Episode #005: Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast: Maritime Mysteries & Mishaps: Old Presque Isle Lighthouse
The last Thursday of every month will be dedicated to Maritime Mysteries & Mishaps. I will bring you chilling tales of shipwrecks, hauntings and all things creepy! This week we are looking into the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and a dedicated groundskeeper who keeps the light on long after it has been disconnected…
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Presque Isle Lighthouse – Lake Michigan
The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Built in 1840 by Jeremiah Moors of Detroit, the harbor light operated until 1871 when the keeper transferred to a new, taller, coastal lighthouse a mile to the north. The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse park features two main structures, a keepers dwelling and a light tower. The stone and brick tower measures thirty feet tall and eighteen feet in diameter. Visitors can climb the hand-hewn stone steps for a panoramic view of the Lake Huron shoreline and Presque Isle Harbor. Nearby is the one-story side-gabled brick keeper’s dwelling which serves as a hands-on museum with a small gift shop.
The Witch of November
The Witch of November, has no mercy on ships or sailors when she wants to do her dirty work. She can also come on shore bringing damaging winds, destructive waves and sometimes blizzards. She is called a witch because she comes howling and screaming across the Great Lakes brutally bashing the shoreline with gale-force winds, rain and sometimes snow and ice.
The Witch of November is a late-fall storm only known to the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are freshwater seas that are so large that they can produce their own weather systems. The water temperature of the Great Lakes is still warm in late fall. When cold arctic air from Canada collides with warmer air over the lakes and those brought from the south, severe storms develop bringing winds from 50 to 100 miles per hour. Wave heights can reach 20 to 35 feet.
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse Keeper
Once the lighthouse was retired and turned into a museum, lake legend says the station still provides a residence for ghosts who haunt the light. The ghost of George Parris, a former museum caretaker who is now deceased, is said to haunt the light. Though the light has long since been deactivated, the tale says that George returns habitually to light the lamp…
This episode has been adapted from:
Jones, Ray. (2010). Haunted Lighthouses: Phantom Keepers, Ghostly Shipwrecks, and Sinister Calls from the Deep. Globe Pequot Press.
Happy lighthouse exploring!!