Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
“On tonight’s episode of Ghost Gang we investigate the Hibbard Point lighthouse, one of the most active paranormal sites in New England. Built in 1832, this lighthouse has been the site of four tragic suicides. I am Alex Barbar and tonight my brother Jason and myself will spend the night at this most haunted house. Join us now as we investigate the Hibbard Point lighthouse and see what lurks here at the wee-bitching hour.”
“What?”, Alex complained.
“Wee-bitching? You blew your line, Bro, It’s ‘bewitching’ “.
“Man, It’s gonna be one of those nights! We’ll tape it again later.”
It was mid August and a refreshing breeze blew in across the Atlantic, mercifully cooling the sultry Connecticut coastline. The brothers were wrapping up their “Seven in Summer” tour, visiting seven haunted locations in seven different states. Alex suggested reserving New England for the late summertime. At least it kept the boys far from their sweltering native Texas sun.
It had been a long drive from upstate New York, and the team arrived just as the sun dipped below the sea. Like a great floundering ship that is swallowed in the waters, the last futile rays of day drowned in the inky embrace of night. A waning August moon shed scant light on the grounds as the stars hid behind clouds, fearing the night and longing for the dawn.
Jason replaced the camera in its padded case and surveyed the decayed structure before them. The lighthouse tower itself was made of stone and rose some 150 feet above the rocky Atlantic Coast. Attached was a simple yet somehow elegant brick dwelling with the foundation made of the same stone as the tower. The weathered shingle roof seemed oddly out of place for such an ancient structure, but the grounds had been home to generations of lighthouse keepers, all the way through the second World War. For more than a century the lighthouse graced Hibbard Point until time and technology rendered it useless.
Jason unlocked the door which creaked in protest as he pushed it open. “Man, this is great”, said Alex. His flashlight beam searched the dark corners of the foyer. Faded red bricks peered out behind crumbling plaster here and there as white painted windows stood in stark contrast to the otherwise dreary abode. Dust and cobwebs from a thousand nights like this one choked the room and once-white sheets shrouded the antique furniture which lined the walls.
Jason unpacked the camera and steadied it for their opening shot. “We begin our investigation here in the light keeper’s house,” Alex began. “The original keeper was Capt. Josiah Morgan. The captain and his daughter, Anna, lived in this house until 1852 when Anna leaped to her death from the lighthouse tower. She was only the first. Three others also ended their lives in a plummet from this, the tallest tower in Hibbard Point. Tonight we will try to contact Anna as well as the other tormented souls who roam the halls of this lighthouse.”
“Okay, great”, Alex finished, “did you get all that”?
“Yeah, I got it”, Jason replied.
The brothers continued to survey the room, making occasional comments for their internet audience.
Alex and Jason had been ghost hunting since their early college days. What started as a Sociology class elective grew into a passion and a popular internet web series. The brothers had managed to accrue a modest, yet efficient array of ghost hunting equipment, including the standards like an infrared camera and EVP, (electronic voice phenomenon recorder), but also equipment out of the ordinary like their pride: a “spirit box”. This device was one of the more popular instruments the team used. In theory it picked up radio waves and “white noise” which spirits used to communicate. When the device received a positive signal it emitted a series of beeps and a message was displayed on an LED screen.
It was about ten-thirty in the evening when the team began their investigation proper. Alex swung the strap of a small satchel over his shoulder. The satchel contained various equipment the team would use to communicate with the spirit world. This was one of his signature moves to signal the team was ready to work. Jason meanwhile placed the bulk of the equipment on the floor, switched the camera to infrared, and began filming as the brothers ascended the staircase.
“We’re going upstairs now to Anna’s room. Locals say this is the most haunted room in the house. It belonged to Anna Morgan, the original light keeper’s daughter. The story is that she was engaged to a sailor on the merchant vessel Adrian Star, but the ship was lost with all hands in a storm at sea. In grief, she killed herself by jumping from the lighthouse tower. Join us now as we explore her bedroom where the most activity happens.”
Jason began to laugh. “Really? Do you even listen to what you’re saying?”
Alex reflected on the line a moment, chuckled and said, “…where the most paranormal activity happens”.
“Okay, okay let’s get serious now”, Alex said as he pushed open the door.
The team entered a modestly furnished room as Victorian standards go. There was a double bed and several pieces of furniture draped in white sheets. A few paintings and photos graced the faded walls as well. Dust covered everything. One of the photos was a daguerreotype of a young woman, dressed in a long-sleeve gown, typical of early 19th century American fashion. Her long curled hair wound around her neck and cascaded down her bodice. There was no smile, no joy on her lips. She was a young woman about twenty years old but one could see that the cares of this world had oppressed whatever happiness she may have had. Her face, while plain, was not unattractive, but her soulful eyes were irresistible. They had that eerie, beckoning quality that at once repel and entice like gazing on some forbidden scene. They spoke of yearning, of unrequited longing, and mostly of loneliness.
“Look over here”, Alex said, pointing to her portrait. “I wonder if that’s Anna? Come here J., and get a shot of this”.
Jason dutifully complied, then move back across the room to prepare for Alex’s opening monologue.
“This was Anna Morgan’s room, deserted for more than a century following her horrible death. Tonight we will attempt to communicate with her and once again speak to the spirits of those long dead.”
Alex had a flair for the dramatic and his Internet groupies loved it.
“We begin our investigation tonight with the EVP.” Alex pulled the small device from his satchel, held it out, and walked slowly around the room.
“We’re speaking to anyone in this room.”, he said in a serious tone. “If you are here tell us your name.”
“We are not here to hurt you,” he continued. “Tell us, is there anyone here?”
Jason gasped, “Bro! That sheet moved!” Alex instinctively spun around, and turned his flashlight on the covered bureau behind him. Suddenly, the top of the sheet moved again with a short jerky motion.
“Tell me you’re getting this”, Alex exclaimed. “You know it”, Jason replied.
Alex held the EVP device toward the bureau and said, “Tell us your name. Tell us where you’re from. ”
All was quiet except for another short jerk on the sheet and a peculiar scratching sound.
“Wait a minute”, Alex said. He grasped the sheet and with one pull removed it from the bureau. A large rat scurried across the dresser, leapt to the floor and disappeared into the surrounding darkness. Both boys frantically jumped back.
“Holy!… That scared the crap out of me!”
Jason answered, “My heart’s pounding! It was a rat!,” he laughed in relief, “It was just damn a rat!”
Alex and Jason both laughed nervously, when their laughter was joined by a third voice.
“Quiet!”, Alex said. “Listen, listen!”
The new voice was hushed, but distinct, and soft like a whisper within a dream. It was the laugh of a woman. Alex once again held out the EVP.
“Is that you Anna? Speak to us if you’re here.” The laughter faded and once again the room was silent.
“Play that back, Bro”, said Jason. Alex adjusted the EVP recorder and both listened intently. Through the crackling static the woman’s soft laughter emerged.
“We got it, Bro!”, Jason enthused. “Let’s set up the spirit box”.
Jason removed the device from its case and handed it to Alex. “You ready to film again, Bro?”
“Yeah, let it roll.”
“We just captured a woman’s voice on EVP”, Alex breathlessly reported. He switched on the EVP recorder again and played the laugh for the camera. “We’re going to set up the spirit box and try to make contact.”
Alex turned off his flashlight and once again the only light in the room was dim, soft moonlight creeping over a solitary window ledge.
“Speak to us Anna. Speak into the box and tell us you’re here.”
In a moment the device began to beep. Alex held the LED screen to the camera. It read, “Cheat”.
Alex and Jason looked at one another quizzically. “Cheat?”, said Jason. “You sure that thing’s set right?”
“Sure”, Alex replied. “Let me walk around the room with it and see if we’re picking up electrical interference anywhere.” Jason dutifully filmed Alex with the infrared camera.
“Nothing”, Alex said, as he replaced the device on the uncovered dresser.
“Anna, did you just say ‘cheat’ ?” In a moment the device buzzed again. Once again the LED screen lit up and displayed, “Cheat”.
“Anna, tell us what you mean.” Presently the spirit box buzzed again. “It says, ‘arid’,” Alex read.
“Arid?”, his brother echoed.
“What do you mean, Anna? Arid like a desert, like dry somewhere?”, Alex coaxed.
The spirit box remained silent, but suddenly Jason said, “Bro, did you feel that? It’s got really cold in here.” Alex removed a digital thermometer from his pack and took a reading.
“You’re right, I read 64 degrees. It must be at least 75 outside” Alex began moving around the room. “60 over here; 58” he moved toward the doorway as Jason filmed.
“52 degrees over here.” After a moment he moved back toward the spirit box.
“Looks like the temperature’s stable. Now it’s going back up, 56… 59…”
Suddenly the box began to beep. Jason moved the camera to the LED screen. “Aaron”, it read.
“Aaron!,” Alex realized. “Not ‘arid’; ‘Aaron’ “.
“Whose Aaron?”Jason asked.
“The fiancé, Aaron Young, the guy who was lost at sea.”
“Bro!”, Jason exclaimed with sudden insight. “Is she saying that Aaron cheated on her? Whoa! This is getting good.”
“Anna”, Alex again addressed the spirit, “did Aaron cheat on you?”
Both anticipated a quick response, but none came.
After a short fruitless wait, the pair decided to investigate the rest of the house.
Except for a few unexplained creaks, their investigation was uneventful.
The young men return to Anna’s room and reviewed the footage they made so far.
“Man, I wish we could get Anna talking again. The Internet group loves that kind of stuff.”
Suddenly Jason cried, “Bro! Look at this! It’s the stuff we shot when you were taking the temperatures.”
Both brothers intently watched the video. As the camera panned across the room, following Alex, the scene fell on the doorway. There was a transparent arm in the hall. The image was not shadowy or indistinct, but clearly showed the pale-white arm and billowed sleeve of a young woman hidden behind the wall, with her arm draped around the doorpost inside the room. The scene continued to shift, following Alex, but when he walked back in front of the doorway the arm was gone.
“This is great!”, Alex enthused. “Look at that, look at that!”
Jason exclaimed, “I’m gonna set up over here by the dresser, so we can get a better view of the door. Maybe we’ll catch something else.” As Jason moved near the dresser, the spirit box began to beep. “Aaron”, the screen read once more. As he moved back toward Alex, the spirit box once again sounded. Jason read: “It says ‘Love me’.”
“Great! Communication again!”, smiled Alex. Jason picked up the camera and began to film once more.
“Anna, is Aaron here in the room with us?” After a few seconds the spirit box beeped again. Jason moved the camera closer for a clear shot of the screen. “It says ‘Come back’ “, he read. Suddenly the device beeped again and a new message appeared.
“It says ‘Love me’, again.”
Suddenly Alex smiled, as a great epiphany occurred to him. “J.! She talks to the box when you’re close to it. She thinks you’re Aaron!”
“Seriously, Bro?”, Jason said incredulously.
“Yeah, try it again.”
Jason cautiously moved toward the box. A sudden beep startled him.
“What does it say ?”, Alex asked in anticipation.
After a brief pause, Jason replied, “It says ‘Love me’ “.
“I knew it!” Alex exclaimed. “I’ve heard of this. Spirits attracted to the living: mistaking someone for an old flame. Ha! You got a see-through girlfriend, Dude!”
“I already have a girlfriend”, Jason replied, and added, “A real one.”
“You dog!”, Alex joked “What a player! Girl in town, ghost girl in the country.”
“Hey, it’s just how I roll”, Jason joked back.”But seriously, what if this ghost wants to come home with me?”
“She won’t. Ghosts tend to stay attached to places. What you’ve got is a little P.O.A. going. You know like that Manchester case we did. ‘Possessive-obsessive adherence’, where a spirit becomes obsessed with a particular person. You’re probably not the first either. A lot of guys have lived here.”
“No wonder the other guys ‘offed’ themselves.”, Jason remarked.
Despite a few further attempts to communicate, the spirit box remained silent.
“I guess your spirit girlfriend’s done for the night.”
“Speaking of spirits, I brought some brewskis, so let’s take a break.”
“Right behind ya.”
Alex and Jason left the room and headed downstairs.
Once again, darkness pervaded Anna’s room. It was a darkness that was almost tangible; oppressive and frightening. It hung like a vapor in the air, choked the lungs and blinded the eyes. The only sound was the scurry of rats, running as if panicked. The window that looked out over the still Atlantic became opaque with frost which covered it from inside the room.
Suddenly the stillness was broken as the spirit box buzzed and the bright LED screen pushed back the darkness. It read, “Cheat”.
It was near midnight when the brothers resumed the investigation. They collected and checked their equipment, and Alex excitedly reviewed the events of the night for his internet audience, then, as Jason filmed, he introduced the final phase of the investigation.
“Midnight,” Alex began, with his best Vincent Price imitation, “the hour of death. Midnight, when spirits and the powers of darkness roam the earth. Tonight your Ghost Gang crew ascends the lighthouse tower where four poor souls tragically plunged to their deaths. Join us now as we investigate the Hibbard Point lighthouse tower, and see what still walks in the night.”
In the rear of the house, just off the kitchen, was an archway that led down a short hall to the door of the lighthouse tower. Above the door a placard read,
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.”
“Shakespeare,” Jason remarked.
“You ignorant Philistine,” Alex corrected, “That’s from the bible.”
“How would you know, Bro?”
“Well, I know it isn’t Shakespeare, anyway”.
Alex opened the doorway and looked up the long circular stairway which led to the top of the tower.
“Let’s film here.”
Jason once again steadied the infrared camera as Alex began to speak.
“We’re standing at the bottom of the staircase and are about to ascend, as so many others have done before us. Some have returned, others never saw this place again.”
The pair climbed the stairs, and presently found themselves on a landing adjacent to the light itself. Surrounding the now dead lamp, was a walkway edged by a short iron fence. The sliver of a crescent moon appeared from behind a distant mountain in a feeble effort to illuminate the scene while the ocean lapped against the rocks below.
“This might be a good place to set up the spirit box again”, Alex said.
“Okay, I’m gonna get some establishing shots,” Jason replied, as he climbed up on the railing.
“J., be careful.” Alex said.
“Thanks for your concern, but I’m always careful” Jason replied.
“I’m more worried about the camera — that thing’s expensive,” Alex joked.
“I’m getting a low battery reading here”, said Jason. “There’s a battery in my case downstairs, Bro. I’ll film here for awhile if you could go get it.”
Alex reluctantly trudged down the staircase and into the foyer where their equipment lay. He retrieved a fresh battery and returned to the tower landing.
“Here you go, J.”, Alex said as he topped the stairs. But there was no reply. Alex turned on his flashlight and circled the walkway. Jason was gone. The unthinkable occurred to Alex.
He rushed to where he left his brother and peered over the railing. Jason’s body lay crushed against the rocks below.
“Jason!”, he gasped. Then mournfully, “Oh, J.,! I told you to be careful.”
Suddenly the spirit box lit and beckoned. Alex lifted the device and read the screen.