|Aerial view of Long Point Lighthouse in 1991|
Photograph courtesy Canadian Coast Guard
The Moving Mop and the Mystery Lady of the Twillingate Lighthouse
By Dale Jarvis
The lighthouse buildings at Long Point were constructed in 1875 with the light first lit in 1876. The Long Point light has attracted a few strange stories over the years, but the most curious involves an old mop. This common, household object was kept at the base of the tower. It was not a kitchen mop, but an old tar mop: a long handled mop with a round, brush-like head. It was apparently designed for tarring a roof, but it was never used for that purpose.
When a new light keeper arrived at the light in 1980, he was told by one of the light keepers who had been there for a long time that this tar mop had always been there. The tar mop sat, resting on the bracket that supports the bottom part of the staircase. The reason why it was never removed from the premises was that for some reason it has a strange tendency to move around, all by itself.
According to reports the mop was known to reverse its position on the bracket. One day it would be shoved in facing one way, and the next day, or two or three later, it would be shoved in facing the opposite direction. There was no explanation for who did it, how it happened, or why. The mop had a mind of its own and kept moving.
Another story dates to the early 1900s. A light keeper was attempting to do some work near the top of the tower. Although the old clockwork systems was accurate, there were some problems the keepers used to run into. The cables and weights had a habit of tangling as they went up the two levels of the lighthouse. When the cables knotted, the keeper had to take the weights off the cables wherever they were hung up, free the cable, put the weights back on, and then restart the system.
Perhaps the keeper was engaged in some work like this at the top of the lighthouse shaft, just at the point where you go into the upper part where the lamps and the lens assembly are stored. Whatever it was that he was doing, he fell.
It was about twelve metres from where was perched to the floor below. The floor, you should note, was a brick floor, not a wood floor that might have had a bit of give. Tumbling down, there was nothing there that he could have held onto. Today, there are supports which were added in the 1980s, but at that time there was nothing for him to slide down or catch hold of.
The keeper certainly would have died or at the least would have been critically injured were it not for a very strange occurrence. Just before he hit the brick floor, he landed in the arms of a lady dressed all in white. When he turned back to thank her for saving his life, she disappeared into thin air.
The story was handed down the line from one light keeper to another. The man swore he was caught, and to this day there is no idea who the woman in white might have been, or how an earthly woman could have possibly caught a full grown man falling from such a height.