Thursday 18 May 2023

Ghost Lights of Trinity Bay

Fort Point Lighthouse, Trinity, stands at the top of steep rocky hill.
Fort Point Light, Trinity

Every part of Newfoundland and Labrador has its own tradition of strange nautical tales, and Trinity Bay, is no exception. A number of local spirits were recorded for posterity in 1925 by William White (1860-1949). A native of Trinity, Trinity Bay, William White devoted much time in his later years to the collection and recording of local and church history.  His 1925 article documented a number of ghost stories, including a ghost ship seen by a local man nicknamed “Crusty Harry.”

According to White, another apparition was seen by many people, starting around the year 1916. A very brilliant light was seen just a few miles off Trinity narrows. The light had not been seen before, but was soon a regular occurrence. When it was first seen, the strange light was initially believed to be the lights of an approaching ship. 

It was written that when the Fort Point lighthouse keeper first observed the glow, he was convinced it was the SS Prospero. The lighthouse keeper, convinced the ship was making an unscheduled stop at Trinity, rowed all the way across the harbour "in great haste" to the public wharf. He reached the wharf to wait for the arrival of the SS Prospero, but discovered no sign of an approaching ship.

SS. Prospero

The ghostly light became very much talked about. Unlike other phantasms, this one was viewed by hundreds of witnesses. It also displayed astonishing regularity. The light was seen frequently, and usually from 9 o'clock pm to 11 o'clock pm.

When the light showed no sign of vanishing, the population of the town became very excited, fearing it to be a German submarine attempting to cut the Atlantic cable or preparing to attack the town. Perhaps strange today, at the time it was a very real fear.

In the early 1920s a fisherman on the fishing grounds off Trinity after dark had a close encounter with the light. He saw the light a few hundred yards distant, but as he drew nearer, it vanished.

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