Lighthouse Tragedies: Isolation, Madness, Drownings

Built in 1876, the Bird Rock Lighthouse in the Bahamas was a gorgeous design for its time. In the late 1800s, two lighthouse keepers were assigned and they coincidentally were married to childhood best friends. The two couples embarked from England to the Bahamas to begin their stint. They found out that, because of the rocks around the island and its precarious situation, supplies could only be brought to them twice a year. 

The excited couples arrived, finding a woman in a wheelchair, the widow of the lighthouse keeper who was struck by lightning, and a man hobbling about, a lighthousekeeper who had rheumatism. The third person that was there was a woman who was exhausted, having to take care of the other two nonstop for months and months on end. 

At first, they lived in contentment, fishing, killing birds for food and the women attempted gardening and fixed up their lighthouse home. Over time, however, it became very monotonous. At one point, on exploring the store rooms, they found a coffin with weights. It had a message that if someone should die while on the island, to put them in the weighted coffin and drop them to sea.

At the six-month point, supplies came with magazines and fresh foods and everyone perked up again.

Then, one wife became sick and, even with medicines and instructions, her husband could not save her. They had to lower her coffin to the sea. The widower became quiet and stoic and, over time, the other couple worried about him. 

At one point, the only woman left decided to toss the flowers from the flower box into the sea where her friend had been lowered. The widower went into hysterics because the woman had a premonition dream when they found the coffin that one of the women would be in it. She had caused it – he threatened!

The couple had to hide away the firearms and stay ever vigilant as the widower now had a knife he constantly sharpened. 

At night, the widower pounded on the couple’s door, ranted and raved. At times, the husband considered shooting the widower just so they could have peace and safety. 

One day, after a few days of quiet, the husband saw the widower sitting on a rock out on the island where they had lowered the man’s wife to the sea. He decided to take a chance and light the beacon. He had his wife lock the door after he left the room and raced up the tower. 

Not too long after the husband left, the wife became anxious. She grabbed up a gun and started up the spiral staircase for her husband. 

Unfortunately, as she reached the top, the widower had been lying in wait and had pounced on her husband, a struggle ensuing. Pregnant and awkward, she raced to try and help, pointing the gun, but the men were wrestling and they went over the railing to the dark sea below.

The wife fainted to the floor. When she came-to and realized what had happened, she looked over the railing, considering jumping and joining them, but she could hear her husband’s voice in her mind telling her to live for their child.

She spent lonely and depressed days after that, alone on the island. 

As the wife went into labor all alone, unable to light the light for the ships, a ship crashed. One man managed to pull himself out to the rocks below. 

He scrambled through the lighthouse, thinking he was alone until he found the wife and baby in bed, the wife’s face pale, and she was unresponsive. He shook her awake and she said she didn’t want to live, but he told her she had a child to live for. The man had lost his wife in childbirth and memories flooded him. 

The wife and baby strengthened as the man took care of them and a relief ship came, taking them back to England and the couple married.

This is a wonderfully romantic tale that was published in a small publication long ago



This lovely historic lighthouse featured on an infamous episode of “Ghost Hunters” has its own tragedies. 

In 1873, during construction, the construction foreman’s kids were playing in a supply cart and it tipped over, trapping them in the water. The two youngest children were saved, but the two eldest died. 

A lighthouse keeper was painting it when the scaffolding broke and he fell 60 feet and died. 

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