By Morganne Lennig
A wide-eyed girl stared up at one of the most haunted lighthouses in the country.
“Wait, I think there’s still a man up there,” said Julia Creel, 6. “This year I’m scared. Last year I wasn’t.”
Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum at the Naval Air Station is once again putting on a haunted lighthouse tour. The Pensacola Lighthouse Association and the U.S. Coast Guard hold the tour every year October.
The two organizations spilt the admission funds evenly. Half of the revenue goes towards the mission of keeping the property maintained and the lighthouse lit. The other half goes towards the Coast Guard relief fund.
Jason Balbuena is the resident paranormal investigator and tour leader for the Pensacola Lighthouse. Balbuena led the tour dressed as popular horror character Dracula.
“Hey! This is my theme song,” Balbuena said as a children’s mix of the theme song from the 1984 film “Ghostbusters” played over the speakers.
He has been participating in the Haunted Lighthouse exhibit for three years, The tours have been given since 2009.
Jed Daleiden is a 22 year old Coast Guard flight student who volunteered inside the museum, wearing a costume to scare visitors.
“It’s been a lot of fun and it’s great for families,” said Daleiden. “Last Saturday, we had a group of people that were terrified the whole way through and we chased them after they exited the tower all the way to their cars with chainsaws.”
Visitors Donna Clark and her son Eric Ireland, 15, are avid watchers of the Travel Channel’s show “Ghost Hunters.”
“I want to see a ghost, that’s why we’re here tonight,” Eric said.
There are many legends that surround the lighthouse, but the most prominent and featured of the tour is of a woman who died in her nightgown after hemorrhaging to death of childbed fever.
Since then, the Lady in White has been seen floating up and down the stairs of the tower and in every room of the lighthouse while ghosts of young children have been seen playing around the grounds.
After guests make their way through the haunted lighthouse, they are encouraged to climb the 177 cast iron steps of the spiral staircase, to the top of the 171-foot tall lighthouse.
“We do a lot of things like this to raise money for the tower as it is very expensive to restore a 154 year old tower,” said Glen Sefcik, collections manager at the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum. “It’s survived numerous hurricanes and the Civil War. It’s a treasure here in Pensacola.”
There will be one final Haunted Lighthouse tour given on Halloween night at 6 p.m., located at 2081 Radford Blvd. at NAS Pensacola. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children.