Nothing quite sets the stage for Halloween than sinister stories and spectral sightings. On the Oregon Coast, there are countless tales about ghosts and hauntings, and Newport is no exception. Two of our most famous landmarks are said to have haunted histories; read on to decide for yourself.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Known for being the tallest lighthouse in Oregon and its panoramic coast views, the Yaquina Head lighthouse also has a bit of a dark past. The lighthouse opened in 1873 and was staffed by keepers who worked for the U.S. Lighthouse Service. In the 1930s, Henry Higgins was an assistant lighthouse keeper. As legend has it, one evening, the head lightkeeper left Henry and another assistant, Frank Story, alone and in charge of the light. Unfortunately, Frank got so drunk that he couldn’t help Henry carry the oil up the long, winding staircase. A dedicated worker, Henry made numerous trips up to the top of the lighthouse lugging cans of oil. However, during one of his trips, he was so taxed by this grueling task that he had a heart attack and died. Since then, the ghost of Henry has been spotted lurking near the bottom of the lighthouse staircase seeking revenge for his untimely death.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
The Yaquina Bay lighthouse was built in 1871 but decommissioned in 1874. After its decommissioning, it stood empty for many years, became derelict, and was widely known as a mysterious and spooky place. One night in 1915, a group of teenagers decided to explore the abandoned lighthouse. On the second floor, they found a trapdoor that opened to a small chute they believed led to the basement. They didn’t explore the chute or the basement but instead looked around other parts of the building and left. When they got outside, a girl in the group named Muriel said she must have dropped her scarf and went back inside to look for it - alone. After a few minutes, her friends heard a blood-curdling scream. Hoping it was a joke, the group ran back inside to find Muriel. Allegedly, all they found was Muriel’s scarf next to a pool of blood near the trapdoor. Local police searched the place but found no trace of the teenager. Since then, her ghost has been spotted walking the paths around the house, in the lantern room, and roaming the beach.
Whether you believe in these alleged hauntings or write them off as rumors, we suggest keeping an eye out for Henry or Murial the next time you visit either lighthouse. You might be surprised by what you encounter!
Photo credit Lincoln County Historical Society.