Ghost of St. Simons Light
The beautiful old lighthouse
tower on St. Simons Island in
Georgia is said to be haunted
by the restless spirit of one of
its former keepers.
Ghost of the St. Simons Lighthouse - St. Simons Island, Georgia
Ghost of the St. Simons Lighthouse - St. Simons Island, Georgia
Haunted St. Simons Lighthouse - St. Simons Island, Georgia
The Ghost of the St. Simons Lighthouse
There is something about lighthouses that make them popular focus points for many
American ghost stories. Perhaps it is the way the interior stairwells often seem dark and
foreboding, almost like the dungeons of ancient times, or their often isolated locations also
could come into play. The other theory, of course, is that they really are haunted.

The St. Simons Island Lighthouse has stood on the Georgia coast since 1872 when it was
constructed by the U.S. government to replace one destroyed during the Civil War. Only eight
years later, however, a violent episode occurred here that is reverberated through the years and
developed into one of the South’s most well-known ghost stories.

The lighthouse keeper at the time of the 1880 incident was Frederick Osborne. With an
assistant, he kept the light operating 24-hours per day, seven days a week. With their families,
they shared quarters in the adjacent lighthouse keeper’s house. Osborne lived on the ground
floor while his assistant lived on the second. The two floors were connected by a central
stairway.

Trouble began when Osborne supposedly spoke in an "inappropriate" manner to the wife of
his assistant. An argument escalated and the assistant, John Stephens, shot Osborne.

The keeper died from his wounds and Stephens was arrested and charged with murder. After
hearing the circumstances of the case, however, a jury acquitted him of all charges.

It was not long after that strange reports of a ghost at St. Simons Island soon began to appear
in newspapers across the country. One account, published in 1908, described how the wife of
a later keeper began to have problems with the mechanism of the lighthouse while her
husband was away.  Remembering that Frederick Osborne had once promised her that if she
ever needed help, all she had to do was call, in her frustration she called out to him:

"Well, come and fix it now!" There was a clink and a rattle, and looking up Mrs. C--- saw the
distinct figure of the French Canadian bending over the works. Overcome by the reaction, she
fainted, and when she regained consciousness the steady "click, click," of the works assured
her that all was well with the light.

There are some who say that Osborne’s death came so suddenly that he never stopped his
nightly routine of inspecting the lighthouse. His figure has been seen in and around the tower
and many also claim to have heard strange footsteps going up and down the old spiral
staircase late at night.

The St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5
p.m. and on Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Last climb is at 4:30 p.m.  It is located at 101
12th Street, St. Simons Island, Georgia.  Visit
www.stsimonslighthouse.org for more
information and be sure to check out our main St. Simons Lighthouse page at
www.
exploresouthernhistory.com/gastsimons.
by Dale Cox
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Copyright 2011, 2013 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: September 2, 2014