The Haunting at St Simons Lighthouse, Georgia

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 19 January 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Introduction of St Simons Lighthouse

In the tranquil embrace of St. Simons, Georgia, a maritime enigma awaits. The St. Simons Lighthouse, an enduring sentinel on these coastal shores, beckons those drawn to its storied past and eerie tales. This iconic structure stands as a testament to a bygone era, where the line between history and the supernatural is blurred. Join us as we venture into the heart of this captivating beacon, where the secrets of the deep and the mysteries of the past converge in an atmosphere of intrigue and wonder.

History of St Simons Lighthouse

The St. Simons Island Lighthouse, built in 1872 after the original was destroyed during the Civil War, has a dark episode in its history. In 1880, Frederick Osborne, the lighthouse keeper, and his assistant, John Stephens, lived in the lighthouse keeper’s house with their families. Trouble arose when Osborne allegedly acted inappropriately towards Stephens’ wife, leading to a heated argument. In a tragic turn, Stephens shot Osborne, a haunting event that has become one of the South’s most famous ghost stories.

The St. Simons Lighthouse, like many structures in the South, endured the turbulence of the Civil War and the subsequent period of Reconstruction. It survived the conflict largely unscathed, a testament to its resilience.

In the late 1800s, the lighthouse underwent renovations to modernize its operations. In 1954, the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned it, and the Coastal Georgia Historical Society took on the responsibility of preserving this historic gem.

Historic St. Simons Lighthouse
Historic St. Simons Lighthouse – Credit stsimonslighthouse

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Nightly Duties – Phantom Caretaker

An eerie mythology about the keeper Frederick Osborne, who perished suddenly, is said to still prowl the grounds of the lighthouse at St. Simons. There are many eerie accounts of his phantom presence, many of which attest to his restless nightly rituals.

Legend has it that Frederick Osborne’s demise came swiftly, yet his spirit found no rest. It’s said that he never truly abandoned his nightly duties, forever bound to the lighthouse. Visitors and guests who dare to traverse the tower’s ancient halls speak of eerie encounters.

The ghostly figure of Osborne has been sighted on countless occasions, often seen in and around the tower, faithfully carrying out his tasks. As if trapped in time, he inspects the lighthouse with a vigilance that transcends death. The living have glimpsed him in moments of solitude, a specter silently tending to his eternal responsibilities.

But the strangest accounts come from those who’ve heard it – the uncanny sound of phantom footsteps echoing up and down the spiral staircase in the dead of night. Osborne’s spectral presence is so vivid that some have mistaken it for the living caretaker at work.

The story of Frederick Osborne’s restless spirit is intertwined into the folklore of the St. Simons Lighthouse, adding to its mystique. Those who walk into the mysterious embrace of the tower can see him performing his duties as a caretaker in the afterlife every night. The haunting legacy of Osborne endures as proof that some souls are forever bound to the world they once knew, finding no solace even in the afterlife.

Read Also: Owens Thomas House Museum

Ghost of Osborne

An unsettling story that began with a fateful encounter and finished with a lingering presence is told in the annals of St. Simons Lighthouse. When lighthouse keeper Frederick Osborne encountered a perilous scenario, trouble started.

It all began when Frederick Osborne, the lighthouse keeper, got into a heated argument with his assistant’s wife due to what some considered inappropriate behavior. In the heat of the moment, the assistant, John Stephens, pulled the trigger, and Osborne lost his life.

Stephens faced murder charges but was ultimately acquitted, leaving behind a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the incident. However, the real mystery unfolded afterward, capturing the nation’s attention.

In 1908, the wife of a subsequent lighthouse keeper found herself in dire need when the lighthouse mechanisms malfunctioned while her husband was away. Remembering Osborne’s promise to help if she ever needed it, she cried out, “Well, come and fix it now!

To her astonishment, the figure of Frederick Osborne appeared, bent over the machinery. Overwhelmed by fear and wonder, she fainted. When she came to, the eerie “click, click” of the machinery reassured her that the spectral presence of Osborne was real.

The legend of St. Simons Lighthouse persists, intertwined with the enigma of Frederick Osborne’s spectral presence. Once the keeper of the light, he now lingers between the realms, a guardian of the beacon he once tended, answering the call of those in need, even from beyond the veil of the living. The tale of St. Simons Lighthouse serves as a reminder that some mysteries endure, casting their ethereal shadows over the island.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of St Simons Lighthouse

The St. Simons Island Lighthouse, renowned for its historical significance and spooky aura, has gained attention through a variety of media that investigate the paranormal. Notably, it was a major part of the compelling television series “Maritime Enigmas: Unraveling Haunted Shores,” when detectives investigated the lighthouse’s ghost stories and terrifying experiences.

In the realm of literature, the St. Simons Island Lighthouse has left its mark in works such as “Georgia’s Lighthouses” by Patricia Morris and “Georgia Ghosts” by Nancy Roberts. These literary creations unveil the supernatural lore surrounding the lighthouse, weaving compelling narratives of its ghostly past.

Due to its mysterious presence in pop culture and the media, the St. Simons Island Lighthouse is now an intriguing site for both history buffs and people looking for ghost stories. This iconic landmark emanates a sense of mystery and the paranormal, calling to anybody who wants to immerse themselves in its eerie and captivating atmosphere.


The mysterious aura of the St. Simons Lighthouse lingers after the sun sets and the serene beauty of St. Simons reclaims the night. Its enduring tales of phantom keepers, spectral echoes, and seafaring folklore weave an intriguing tapestry. In addition to being a remnant of maritime history, the St. Simons Lighthouse serves as a gateway to a realm where the supernatural and the past coexist. Visitors depart with amazement and a profound reverence for this coastal sentinel, where the secrets of the deep and the whispers of the paranormal continue to enthrall anyone who dare to explore its sacred grounds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Where is St. Simons Lighthouse located?

A. St. Simons Lighthouse stands proudly on St. Simons Island, Georgia, serving as a historic maritime beacon.

Q. Are there any legends associated with St. Simons Lighthouse?

A. Yes, several legends envelop the lighthouse, the most prominent being the ghostly presence of Frederick Osborne, the former keeper, who is said to continue his nightly duties in the afterlife.

Q. Can visitors tour the lighthouse?

A. Absolutely! St. Simons Lighthouse welcomes visitors to explore its fascinating history, climb its spiral staircase, and enjoy panoramic views from the top.

Q. Are there any reports of paranormal activity at the lighthouse?

A. Yes, there have been numerous reports of paranormal encounters, including sightings of Frederick Osborne’s ghostly figure and eerie sounds of phantom footsteps on the spiral staircase.

Q. Is it safe to visit the lighthouse at night?

A. While the lighthouse is open during the day, night visits are not recommended due to its eerie reputation and the potential for unsettling encounters.

Q. Are there any guided tours available to learn more about the lighthouse’s history and legends?

A. Yes, guided tours are offered, providing in-depth insights into the lighthouse’s rich history, maritime significance, and the haunting legends that surround it.

Q. Can I witness the spectral presence of Frederick Osborne myself?

A. While there have been claims of sightings, encountering Frederick Osborne’s ghostly presence is unpredictable, and experiences may vary. Visiting the lighthouse at night may increase the chances, but there are no guarantees of a paranormal encounter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Old Candler Hospital

Previous Post

Old Candler Hospital – Savannah, Georgia

Next Post

Maryland Statehouse – Annapolis, Maryland

Maryland Statehouse