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Monday, February 18, 2019

Former keepers are said to haunt Monterey Lighthouse

Being President's Day weekend and needing to get out of Fresno for a bit, I decided to head to Monterrey for the day and go to a favorite place  there called The Crown and Anchor.

Don't get me wrong the place is fantastic, but I can't justify driving two and a half hours there and back just for some food so I began to search for something to do besides the typical “go to the aquarium and Cannery Row” trip. While searching for haunted places  I haven’t been to yet (because that’s how I am) I came across Point Pinos Lighthouse in nearby Pacific Grove. Perfect. A plan was formed

Leaving on a dreary and rainy Saturday (perfect lighthouse visiting weather if you ask me), and made it to Pacific Grove a little past 1:00 pm. The rain had stopped but it was still cloudy and the surf below was active with rather large waves, indicative of the next storm that was coming. I walked up to the light house marveling at the view it had.

The lighthouse itself was small but cozy. And I soon found out it was still in operation and was the oldest operating lighthouse on the Pacific Cost. Walking inside I was met by a pleasant docent and she began to tell the history of the place.

Built between 1853-1854 the Point Pinos Lighthouse was one of eight commissioned by Congress to be built on the West Coast. Charles Layton was the first keeper and arrived with his wife Charlotte, and family in 1854 and watched over the house until the lens for the lighthouse was installed and lit on February 1, 1855. Sadly his tenure as keeper would last less than a year. While part of a posse searching for local outlaw Anastasio Garcia, Charles was shot in the stomach and a few days later he succumbed to his wounds.

Without a lighthouse keeper, the people of Monterey suggested that Charlotte be made keeper as she was familiar with the upkeep of the lighthouse, plus she had her children who she needed to take care of. In the first part of 1856 she was appointed keeper of the lighthouse and became the first woman keeper on the west coast.

Charlotte wasn’t the only female keeper in the history of the lighthouse. In 1893 Emily Fish became its keeper. She was recently widowed and her son-in-law was able to get her the position at the lighthouse. For over twenty years she took care of the lighthouse and added to its grounds by bringing in soil so she could add landscaping such as trees, hedges and bushes, and grass to its sandy locale. It was said the 92 acre station had cows, horses, and chickens roaming it by the time she was done. Finally in 1914, and her health failing, Emily had to retire as keeper, ending one of the longest tenures there.

Over the years Point Pinos Lighthouse had thirteen keepers from 1855 until 1964 when the US Coast Guard took over. Today the city owns the property with the Coast Guard tasked with upkeep of the light itself. Everything is automated but it seems that some of the former keepers still like to tend to things there.

Charles Layton’s ghost has been said to have been seen wandering the area where the light is kept on the third floor, tending the light or polishing the windows of the copula as well as doors seemingly open and close on their own.

Emily Fish is also said to haunt the lighthouse and it seems she is seen more throughout the house. She has been spotted wandering the second floor of the house, specifically where her bedroom used to be as items wind up missing or are misplaced. Others have heard the swishing of skirts going by them as they catch a scent of the perfume Emily would wear.

 As I mentioned I had discovered that the lighthouse was rumored to be haunted by both Charles and Emily. After exploring for a bit I found one of the docents and asked if there was any truth to this. Figuring I would get the reaction I get here at home of “There are no ghosts here, please stop asking.” I was a bit surprised at her reaction. She said she hadn’t seen anything or heard of anything but admitted that she didn’t believe in ghosts anyways and that if there was something there she wouldn’t see it. Still we talked for a good fifteen minutes about Emily and all the things she had done for the lighthouse when I heard a grumbling sound.

No it wasn’t a ghost, it was my stomach telling me it was time to go eat lunch. I thanked the docent for the talk and she said that one of the other docents would know more but was out to lunch and I should stop back by some time. After a quick stop to the gift shop where I picked up two new ghost books on Monterey and then headed to the Crown and Anchor for lunch. Which I recommend to anyone who visits Monterey, the food is fantastic and the atmosphere fun. And try the sticky toffee pudding. It’s life changing.

Is the Point Pinos Lighthouse haunted? It’s hard to say. I was there for maybe an hour and talked to one person who worked there. She was surprised by the stories but they had to have come from somewhere. The author who wrote the two local books I bought didn’t mention the lighthouse in either, but I still plan on contacting him. Perhaps when he wrote the books he wasn’t aware of the stories. I really wish I had a chance to talk to the docent that was out to lunch and see what she thought and knew. I guess that warrants a second trip back to Monterey. And not just for sticky toffee pudding.

I took more photos but didn't want to post them all here so I saved them to this album if anyone wants to see.


Unknown said...

thank you for still posting
i'm so going to check this place out! my friend and i go out of town and look for true crime/mystery/hunting ventures spot. Thank You again

Anonymous said...

Hey,hope you folks do find some creepy stories of this area.Monterey is a wonderful place to visit and hope to get up that way again some time in my future.Maybe I can sometime again on my birthday which is the 22nd of feb. ( But I am real old,1957 old!)Fun reading this!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of haunted places in Monterey County. There’s an abandoned adobe building just off highway 101 in Soledad that is said to be haunted. I believe it’s called Los Coches Adobe.