Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Practically Paranormal: Creepy Tales from N. Oregon Coast's Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Published 04/24/2020 at 5:54 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Practically Paranormal: Creepy Tales from N. Oregon Coast's Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials when beaches reopen
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Lincoln City:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Newport:
Look for major specials when beaches reopen
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials coming when beaches open
In Yachats, Florence
Big specials coming; lodgings not listed anywhere else

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – A desolate rock island in the middle of stormy seas, battered constantly by massive waves, and cut off from human contact for months at a time. A place where the first person to ever set foot upon it died almost immediately. This is where you build a lighthouse on the north Oregon coast in the late 1800s. What could go wrong?

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, often called Terrible Tilly, is such a place, and in spite of its shining beacon guiding ships safely out at sea it was ripe for ghost stories. It didn’t help much that local tribes also said it was inhabited by restless spirits.

The real history of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is a teeth-clencher in itself, set there to help keep ships from crashing into Tillamook Head and hopefully dissipate the area’s already growing reputation as the “graveyard of the Pacific” (the mouth of the Columbia river actually has that moniker firmly etched in its history).

Vague and varied paranormal tales have haunted the old rocky lighthouse since its beginning, earlier if you count the native legends. Lighthouse keepers here worked in shifts lasting months at a time, hosting roughly three men most shifts. The isolation here drove at least one of them mad, and the rest – well, they had plenty of time to let their imaginations run. There were claims of voices heard over the din of storms or other dark parts of the lighthouse. Sometimes, stories about ghost ships appearing in the fog and drifting past are associated with the place as well, but usually these have foundations in actual events involving near misses from real ships.




Building the lighthouse was a real – excuse the pun – killer. The first surveyor stepping onto the rock slipped and drowned in the ocean, starting an immediate public outcry that perhaps this wasn’t a good idea.

In January of 1881, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse was several weeks from being finished when a British barque called the Lupatia wrecked on Tillamook Head. But first, it narrowly missed the lighthouse island, with construction crews awakened in the middle of the night to hear the harrowing scream of “hard aport!” as this then-mystery ship slid just past the rock. Had the light been operational this wouldn’t have happened.

The next morning the lighthouse crew could see the mast and part of the ship sticking up out of the ocean in front of the headland. All crew aboard died – except for a puppy. Over the next the 130 years, some Oregon coast locals claim to have heard a dog howling in the dark from somewhere at the tip of the headland at Seaside.

Another creepy tale from the lighthouse comes from a keeper who felt something brush past his face in the dark while lying in bed. All of a sudden, he heard strange footsteps in the pitch black, and after a time, bolted towards the light switch, arms swinging wildly in an attempt to smack whatever trespasser was there. When he turned on the light, he found only an injured bird that had somehow made its way into his bedroom. The odd footsteps were its broken wing hitting the floor. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours. More historical photos of the lighthouse below:

Read a lot more on the lighthouse in the Ultimate Oregon Coast Travel book series, with both the Seaside and Cannon Beach books presenting different parts of the lighthouse’s history.






Photo below courtesy Seaside Aquarium

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

 



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Officials Seek Public Input on N. Oregon Coast Fish Passage Issues
Three culverts that failed on the northern half of the Oregon coast have triggered emergency conditions. Lincoln City, Tillamook, Manzanita, Nehalem
Pandemic Shutdowns Deal Hardest Blow to Travel Industry, Oregon Coast
Oregon had its tenth consecutive year of travel industry growth in 2019. Sciences
Almost Haunted Oregon Coast: Yaquina Bay Lighthouse Lore and Legends, Part 2
The town with two lighthouses has a rich history, and one of those lighthouses has quite the storied past. Newport, Yachats, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay
Landmarks and Legends of an Oregon Coast Lighthouse, Newport's Yaquina Bay, P...
A meandering history of the public struggles that took it from dilapidated to lauded. Depoe Bay, Waldport, Yachats, Lincoln City
Last of Oregon Coast Towns Set Reopen Date; Beaches Update
Astoria, Gearhart and Warrenton to resume operations June 5. News on state parks. South coast, weather
Oregon Coast Opens Up Crabbing to Everyone, Clamming Not Yet
Previously it had been restricted to only Oregonians. Sciences, South Coast, kids
Washington Coast Waters Open to Crabbing, Fishing May 26
Waters will reopen for fishing with crabbing on the Washington side of the Columbia River restarting that day as well
Oregon Officials: Stay Home for Holiday and Away from Coast; Camping Announce...
Stay close to home is the message, and this means keeping clear of other major attractions such as the Columbia River Gorge. Weather

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted