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At last. At last, at last, at last, I made the ferry trip to Toronto’s Island to visit the Gibraltar Lighthouse.

It’s haunted, you know.

Operational by 1808, the stone lighthouse at Gibraltar Point provided significant protection to Toronto’s harbour. In 1815, the lighthouse’s first keeper, J P Rademuller, disappeared. Two soldiers were charged with his murder, believed to have taken place when the soldiers visited Rademuller to partake in bootlegged beer. They were later acquitted, and later still, skeletal remains, including a jawbone, were found buried a short distance from the lighthouse.

On misty nights, moaning can be heard on the point, and witnesses claim to have seen the spectre of Rademuller wandering the grounds.

Wrap your fist around the knocker, press your eye to the keyhole.

Though I didn’t know the details at the time of my visit, I’d long known about the lighthouse’s haunted reputation. On approach, I’d felt a pull. Even though I hadn’t yet spotted the red roof, even though I thought I had farther to go, I was drawn to the less travelled path leading up to the lighthouse. I gave in to the pull, to see where the diversion would take me, and the lighthouse loomed before me. The sun, startling brilliant, illuminated the stone structure like a spotlight.

I snapped a few pictures, then felt another pull, toward the path that stretches beyond the lighthouse. I followed for a bit, then decided, no, I did not want to be open to this.

I took pictures on the trail, lingering, in case I changed my mind. My resolve didn’t change, and I returned to the lighthouse, took a few last pictures, including a photo of the plaque, which I did not read while I was there.

A few days later, I downloaded the pictures. On my laptop screen, the plaque was more readable:


This lighthouse, one of the earliest on the Great Lakes, was completed in 1808 as a hexagonal tower 52 feet high, topped by a wooden cage with a fixed whale-oil lantern. In 1832 it was raised to 82 feet and later equipped with a revolving light. The mysterious disappearance of its first keeper, J P Rademuller, in 1815, and the subsequent discovery nearby of part of a human skeleton enhanced its reputation as a haunted building.

A chill rippled in my belly as I recalled the temptation to wander down the path. Sure, I’ve got the world wide web at my fingertips, but I’m note sure if I ever want to know just where those remains were found. Was the skeleton found a few feet farther down the path that drew me with the hum of a magnet?

I’d rather not know, but the possibility delights!

And then, this pic, the image of shadow caught by my camera. Now, I know it is only the shadow of a nearby tree, but if I look at the image at an angle, study the shape, engage imagination…

No, Imagination Mine! Keep thine ludicrous thoughts to thyself! ‘Tis the shadow of a tree, not a spectre!

Deny as I may, imagination persists.

What ghost stories are hidden in your local closet?