America’s Haunted Lighthouses: Yaquina, Oregon

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon

The Yaquina area on Oregon’s coast offers recreational activities for every taste, and is home to four haunted lighthouses, two of which you can read about here.

The Sea Captain’s Daughter
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Some believe that this story may be based on a short story from many years ago. The Yaquina Bay Light went out in 1871, was relit in 1996 and is now a private aid to navigation.

This legend tells of a girl born to a sea captain and lost her mother when she was quite young. Muriel Travenard sailed with her father until she became a teenager left in the care of friends. Muriel became despondent after not hearing from her father for a very long time, but managed to make friends her own age helping her deal with her seeming loss.

The curious teenagers decided one day to visit the abandoned lighthouse. Finding nothing of interest, they continued exploring the rest of the island. Before leaving, Muriel went back to the light to retrieve her scarf and never returned to her friends. No amount of calling out got any response, and when her friends went inside the lighthouse, they saw a pool of blood on the floor leading to the closed iron plate. Try as they might they could not pry the plate open.

Muriel’s body was never found, but a dark bloodstain believed to be hers remains on the floor. Although no one really knows exactly what happened, people reported seeing her ghost looking out from the lantern room or casually walking down the path.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Haunted Footsteps
Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Tending a lighthouse was such an intensive all consuming job, that from time to time keepers left assistants in charge so they could go to the mainland for a much needed change of pace.

Keeper Smith left his two assistants, Herbert Higgins and Frank Story in charge as he headed off the island for some rest and relaxation. A few days into Smith’s vacation, Higgins got very sick and became bedridden, leaving Story in charge of the light. Story immediately grabbed a bottle of rum, got very drunk and passed out before he could light the beacon.

When Smith on the mainland saw no light coming from the lighthouse, he rushed back to find the problem, and found Higgins dead, and Story horribly drunk. Smith blamed himself for leaving the light and from that day forward never again left the island. He began hearing ghostly footsteps trying to enter the lantern room, and never went to light the beacon without his trust bulldog by his side.

Those footsteps haunted him until the day he retired.

Marianne L. Kelly, a former chef, is a freelance journalist, editor, web content writer and lighthouse enthusiast. Marianne has written three themed main stream cookbooks including one featuring America’s most haunted lighthouses with accompanying regional recipes. She is currently working on a third that follows each season with stories, poems, thoughts and sayings along with healthy recipes from the bounty of each season. Marianne works with a web designer writing original content on many subjects and re-writes existing content. She is available for hire and invites you to contact her for your writing needs.. For haunted lighthouses information visit For writing information visit

Source: Marianne L. Kelly

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