On October 29, as a part of Port Townsend Main Street's Haunted Histories & Mysteries tour, a group of intrepid visitors to the Point Wilson Light Station met in the lighthouse for coffee and snacks and to hear whether the rumors are true.
Fortunately, we were well prepared. Bean Keepers Jesse Nelson and Tara Velan, owners of Conduit Coffee, provided just what was wanted to to take the chill off, and Dick Richardson, the Volunteer Coordinator for the station, had done his research.
Dick dug up two versions of a haunting at Point Wilson and a cautionary tale.
The cautionary tale is related in the book Haunted Lighthouses by Ray Jones. In classic ghost story form, an apparition of a young woman in a flowing dress, was seen by several light keepers over the years just outside the San Vicente Lighthouse near Los Angeles on foggy nights. She didn't interact with people or haunt the buildings, but she did appear quite often. Then one foggy evening, a young light keeper kind of spoiled the fun by discovering that the apparition was in fact caused by a stray beam of light refracting and/or reflecting from the rotating Fresnel lens at the top of the tower as it interacted with the fog. When the lens turned to just the right point in its rotation, a brief beam illuminated a small patch of fog producing a flowing gown illusion.
Having reminded us about how easy it is to fool ourselves, Dick turned to the Point Wilson haunting. This story is covered in Haunted Lighthouses. It was also sketched in a Peninsula Daily News article from June 30, 2010. The stories are largely consistent with each other though they provide different details. In this tale the ghost that haunts the light station is Maria Hastings Littlefield, the wife of the first light keeper, David Littlefield. The jist is that Maria glides around the keepers' house rummaging through closets and drawers looking for her only son who was drowned, but disappearing when people come into the room.
Since the lighthouse restoration project and lighthouse tours began, none of us have seen anything strange. Perhaps because no one lived at the station for about 20 years Maria has moved on. Or perhaps we're just not sensitive enough.