Mad Maggie, the Female Ghost of Block Island Southeast Lighthouse, Discourages Any Man Who Wishes to Stay at the Lighthouse.
Block Island’s Southeast Lighthouse sits atop a sandy bluff 200 feet above sea level. It is New England’s highest lighthouse, making it 258 feet above sea level. The lighthouse, in its gothic-type architecture, was known as one of the grandest in the nation, built during Block Island’s time as a major resort. The former (murdered) wife of a lighthouse keeper is believed to haunt the lighthouse as an angry poltergeist, even after the lighthouse was moved back away from the eroding cliffs in 1993.
The story goes that in the early 1900s, a keeper had a violent argument with his supposedly nagging wife, who was bored and depressed in the lighthouse. In a fit of anger, he pushed her down the tower’s stairs, causing her death. She was found with a broken neck at the foot of the stairs. She and her husband had a very contentious marriage, known by the locals. He claimed consistently that in a fit of temper or despair, thrown herself down the stairs. The authorities quickly relieved him of his duties, as he was arrested, charged with murder, convicted, and sent to prison, never returning to the lighthouse.
Many islanders believe that “Mad Maggie” as she is called, continues to haunt the lighthouse harassing any male visitors or keepers of the light. They have reported to have been recipients of this poltergeist’s wrath and have claimed to have been locked in rooms and closets have had their beds lifted and shaken, and some have claimed that sharp objects, including knives, have been thrown at them. Many have witnessed her ghost banging pots and pans, not caring if anyone was watching her.
One account involves the ghost chasing a keeper out of bed and into the cold night dressed only in his underwear, locking the door behind him. The poor embarrassed keeper had to call the Coast Guard to reopen the lighthouse so he could get back in.
Even since 1993, when the lighthouse was moved back from the eroding cliffs, men have reported seeing the ghost of Mad Maggie rushing up and down the stairs in a rage, rearranging furniture, and has reportedly been observed throwing food at those men who have visited her kitchen. Women, however, have reported no such disturbances from this supposedly vengeful spirit.
Exploring Block Island Southeast Lighthouse and the Island Itself
The best ways to get around the island are to take either a taxi, rent a moped, rent a horse, or just bike of hike your way around the island.
You’ll find most of this island seems stuck in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
You can hike to the lighthouse from the ferry dock. Southeast Lighthouse has a small museum, and the grounds are open to the public, with tours of the lighthouse in the summer. Explore the Mohegan Bluffs near the lighthouse grounds for great cliff views above the shoreline. There are about 17 miles of ocean beaches, some below high sandy bluffs, and over 30 miles of trails for bikers and hikers. You can also hike out to Block Island North lighthouse, another famous stone structure on the other side of the island.
Take a chance to visit this rural island.
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My 300-page book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides remarkable human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions you can explore. These include whale watching excursions, lighthouse tours, windjammer sailing tours, adventures, special parks and museums, and even lighthouses you can stay overnight. Lighthouses and their nearby attractions are divided into regions for weekly and weekend explorers. Like the story about Mad Maggie above, you’ll also find plenty of stories of hauntings around lighthouses.
My 300-page book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, provides extraordinary human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions you can explore and tours. Lighthouses and their nearby attractions are divided into regions for weekly and weekend explorers. Attractions and tours also include whale watching tours, lighthouse tours, windjammer sailing tours and adventures, special parks and museums, and lighthouses you can stay overnight. There are also stories of haunted lighthouses in these regions.
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