What makes the New London Ledge Lighthouse in New England so important in history , besides the ghost tales surrounding its past? In this article, you will encounter why paranormal activity seekers may want to learn more about this historical site.
History of the Lighthouse
The reason why the New London Ledge Lighthouse holds a special place in the history books is because it was one of the last lighthouses built in New England. The differences in construction are also seen in the kinds of materials used in the process. For example, the lighthouse showcases a rare example of an early 20th century offshore lighthouse that was not made with cast-iron. Other appealing features of the lighthouse is the red brick building, granite detailing, and location to the entrance to Connecticut’s New London Harbor.
The style of the lighthouse was influenced by the wealthy homeowners of the local region. The construction highlights a French Second Empire style. When the lighthouse was first lit, the local newspaper reported that the light could be seen up to 18 miles away. It emitted three white flashes that were followed by a red flash every 30 seconds. In 1911, the lighthouse was equipped with a fog signal, which replaced the one at New London Harbor Light.
From 1939 until its automation in 1987, Coast Guard crews called the lighthouse their home. The crew would split three man shifts , spending up to three weeks at the lighthouse. Six days on shore was granted after their shift. It was said that three men were on hand at the lighthouse to make sure things ran smoothly in all areas. For example, if two men had an argument with one another, the third was able to break up a fight. The majority of their time was spent fishing and working out in a small gym inside the lighthouse.
The Lighthouse Ghost
One of the best-known tales associated with the lighthouse was the reports of a ghost that had been given the name ‘Ernie.’ It is said that during the 1920s or ’30s, the keeper of the light had learned that his wife had ran away with the captain of the Block Island ferry. Upset with the loss of his wife, he either jumped or fell from the roof of the lighthouse. He died as a result of the fall.
Ernie is often blamed for the paranormal activity that occurs at the lighthouse. Doors have been known to open and close on their own. Decks have been swabbed with no one admitting to doing so. Televisions turn on and off by themselves, as well as the fog horn that sometimes seems that it has a mind of its own. Boats that have been securely tired have mysteriously went adrift. Many believe it is Ernie that does all of these things.
After an investigation conducted by the New England Ghost Project, the theory of who Ernie was came out. They thought that the spirit of a man belonged to someone that was part of a construction crew that worked at the lighthouse. He fell from a roof and died soon after.
In the past, Project Oceanology in Groton has offered tours of the lighthouse, but the current state of the lighthouse makes it unsafe for visitors to enjoy the premises up close. The stairway that leads to the top of the foundation has become rusted and suffered a great deal of deterioration. In May of 2010, the Coast Guard declared the stairway unsafe for public access, and it will not be reopened to the public until repairs are completed.
You can still catch a glimpse of the lighthouse from the shore of New London. One of the best places to go is the Pequot Avenue area for this view. The Fisher’s Island and Block Island ferries leaving New London also offer a chance to admire the lighthouse from afar.