The Haunted Place: Located on a beautiful, tropical bay, the haunted Pensacola Lighthouse stands 159 feet over the coast. Originally built in 1826, and rebuilt to increase its visibility in 1859, it houses more than just the occasional tour group. The Pensacola Lighthouse is home to several spirits who have a knack for making their presence known. A sinister murderer haunts the living quarters and the tower of the old lighthouse, striking fear into the hearts of the locals and building a national reputation for the paranormal. The Travel Channel and Sci-Fi’s Ghost Hunters (TAPS) have called it one of America’s most haunted places.
The History: The believed ghost at the Pensacola Lighthouse is that of Michaela Penalber. Michaela married Jeremiah Ingraham and the two moved into the lighthouse to become keepers shortly after its construction in 1826. For a while, the two lived happily on the bay, performing the daily duties of the lighthouse. Then, for unknown reasons, Michaela and Jeremiah started having marital problems. Some say Michaela had suffered years of spousal abuse, while others say she was crazy jealous of “her lighthouse”, but whatever the reason, one foggy evening in 1940, Michaela picked up a knife and sliced her husband to death. Lack of evidence led to no conviction, so Michaela spent the rest of her days tending to her beloved lighthouse alone.
The Haunting: Michaela died in the lighthouse in 1855, but most people agree she never truly left. Objects are flung at visitors touring the historic keeper’s quarters, suggesting her ghost is hostile and wants to be alone. The blood stains left by her vicious murder remained on the floor until it was refurbished. One local who had lived in the lighthouse as a child reported trying to clean up the bloodstain; he claimed he would wash it away, but it would resurface stronger than before. People can sometimes hear a woman’s voice calling their name specifically, as if to warn them, “I’m watching you!” People have reported that they felt a presence following them up the stairs to the tower, where they can hear her breathing behind them.
Undoubtedly, spirits of the past, refusing to rest, still roam the facilities of the Pensacola Lighthouse. The current caretakers offer late-night ghost hunts, taking tour groups through some of the most paranormally active places, including the murder site. If you’re brave enough, go visit Ms. Michaela for yourself!
Pensacola Lighthouse Books, DVD
Pensacola Lighthouse (Ghost Hunters)
Haunted Pensacola (FL) (Haunted America) (The History Press)
Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore Vol 3: The Gulf Coast and Pensacola
Haunted Lighthouses and How to Find Them
Photo: Pensacola Lighthouse