The next time you find yourself in Gasparilla Island, Florida, you may want to check out the attraction and history of the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. It is here that a haunted tale will unfold. In this article, you will learn more about this structure and why it is appealing to paranormal enthusiasts.
The Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and home of the assistant keeper is situated on a Gulf of Mexico beach close to Fort Myers. During the day, visitors enjoy attractions, such as the museum in the lighthouse building and the Gasparilla Island State Park that surrounds the sights. However, when the lights go down, it is said that odd events take place.
One employee describes some encounters as being ‘weird.’ Some say that the ghost of a young girl who lost her life in the building has claimed the lighthouse as her haunting grounds. People claim they have heard the ghost giggling and playing upstairs. The little girl is believed to have been the daughter of the lighthouse keeper.
The girl died on the premises after suffering a sickness , most likely diphtheria or whooping cough. There is a legend that when the clock strikes midnight, the ghost of the child could be heard playing in one of the rooms. This was a tale told by a former Park Ranger tour guide.
Another ghost reported to walk the sands of the island is that of the headless body of Josefa , a Spanish princess who was decapitated by a pirate. People have reported to caught sight of a headless apparition believed to belong to the lady.
The island was named by the pirate who supposed killed the princess , Jose Gaspar. He was said to have fallen deeply in love with Josefa. He wanted her so badly that he kidnapped her and brought her to the island where he had buried his treasure. Jose tried in vain to woo the princess. He told her how much he loved her and alerted her to the devotion he held for her. She was not impressed and rejected his advances towards her.
Gasper became enraged and in the heat of the moment, took off her head with his blade. After taking a look at the lifeless body of his affections, he buried her body on the beach , close to where the lighthouse was later constructed. It is said that her head left Gasparilla Island when the pirate left. Some feels that the headless ghost can be seen on the island looking for her head.
The Port Boca Grande Lighthouse was constructed in 1890. Beach erosion would later pose a threat to the structure, but it was saved when the locals built a granite jetty that formed a basin. This solution measured 265 feet. When you visit the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, you will find yourself at the entryway into Charlotte Harbor.
After the Coast Guard decommissioned the lighthouse because it became in disrepair and the structure was no longer safe, the building was fully restored in 1986. In the past, the lighthouse has seen keepers and their families come and go from 1890 to 1951. The light was automated in 1956.
Today, the lighthouse is in working order and is part of the Gasparilla Island State Park. Many come to see what the museum has to offer.