The Haunting of Old Point Loma Lighthouse – San Diego, California

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 8 December 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Introduction of Old Point Loma Lighthouse

A sentinel of the past, veiled in both beauty and mystery, stands atop the Point Loma’s wind-battered cliffs, overlooking the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean. On the southwest point of San Diego, California, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse draws tourists with its eerie charm. This old building, which was once a sign of hope for sailors traveling perilous waters, now remains as a somber reminder of times past. This ancient structure has been the subject of legends of spectral appearances, phantom footsteps echoing down the hallways, and mysterious flickering lights for many years.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse Marker
Old Point Loma Lighthouse Marker – Credit enklassen

History of Old Point Loma Lighthouse

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, perched on the cliffs of Point Loma, has a rich history deeply entwined with California’s maritime heritage. Built in 1854, it was a vital addition to aid ships navigating the perilous Pacific coast. Standing at an impressive 422 feet above sea level, its light was a guiding beacon visible from up to 39 miles away, offering crucial assistance to mariners.

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is now open to the public for visits rather than serving as a guiding beacon. However, these trips frequently result in unnerving encounters that cloak the lighthouse in a sinister past. Visitors regularly describe experiencing unexplainable cold spots, hearing the loud echo of phantom footsteps, and feeling an overwhelming, ominous presence behind them.

In the 1930s, restoration efforts began, including the reconstruction of the lantern room. Today, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse stands as a symbol of California’s maritime history and the resilience of those who once maintained this crucial navigational aid. Its history tells the tale of both maritime importance and human determination in the face of isolation and adversity, offering a glimpse into an era when keepers tirelessly tended to the light that guided countless ships to safety in San Diego’s harbor.

Historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse – Credit lighthousefriends

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Restless Keeper Spirit – Juan Rodriguez

According to local legend, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse conceals a sinister mystery. Numerous visitors to this old building have told stories of strange and even unsettling things that have happened inside it throughout the years. The lighthouse has a terrifying reputation, with reports of paranormal activity ranging from ghostly footsteps on the second floor to spine-tingling groans coming from the bedrooms.

Many have dared to climb the lighthouse’s stairs to the light, only to be met with an otherworldly terror. As they ascended, the moan grew louder with each step, filling the air with an almost demonic presence. When they reached the pinnacle, an icy chill gripped them, and a shadowy figure materialized before their eyes. The apparition, shrouded in darkness, swiftly passed by and vanished down the stairs, leaving a trail of fear in its wake.

Some speculate that the specter haunting the old lighthouse is none other than Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the intrepid Iberian explorer who first ventured to the American West Coast. Others point to the last lighthouse keeper, Robert Decatur Israel, as the possible source of these unsettling occurrences. Nevertheless, the true cause remains a mystery.

But there may be more to this haunting tale than meets the eye. The Point Loma Rosecrans National Cemetery, located just a mile from the lighthouse, has its own history of paranormal activity. Some believe that the restless energy from the cemetery has bled into the lighthouse, amplifying its eerie reputation and contributing to the unsettling experiences reported by those who venture within. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse stands as a testament to both history and mystery, a place where the living and the spectral world intertwine in chilling harmony.

Ghostly Fog – Haunted Cemetery

Adding to the haunting intrigue surrounding the Old Point Loma Lighthouse is its proximity to the Point Loma Rosecrans National Cemetery, just a little over a mile away. As night falls, a new chapter of eerie legends unfolds in this cemetery, captivating the imagination of those who venture near.

When darkness blankets the land, tourists visiting the cemetery have reported unsettling encounters. In the distance, they claim to see hazy apparitions taking form as if summoned by the night itself. Disembodied voices and mysterious sounds send shivers down the spines of those who dare to explore the area after sunset.

However, it is the enigmatic mist that steals the spotlight. Thicker and more elusive than ordinary fog, this spectral haze materializes during the night, enveloping the cemetery in an otherworldly aura. It clings to the gravestones and trees, casting an eerie and foreboding presence over the resting souls. Yet, by the time morning breaks, the ghostly fog vanishes without a trace, leaving behind a sense of wonder and dread.

The mysteries of the night fade away like the ethereal fog itself as the light rises over the Point Loma Rosecrans National Cemetery. The eerie mist, which was caused by being close to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, is still a mysterious phenomena and a tacit reminder of how the supernatural and the everyday are intertwined. In this region of the world, where mystery and history collide, restless spirits cast their spell, luring people who are curious to investigate the eerie enigma that lurks in the lighthouse’s shadow.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Old Point Loma Lighthouse

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse has drawn attention in numerous films and television programs about maritime history because of its historical importance and enigmatic beauty. Notably, it was a major part of the fascinating series “Guiding Lights of the Past: Chronicles of Maritime Beacons,” which focused on the lighthouse’s long-lasting legacy and rich nautical heritage.

In the realm of literature, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse has left an indelible mark, featuring prominently in works such as “The Ghostly Tales of San Diego” by Selena Fragassi and “Haunted Heart of San Diego” by Brian Clune. These literary pieces delve into the lighthouse’s historical significance, shedding light on its maritime past.

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is still a must-see location for history buffs and others who are interested in nautical history. Its historical significance emanates a mystifying air that draws in anybody looking for an immersive experience in the intriguing, maritime-inspired atmosphere.


One cannot not but think about the uncanny beauty of this enduring monument as they leave the Old Point Loma Lighthouse behind, stepping away from its ghostly embrace and into the warm light of day. It serves as a reminder of the bravery and commitment of people who took care of its lamp in the face of obscurity and dread. Whether pure conjecture or vestiges of a long-gone reality, its haunting traditions add to the air of mystery that hangs over this location like a thick fog. Despite being cloaked in mystery, this lighthouse survives as a tribute to the perseverance of those who previously cared for its light. As you depart, take with you the echoes of the past and the spectacular views.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse located?

A: The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is situated on the Point Loma peninsula in San Diego, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Q: Is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse haunted?

A: Many visitors have reported eerie experiences within the lighthouse, including phantom footsteps, moans, and shadowy figures. While some believe it’s haunted by the spirits of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo or Robert Decatur Israel, the cause of these phenomena remains a mystery.

Q: Can I visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse?

A: Yes, the lighthouse is open to the public. Visitors can explore the historic site and learn about its intriguing past.

Q: What’s the connection between the lighthouse and the Point Loma Rosecrans National Cemetery?

A: The cemetery, located nearby, has its own paranormal tales, including hazy apparitions and ghostly mist. Some speculate that the cemetery’s energy influences the supernatural occurrences at the lighthouse.

Q: Are there guided tours available at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse?

A: Yes, guided tours are offered, providing insights into the lighthouse’s history and its mysterious legends.

Q: Is the ghostly fog mentioned in the legends a common occurrence at the cemetery?

A: The thick, ghostly fog is not a typical natural phenomenon and is mostly associated with paranormal experiences reported by visitors to the cemetery.

Q: Can I visit both the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the Point Loma Rosecrans National Cemetery in a single day?

A: Yes, you can explore both locations in one day, as they are located in close proximity, offering a unique blend of history and ghostly intrigue for adventurous visitors.

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