The haunted Fairport Harbor Lighthouse is located on the shore of Lake Erie in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. Being built at the mouth of the Grand River, it was originally known as the Grand River Light, and was one of many lighthouses used to guide ships in and out of the Great Lakes. Constructed in 1825, the tower and house soon fell into disrepair and had to be rebuilt in 1871. The Fairport Lighthouse and keeper's house standing today, was used until 1925, as it was abandoned for a new lighthouse that had been erected nearby.
The haunted Fairport Harbor lighthouse is 70 feet high, built of sandstone and no longer operational. The keeper's house is now home to the Faiport Marine Museum and was the first U.S. lighthouse grounds to be restored into a museum in 1945. The museum houses many nautical and historic exhibits important to the local region.
Two Lighthouse Keepers of Note
There are two prominent lighthouse keepers in the history of the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse. The first keeper of the light must be noted, Samuel Butler, as he was also an active abolitionist and made the haunted Fairport Harbor Lighthouse a northern terminal of the Underground Railroad, effectively guiding runaway slaves to the safety of Canada. This history of the site alone makes it a possible site that's haunted. But the second lighthouse keeper seemed a fixture and remained very attached to the lighthouse of Fairport Harbor, which he loved. Captain Joseph Babcock was the first keeper of the reconstructed lighthouse and keeper's dwelling, who also raised a family on the grounds. In fact, two of his children were born in the home, with one of them dying young at age five from smallpox.
The tragedy of losing "Robbie" at so young an age, certainly weighed heavy on the family, but Mrs. Babcock also had fallen ill and remained bed-ridden inside the house. For entertainment, she reportedly kept many cats. Many years later, some claim to have seen a ghost cat whisking about upstairs, describing it as a gray "puff of smoke." Interestingly, a mummified cat was found by a worker years later, and is displayed in a glass cabinet at the Fairport Harbor Museum to this day!
Fairport Harbor Lighthouse Investigation
We were fortunate enough to be able to investigate the haunted Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and see what we could uncover. Working with different members of the ghost hunting group, S.I.G.H.T., we were able to make some ghost box recordings in the tower and lighthouse keeper's house. The following audio recordings seem to give creedance that the lighthouse and keeper's house are both haunted:
- Spirit of Babcock - This was recorded in the upstairs bedroom where I believe Mrs. Babcock stayed with her cats. Her husband Captain Babcock was lightkeeper from 1871-1881; then again in 1900-1919. His son also was an assistant keeper from 1901-1919; then keeper from 1919-1925. First question, "Is there a Captain Babcock here?" Then a weird-sounding reply which sounds like "Babcock" (sort of). Then another question is asked, "Is there any ghosts around here?" and the reply, "Spirit of Babcock."
- Butler "Spirit" - Question: Where's Captain Butler? Answer: Spirit. Captain Butler was the first lighthouse keeper in 1825, and this was recorded near the top of the lighthouse itself!
Is the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse haunted? If we were to compare reports from guests and volunteers with the recordings of ghostly messages we received, we believe it is indeed haunted, and a jewel of a lighthouse worth visiting.