Point Lookout Lighthouse Investigation

 

Location: On the southern tip of Maryland, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The lighthouse is located on a peninsula just south of Point Lookout State Park.

Date: Friday, April 12, 2002

Moon Phase: New

Solar Weather: M class flares

Investigators present: Hillary M., Paul M., Scott M., Randy G., and Joe F. and Mindy F. Hosts, Laura B. and Robert H.

Equipment: RCA digital voice recorder, Olympus C-3000 digital camera, Night Owl night vision scope, Sony Hi8 digital video camera with Nightshot, Pentax PC-550 35mm camera, Extech EMF meter

History: The lighthouse was built in 1830 by John Donohoo, who built many lighthouses in the bay area. The lighthouse began operation on September 20, 1830. James Davis was appointed by President Andrew Jackson in September 1830 to be the first lighthouse keeper at Point Lookout. Mr. Davis held the appointment for only a few months until his death on December 3, 1830. Ann Davis, James Davisí daughter, took over the duties of her father after he died. She earned the same salary as her father, $350 per year. Ann Davis died in 1847Ösome believe that she is one of the entities who now haunt the lighthouse.

After the Battle of Gettysburg, a POW camp (Camp Hoffman) was built just north of the lighthouse to incarcerate Confederate prisoners. It was in operation from August 1863 through June 1865. Being only 5í above sea level, it was located on approximately 30 acres of leveled land just north of the lighthouse. It was the largest Union prison camp for Confederates. During the two-year span of operation, Point Lookout saw approx. 52,000 POWs pass through her gates. These were military and civilian, men, women, and children.

Prison conditions were deplorable. Rations were below minimal, causing scurvy and malnutrition. Prisoners were deprived of adequate clothing, and often had no shoes in winter or, only one blanket among sixteen or more housed in old, worn, torn, discarded union sibley tents. Even the Pointís weather played havoc with the prisoners. Because of its location, itís extremely cold with icy wind in the winter and a smoldering sun reflecting off the barren sand in summer was blinding. High water often flooded the tents in the camp area. The undrained marshes bred mosquitoes. Malaria, typhoid fever and smallpox were common. The brackish water supply was contaminated by unsanitary camp conditions. There was a deadline about 10í from the approximate 14í wooden parapet wall. Anyone caught crossing this line, even to peek through the fence, was shot. Prisoners were also randomly shot during the night as they slept, or if they called out from pain.

During the years between the destruction of Camp Hoffman (immediately after the end of the Civil War), and the assumption of the lighthouse by the U.S. Navy in 1966, there are no records of paranormal experiences in the lighthouse. Once the Navy and subsequently the State of Maryland took possession of the lighthouse in 1966, tenants of the lighthouse began reporting their experiences of unexplained voices, sightings and other phenomena. Dr. Hans Holzer, a renowned parapsychologist based in New York, performed psychic investigations and discovered a hot bed of activity. He actually recorded over 25 separate voices in the lighthouse.

Laura Berg, the last resident of the lighthouse, also experienced several strange events there. Once, she was awakened by strange lights moving around her bedroom, only to find the space heater on fire downstairs. By the end of 1981, the Navy asked Laura to leave the lighthouse, explaining that they could no longer rent to a civilian. Since then, the lighthouse has fallen into a sad state of disrepair. Recently though, the lighthouse was declared structurally sound, and the Navy has pledged a one million dollar grant to renovate the sight.

The great suffering that took place and the many lives lost in this area during this time have made the entire peninsula a hotbed of paranormal activity. Many unexplained experiences have been documented, and the rangers at Point Lookout State Park (just North of the lighthouse) even keep records of their stories, as well as the stories of campers and visitors. The night we spent in the cottage at Point Lookout State Park (the night before the investigation), we were awakened by the dishes shaking inside the kitchen cabinets.

Investigation: We arrived at the lighthouse at approximately 10 a.m.. Soon after, Laura and Robert gave us a full tour of the building, both north and south sides. (The lighthouse is actually two houses which are mirror images of each other). When the tour was over, Joe took EMF readings while Paul took control pictures, and Scott, Randy, Mindy and I covered all the windows with paper to try to darken the atmosphere.

Just before noon, Scott and I each set up an infrared video camera on opposite sides of the basement. We then split into two groups, headed to opposite ends of the house, and attempted to get EVPs. We soon found that due to the large holes knocked through the walls and the extent to which sound carries through the building, that EVPs would be impossible to obtain while broken into groups. So, we decided to break for lunch to figure out a new investigation plan.

While on lunch, Robert suggested that we go into the lighthouse in shifts, since in his experience, the lighthouse seems to be more active with fewer people in it. Then he and Laura left for the nearest town to pick up something to eat. Joe and Mindy decided to go check out Fort Lincoln up the road, and promised not to come back till 2 p.m.. So, Randy Scott, Paul and I headed back into the lighthouse to try for some EVPs before the others came back. We started in the southwest bedroom at 1:19 p.m.. Almost three minutes into the recording session, we heard a noise downstairs in the living rooms. During this entire session I felt drawn to the other end of the hall. At about 1:25, I decide to walk down the hall and take some pictures in the other rooms. This is when I got a strange, u-shaped moving orb in the small bedroom on the south side. A couple of minutes later, we heard Laura and Robert come in downstairs. We told them about the picture, and we all went into the south side den, where I had gotten one stationary orb picture earlier. Unfortunately, we got no results in this room at that time.

About ten minutes later, Robert, Laura and I headed down to the south side middle basement where a psychic had detected a female spirit previously. Robert and I both had a strong feeling that we were not alone. Although I did not get any EVPs at this time, I did get one faint orb over Robertís shoulder when I asked whoever was with us to please pose beside him.

By this time it was 2:00 p.m., so we headed outside to allow Joe and Mindy time alone in the lighthouse. We showed them the moving orb picture and explained that maybe the activity was starting to pick up after a dull morning. While Joe and Mindy were in the building, they did get a high tri-field meter reading in the north side bathroom, but that was the end of their excitement. At about 3:30 p.m., Joe and Mindy decided to head home as they had a previous engagement. Robert, Paul and I headed straight for the south side basement again. Although Neither Robert nor I got any strong feelings this time, my video camera, which was set up in the next room, did catch a bright orb move all the way across the basement soon after we began questioning for EVPs.

At 4:25, Randy suggested that we head up to the north side small bedroom, where Laura often smelled a foul odor while living there. Since the room was so small, Randy, Scott and Robert sat inside the room, while Paul and I stood outside in the hallway. Robert had his video camera set up at the bottom of the stairwell, looking up into the hallway. We hadnít gotten many results with our line of questioning yet, so we began to ask rather rude questions concerning the Confederate prisoners whom may have been held at the lighthouse during the Civil War. Eleven minutes into the questioning, Paul and I heard a loud noise in the living rooms downstairs, like someone dropped something. He and I walked to the top of the stairs and listened to a good deal of commotion below us. All our equipment was left in the living rooms, and it sounded like someone downstairs changing batteries and tapes in their equipment. There was so much noise that Paul and I realized that Laura must be downstairs. About a minute later, Laura called down that she was above us in the cupola, and had been the whole time (it would have been impossible for her to get downstairs from there without us seeing her). Needless to say, Paul and I were shocked, especially after Scott, Randy, and Robert admitted that they had heard nothing. After reviewing Robert's video, we discovered that he had picked up all the noises we heard on tape.

By this time, we were all becoming very excited at the prospect of the paranormal activity in the lighthouse increasing. Since something had obviously just happened in the living rooms, we decided to head down there next. We spread out across both rooms and began EVP questioning at 4:53 p.m. Twenty-two seconds into questioning, we all heard a noise upstairs. About two minutes later, we heard another noise above us. Randy went upstairs to try to catch whatever was happening on his camera. Six minutes into questioning, we all heard a loud noise in the cupola. Exactly fourteen minutes into the session, Robert told me to look at him and take a picture. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor, and I noticed that he was rocking gently back and forth. He swore that he was not doing it, and said he felt like he was being rocked. The rocking lasted about 45 seconds, stopped for 30, then started again for 15 seconds. This is when Laura revealed that she had a rocking chair in that exact spot when she lived there, and had the pictures to prove it!

At 5:30 p.m. we moved to the southwest bedroom, in which many EVPs have been obtained in the past. Scott immediately got an orb over Robertís head, and Paul recorded a two-degree temperature change in the exact spot. About ten minutes later, I began to have trouble with my camera. Scott and I left the room to see if we could get it to work. While we were gone, Robert and Randy began to sing Dixie and other Civil War tunes. Soon after, Randy began to get several orb pictures. My camera never did work again until we left the lighthouse. Once we left the building, the camera worked just fine. At about 6 p.m., we decided to call it a day.

Conclusion: This lighthouse is considered by many to be the most haunted lighthouse in the country. We only documented one high tri-field reading, and obtained very few positive pictures and EVPs. We are still reviewing our video. Although we were disappointed with the lack of evidence we recorded, we do believe that there is paranormal activity within the lighthouse and surrounding area. We would very much like to have an opportunity to investigate this site further.

We would like to thank Laura and Robert for giving us this opportunity.

Historic information was taken directly from Point Lookout POW Descendants Organization website at: http://members.tripod.com/~PLPOW/plpow.htm

and Point Lookout Lighthouse website at: http://www.ptlookoutlighthouse.com/