My husband and I took the tour of the Pensacola Lighthouse and Fort Barrancas last weekend. Being among the oldest structures in an area settled by Europeans about 450 years ago, and Native Americans before that, of course ghost stories abound.
The tour included a short video with an excerpt from the Travel Channel’s Haunted Lighthouses. One version of the story goes like this:
Michaela Penalber, the newlywed wife of the first keeper, Jeremiah Ingraham is supposed to be one of the ghosts at the lighthouse. The first lighthouse on the site was shoddily constructed and poorly placed in 1826. The Ingrahams moved in shortly after its completion. Michaela constantly followed her husband, helping him tend the light, and keeping the residence. Jeremiah died in 1840 and Michaela was appointed keeper. It is rumored Michaela murdered Jeremiah by a violent stabbing while they were alone in the tower, although official records only say he took ill and died.
Michaela tended the light from 1840 until her death in 1855. Four years later, the first structure was replaced with a taller, sturdier construction and this seems to have annoyed Michaela Ingraham. From that time on, objects have been hurled at visitors in the keeper’s quarters. One of the workmen rebuilding the tower reported having a water hose yanked from his grip.
To this day blood stains remain on the floor in the keeper’s residence. No amount of scrubbing will get rid of them. One visitor thinks there are three ghosts haunting the tower, two of which are other unknown keepers.
Others, tourists and residents, have tales to tell. One is of a father and his two children, ages 8 and 11 who were touring the lighthouse. While on the staircase the boy reported someone whispering his name “Alex” in his ear and he kept talking about seeing a ghost.
Along the walls of the first floor of the lighthouse were typed oral histories from people who experienced strange happenings there. One person who grew up at the lighthouse said, “When I would go up to pull the chains to keep the lens turning, I could hear human breathing. I was certain that it wasn’t mine and I would stop and listen.”
He also told the story about the blood spot on the floor that refused to go away. He said, “I can remember my Mom scrubbing the floor trying to get rid of the blood stain and her getting upset because it would constantly return.” He continued, “At night, we would hear footsteps coming up the stairs, but when we would look, no one would be there.”
It was a bright, beautiful October day when we were there, so I suppose the ghosts were taking a break, waiting for a dark and stormy night. The only thing that scared me was the staircase!