN MYSTERIOUS WET FOOTPRINTS IN THE BASEMENT OF KEEPERS QUARTERS, ONLY TO DISAPPEAR MOMENTS LATER. THESE COULD BE THE FOOTPRINTS OF THE GIRLS THAT DROWN OR COULD IT BE THAT OF A MAN REPORTED HANGING AROUND THE WATER CISTERN?
- ACCORDING TO “GHOST DOCTOR” (A GHOST BEHAVIORIST) TV SHOW (EPISODE 1), DARK OF THE MOON TOUR GUIDE, MATT, FOOTPRINTS HAVE ALSO BEEN SEEN ON THE FIRST FLOOR OF KEEPERS QUARTERS. SMALL FOOTPRINTS, THOSE OF A CHILD, WERE SPOTTED AT WHAT USED TO BE THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS. (THE QUARTERS WERE ORIGINALLY A DUPLEX, HEAD KEEPER AND ASSISTANT). 2 FOOTPRINTS WERE SEEN AND WHERE THE THIRD STEP WOULD HAVE BEEN WAS THE FIRST STEP OF THE STAIRS THAT USED TO BE THERE. STAFF TRIED TO WIPE AWAY THE FOOTPRINTS AND THEY WOULD NOT COME UP BUT FINALLY DISAPPEARED SEVERAL WEEKS LATER. AMID THEIR INVESTIGATION, THEY USED MULTIPLE METHODS. K2’S, FLASHLIGHT METHOD (ASK YES OR NO QUESTIONS, OR INSTRUCT SPIRITS TO “TURN LIGHT ON IF …, OFF IF…” THEY USE THE ENERGY FROM THE BATTERIES TO ANSWER. USING2K2METERS,ONEFOR“YES”,THEOTHERFOR“NO”. IT WAS DETERMINED THEY WERE SPEAKING TO ELIZA AFTER ASKING APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS.
- THE FIRST VISIT FROM TAPS (THE ATLANTIC PARANORMAL SOCIETY, WHICH MY TEAM IS A MEMBER OF) GHOST HUNTERS IN 2005 HELPED PUT THE LIGHTHOUSE ON THE MAP FOR THIS INDUSTRY ON THE SYFY CHANNEL. THEY RETURNED IN 2008 AND AGAIN 2019. SHOW “GHOST HUNTERS” MAIN STARS JASON HAWES AND GRANT WILSON DUBBED THE LIGHTHOUSE “THE MONA LISA OF PARANORMAL SITES”. THEY PHOTOGRAPHED A SHADOW FIGURE LOOKING OVER THE RAILING, GOT NUMEROUS EVP’S.
- ALSO NOTED BY SPYGLASS TOURS, 105 HEADSTONES BUT OVER 1,000 BODIES ARE BURIED IN CEMETERY ON SITE. MOSTLY CIVIL WAR HEROES.
- DESPITE BEING SMOKE FREE, THE ODOR OF CIGAR SMOKE HAS BEEN REPORTED BY STAFF AND LOCALS. MANY REFER TO THIS COMING FORM ‘THE MAN”. A TALL SHADOWY FIGURE THAT HAS BEN SPOTTED LOOKING DOWN OVER THE RAILING OF THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE. HE IS OFTEN SEEN IN A BLUE JACKET AND MARINERS CAP. SOME BELIEVE, WITH HIS SLIM, TALL STATURE, IT IS WILLIAM RUSSELL. AN EARLIER KEEPER FROM THE 1850’S. OTHERS CLAIM IT IS JOSEPH ANDREU WHO FELL TO HIS DEATH WHILE PAINTING THE OUTSIDE OF THE STRUCTURE IN 1859. IT IS ALSO BELIEVED TO BE THAT OF PETER RASMUSSEN. HE ENJOYED THE FINER THINGS IN LIFE AND MADE SURE BATHTUBS AND CLOSETS WERE ADDED TO THE KEEPERS HOUSE WHERE HE ENJOYED SMOKING CIGARS.
- STAFF AND LOCALS ALSO CLAIM HEARING LAUGHTER FLOATING ACROSS THE GROUNDS FROM THE KEEPERS HOUSE, TO THE TOP OF THE TOWER. BELIEVED TO BE THAT OF ELIZA AND MARY PITTIE, THE DAUGHTERS OF HEZEKIAH PITTIE WHO WAS DOING CONSTRUCTION ON THE STRUCTURE.
- THE MOST UNNERVING INCIDENT, THE WOMAN ON THE CAT WALK. BELIEVED TO BE THAT OF MARIA MESTRE DE LOS DOLORES. SHE WAS THE FIRST FEMALE TO BE APPOINTED TO THE US COAST GUARD. HER HUSBAND, JOSEPH ANDREU IS THE ONE THAT FELL TO IS DEATH WHILE PAINTING THE STRUCTURE. SHE WAS LEFT TO TAKE HER HUSBANDS POSITION AS LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER AND THE FIRST SPANISH- AMERICAN WOMAN TO BE APPOINTED.SHE CAN BE FOUND, ON OCCASION, LEANING OVER THE RAILING, IMAGINING WHAT THOSE LAST FEW SECONDS OF JOSEPH’S LIFE MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE.THESE STORIES AND MORE CAN BE HEARD ON THE DARK OF THE MOON TOURS IN ST. AUGUSTINE.
The Evidence and Data recorded on September 17, 2021
To provide you with the easiest way to follow this data, I’m providing it the same way I do for my ghost hunting tour guests: media first, markers and explanations after. Yes, my tour guests receive all recorded data back from their walking tours in Charleston. Shameless plug: An Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience.
This regular Audio is the entire investigation’s audio pieces. Upon my review, I found the following possible EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon):
- 7:13 “yeah” This is during a conversation between Jerry and I.
- 28:20 “yes”
- 28:32 (another whisper)
I would love to hear back from you about what you think. Leave comments at the bottom of this page.
This recording is genuine static created by GhostStop’s SBox Spirit Box inside of a Faraday Wallet. If you’re unfamiliar with this method of spirit box recording, the premise is simple. The wallet provides a metallic-like lining to prevent actual radio frequencies (RF) from coming through. In other words, you won’t find any radio chatter in recordings like this.
The SBox has a capability to record even on mute, so this device stayed in my bag during the investigation and allowed me to listen to the recording later without interfering with running other devices.
Unfortunately, I found no EVPs in this recording and would love to hear back from you with your findings in the comments below.
In this thermal imaging video, you’ll see a blue dot moving around the screen. This is giving us the coldest location in the frame at that moment.
- While watching the young lady in the beginning of the video, you’ll notice slight temperature difference around her hand and right arm.
- 12:50 On the left hand side of this frame, you’ll notice a cold spot on the arm and shoulder of person sitting on the floor.
- 16:33 From the center crosshairs to the coldest spot, temperature difference from 89.2° to 71.5°, a 17.7° difference.
- 33:14 From the center crosshairs to the coldest spot, temperature difference 77° to 69°, an 8° difference.
The full spectrum lighting video is intended to produce light we cannot see with our own eyes in attempt to catch something on video that we normally wouldn’t be able to see. Unfortunately, this method also includes revealing how much dust is in an area. However, there are quite a few instances that I found that are indeed unexplainable.
- 0:01 Quite a bit of dust kicking around as we all settled into the base of the lighthouse.
- 5:41 Orb. Center to left, it starts in the young lady’s shoulder area. I will also point out that this same young lady showed me bruises from both her right hand and shoulder the following day.
- 7:09 Orb. On right hand.
- 11:26 EMF activity on K-II Meter of 10-15mG (milligaus)
- 12:15 EMF activity on K-II Meter of 15mG continuously.
- 19:18 SLS camera operator from podcast Astonishing Legends notices something next to the scuba diver mannequin in the room.
- 20:57 EMF spike of 30+mG on the EMF function of the Mel Meter.
While in the Lighthouse Keeper’s House, I had a spike on the EMF function of the Mel Meter that I’ve never seen before or since that investigation. The EMF spiked at 198mG, errored out, and so I left the room and came back in where the same reading of 198mG displayed briefly and then zero’d itself out.
To give you the magnitude of this reading, a K-II Meter maxes out at 25mG with a solid red reading on the lights. A microwave running on full power will emanate about 160-170mG. The 198mG reading from that night is astronomical.
To fully understand this odd, new method of spirit box method, I invite you to read this article by Astonishing Legends. It’s phenomenal and gives you a full definition of how to operate the method for yourself.
To give you a basic gist, you need at least two people. Person 1 wears a set of earbuds and a set of noise canceling earmuffs to take out any possibility of hearing Person 2. Person 1 plugs into a spirit box of choice and sets the settings to the speed and direction of sweep of their choice. Person 1 is now enacting as a channel to answer any questions asked by Person 2 to possibly hold a full conversation. A blindfold is highly recommended but not a requirement.
During my experiment for the first time with this method, a few terms all tied together based on this passage I found from “The Book Lover’s Guide to Florida” by Kevin McCarthy:
First, notice the 1927 Pulitzer Prize reference. The numbers “twenty” and “seven” were repeated during my ESTES Method session.
The name “Rick” was said several times among many listeners of the ESTES Method sessions. This paragraph is about Richard Wright and Paul Green. The name “Green” was also repeated during my session.
It is undeniable the amount of evidence of paranormal activity that occurs at this location. Between professionals and famed paranormal investigators using this space as almost a guaranteed night of paranormal evidence to study and analyze, I still can’t place my finger as to the why a surplus of activity happens here. Is it the sheer amount of history we researchers are able to dig up? Is it because the amount of actual activity that occurred here? Or is it something else unbeknownst to us living folk?
The evidence discovered during this investigation brought about a new light to who/what may be haunting the St. Augustine Lighthouse grounds: “Rick” or a “Mr. Green”. Are they additions or have they been there all along? We may never find out for certain.
As the paranormal field of technology and methods around that technology advances, it will be interesting what else we can learn from these guaranteed readings of insanely high EMF spikes and spirit box methods.
As for now, with the amount of haunting claims of the St. Augustine Lighthouse, I am dubbing this a near impossible feat to discover exactly “who” brings these hauntings and why. I am, however, satisfied to have caught these small tokens of evidence to add to my arsenal of experiences. It was a pleasure to work alongside podcast hosts for Hillbilly Horror Stories, History Goes Bump and Astonishing Legends. Thank you for including Stories in the Cemetery on this very memorable experience.
The accompanying podcast episode for this post is Episode 40: The St. Augustine Lighthouse.
E45 Listening to a Spirit Box – Stories in the Cemetery
References Used to Create this Post and Accompanying Podcast Episode
Astonishing Legends. “ESTES Method.” 28 February 2019. Astonishing Legends. https://www.astonishinglegends.com/astonishing-legends/2019/2/16/estes-method. 28 October 2021.
Ghost Doctor TV Show Full Episode 1: LONGEST SPIRIT INTERACTION! St. Augustine Lighthouse – hunters. Perf. Chris Bores. 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mmd2_MVjKc.
Ghost Hunters (TV Series). Perf. Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. 2008. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2676520/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt.
Hackney, Diane. “East Coast Lighthouses.” 2017-21. United States Lighthouses. http://unitedstateslighthouses.com/explore-us-lighthouses/east-coast-region/36-st-augustine-lighthouse.html. 28 October 2021.
McCarthy, Kevin. The Book Lover’s Guide to Florida. Pineapple Press, 1992. https://www.amazon.com/Book-Lovers-Guide-Florida/dp/1561640212/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=.
St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. Explore Our History. n.d. https://www.staugustinelighthouse.org/get-involved/about-mission-uvp/history/. 28 October 2021.
Visit St. Augustine. “A Haunting Tour of the Lighthouse.” n.d. Visit St. Augustine. https://www.visitstaugustine.com/article/haunting-tour-lighthouse. 28 October 2021.