For over a century, the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse was used as a beacon to aid sailors in Key Largo. There are many lighthouses in Monroe County, but this is one of the most haunted ones. Originally constructed in 1825, the Carysfort is the oldest functioning screw-pile lighthouse in United States history.
While the lighthouse was deactivated in 2014, the structure remains off the coast.
And some know firsthand it’s only the light that is dormant.
Something Strange In Key Largo
“I’m one of the guys that gets called in when a lighthouse needs maintenance,” explains a maintenance worker.
“I’ve worked on many in my life, and I’m not afraid of getting a little wet,” he chortled.
“When I was asked to do some light repairs on the now dormant Carysfort, I immediately jumped on the opportunity.
“Structurally, it is such a huge part of our history, and I want to do everything in my power to preserve that.
“I was dropped off at Key Largo and took a boat six nautical miles east to the lighthouse.
“I didn’t expect to be there long—most of the needed repairs were minor since the lighthouse is no longer active.
“I got to work on the exterior.
“Since the lighthouse goes up about a hundred feet, I attached myself to the structure with cable wires,” he explained.
“I worked for a few hours, descending towards the bottom as I went.
“Now, many people are under the impression that lighthouses are haunted,” the worker said.
“They hear a strange creaking and groaning noise and they automatically think it has got ghosts.
“What they don’t realize is that most lighthouses have some form of metal or steel framing and this contracts and expands depending on the temperature.
“So when the Carysfort started making all kinds of racket, I just began to whistle,” he grinned.
“Perhaps about ten minutes go by when I heard a large splash below me.
“In-ocean structures like Carysfort attracts various fish species and such,” he explained.
“So It’s not uncommon to get larger fish and sharks visiting to catch an easy meal.
“But the splashing kept happening, so I thought it best to climb lower and investigate.
“I climbed to the base of the structure and peered below.”
There’s Something in the Water…
“At first, nothing seemed amiss,” Edward shook his head.
“Then all of the sudden I see a full bodied skeleton float by underwater.
“I thought I was hallucinating—maybe I had been out in the sun too long or something,” he said.
“I poured some water over my head, trying to clear my mental state.
“I felt calm, collected…but as I stood there, I saw the skeleton go by again.
“It was slower this time, so I could see all its details.
“I’m no scientist, but it looked like it was pretty old, like it had been decaying for a long time.
“A few scraps of clothing remained on its torso and legs.
“They also look dated and they reminded me of the types of simple clothes light keepers used to wear during the 1920’s.
“Suddenly the skeleton disappeared before my eyes.
“He didn’t sink—he just faded away,” Edward recalled looking a bit frightened.
“I called to be picked up then and there.
“I still repair lighthouses, but I don’t think I’d be able to bring myself back to Carysfort.”
Monroe County, Florida