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Haunted National Parks - The Lighthouse Keeper's Ghost

Fort Washington Light

Photo: Fort Washington (Credit: US Coast Guard)

For this adventure, we will return to Fort Washington Park in Fort Washington, Maryland. The spirits I encountered at this park were very interesting and active, following me around the park for a few hours. In fact, the spirit we’ll hear about today initially didn’t want to speak to me at all!

The Fort Washington Lighthouse

In 1857, the first light was constructed outside the walls of Fort Washington. Because there was only a $500 budget, the light was considered a “temporary” fix. At that time, Ordnance Sergeant Joseph Cameron was put in charge of overseeing its maintenance, a responsibility he held until 1869. It wasn’t until 1870, more than 13 years later, that a more permanent structure was erected on site.

Image (Left): Drawing of the First Fort Washington Light (Credit: National Park Service)

Paranormal Activity

I visited Fort Washington last year and found a good bit of paranormal activity on the grounds near and around the Fort Washington Lighthouse. My first encounter was a solid hit on my K-II Meter by the Water Battery. I began asking the usual questions and, at first, learned I was speaking to a male spirit. He responded positively to my question as to whether he was the caretaker of the Fort. At this point, he seemed to drop off and stopped responding. Later, I would find out why from an EVP that happened just then.


When I reviewed the audio of my session with the “caretaker,” I noticed a sound in the background. Enhanced, the voice was female and said, “Leave.” I've shared the EVP below.

This evidence matched what I was experiencing exactly, as I started getting answers to my questions that made me wonder about whom I was talking to. As a result, I asked again if the spirit I was talking to was male or female, and discovered I was hearing from a second, female spirit. When asked her name, I heard the letter “O” and then “Ophelia.” I am not certain her name was Ophelia, but she responded to this name many times that day, even following me around the grounds to several different locations.


Ophelia “told” me that she was the Caretaker’s wife and was at the Fort because someone she cared about was there. Asked if she loved being there, she was clear to say “No,” but that she wanted to be with her husband. I understood from her that she was associated with the Fort for 40-45 years, which was puzzling, as I wasn’t aware of soldiers being in military service for that long. Well, when I researched Ordnance Sergeant Joseph Cameron, I was in for a surprise. SGT Cameron served in the Army an incredible 66 years! Thirty-seven of those years were at Fort Washington. In fact, in 1860, SGT Cameron was the only soldier assigned to the Fort, clearly serving in the “caretaker” role. To be clear, I knew none of this history when I conducted my investigation!

Other insights I understood from Ophelia were that she was “currently” (i.e., lived to be) 78 years old, did not live in the Fort, and despite her initial reluctance, she helped me communicate with a few other spirits in and around the Fort. I’ll save those experiences for another day, but I found her initial resistance to me being there quickly evaporated as she came to understand I was simply interested in the history of the site and the stories its resident spirits had to tell. What was clear is that Ophelia didn’t want me to talk to Joseph...I guess I’ll have to return to the park to find out why!

I hope if you’re ever in the area that you’ll visit Fort Washington Park. This is just one of many spirit stories I have to share on this paranormally active site!

Carol Pollio

Carol Pollio, Ph.D.


Disclaimer: National parks and refuges are federal property. This series does not approve nor give permission to anyone to enter national parks or refuges without any required permits or permissions. Many parks also include hallowed ground, such as battlefields, memorials, cemeteries, and sites of mass casualties. It is not this author’s intent to encourage unprofessional or unethical behavior on these sites or to suggest visiting them in any other manner than by legal and ethical means.


Fort Washington, MD. Lighthouse Friends. Available online:

Fort Washington Park. Available online:

National Park Service. Historic American Building Survey, Fort Washington Light. Available online:

National Park Service. Light 80. Available online:

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