Hauntings of the Point Vicente Lighthouse


Point Vicente Lighthouse

Palos Verdes, CA

Point Vicente Lighthouse Palos Verdes, CA

Situated at Point Vincente, Palos Verdes, this 185 foot tall structure offers some of the best views of the California coastline around. As well as being a scenic, relaxing spot favoured by tourists and romantics alike; this lighthouse also has a darker side... and its very own ghost...

The story goes that the lighthouse was built from necessity when local sailors petitioned to have it built in 1926; assumedly because of the danger posed by this seemingly beautiful yet dangerously rugged stretch of shoreline. The original lens was made in France but came from Alaska where it was being used in another lighthouse for forty years previous. Remarkably, the original Fresnel Lens is still up there, perched atop the cylindrical structure and rotating automatically.

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The legend of the ghost is somewhat less logical. It hails from before the lighthouse was erected and claims that a lady lost her lover to the rocky coast below. When his ship was wrecked she took to wandering the cliffs, determined that he would one day return. She waits to this day and can be seen floating along the lighthouse parapet on foggy, miserable nights. Accompanied by the occasional, solemn wail of a foghorn...spooky!

The light can be seen for up to 20 miles out to see, a staunch warning to all vessels not to get too close. The view from the top is spectacular and we recommend that you take binoculars with you when visiting to get the most benefit. You can also tour the USCG (United States Coast Guard) museum while you are there. The light is so bright that it was dimmed during WWII to prevent the Japanese from finding the coastline...a move which undoubtedly cost some American sailors their lives, too.

The Lighthouse has been used by the Coast Guard since 1939, which goes some way as to explaining exactly why the museum is there. The system has been automated since 1971 when the last lighthouse keeper packed up and left. At one point after the war when it was lit back up again the neighbours complained that it was so bright it kept them awake at night! To this end the glass has since been painted to mute it sown a little.


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The backdrop to the lighthouse is rather dramatic, with only a short distance to the cliffs edge. We recommend that you keep both dogs and young children under tight control. From the top of the lighthouse you will be able to see for 24 miles on a clear day – that's a whole lot of stars on a clear night! It is currently open for the second Saturday of every month for your perusal.

Found very close by to the entrance to Long Beach, a day trip to the lighthouse at Pointe Vincente is never a wasted day. Take in the sights then pop out for dinner, or vice versa, should you be the romantic type. Either way, make sure to bring warm clothes for the climb and your camera for the stunning views.