History of the St. Simon’s Lighthouse
The St. Simons Lighthouse operated 24/7 and the lighthouse keeper and his assistant shared living space, along with both of their families.The assistant and his family lived on the second floor. A central stairway connected the two floors. In 1880, an argument grew to epic proportions when lighthouse keeper Frederick Osborne spoke insultingly to the lighthouse assistant’s wife. John Stephens, the assistant, shot Osborne who died from his injuries. Stephens was arrested and charged with murder but was acquitted after the jury heard the entire story. Osborne was described as a constant faultfinder.The day of the murder and at the time of this duel, Osborne had a pistol and Stephens possessed a shotgun which was loaded with buckshot.
Reports of Osborne haunting the lighthouse made national news in 1908 and the tale of his ghost is one of the most popular stories in the South. The Stephens’ family dog was said to have been harassed by the ghost of Osborne.The 1908 published account talks about how Osborne’s wife had trouble with the mechanism of the lighthouse one time when her husband was away. He had told her if she ever needed help to call out to him. After Osborne’s death she again had a problem with the mechanism and, in an exasperated state, she yelled out:
“Well, come and fix it now!” There was a clink and a rattle, and looking up Mrs. O— 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.
As stated in the newspaper account, she claims she saw the apparition of her husband standing over the mechanism and that she could actually hear the sounds of him working of the equipment. The theory is that Osborne’s murder happened so quickly he did not realize that he was dead and continued on with his routine as the lighthouse keeper. Many people have made claims of hearing footsteps going up and down the spiral staircase during the late evening hours. Osborne’s figure has been seen in the tower and has also been observed walking around the tower grounds.
DL Paranormal claimed that on November 30, 2013 they identified EVP with the actual voice of Frederick Osborne which is recorded on video. The video was posted on December 3, 2013. Also discussed is the case of Lisa Register who allegedly committed suicide by jumping off of the lighthouse on August 19, 1999.
Lisa was a 37 year-old mother of two sons who worked at a local elementary school as a paraprofessional. Her death was attributed to multiple injuries sustained when she jumped from the 104-foot tall lighthouse. There was no indication of foul play and tourists were in the immediate area at the time of the incident.
Throughout the years, many lighthouse keepers have been responsible for the St. Simons Island Lighthouse so, perhaps there are several old souls who remain behind.
- Head Keepers: James Gould (1811–1837)
- Lachlan McIntosh (1837–1852)
- Alexander D. McIntosh (1852–1855)
- John F. Carmon (1855–1861)
- Bradford B. Brunt (1872 – 1874)
- Frederick Osborne (1874 – 1880)
- George W. Ashbell (1880 – 1883)
- Isaac L. Peckham (1883 – 1892)
- Joseph Champagne (1892 – 1907)
- Carl O. Svendsen (1907 – 1935)
- Arthur F. Hodge (1936 – 1945)
- David O’Hagan (1945 – 1953)
Thanks for stopping by and please leave questions or comments below.