Waterford’s “Haunted” Places

Paige Ferreira, Reporter


With Halloween approaching, ghost stories and scary movies are popular in the media. Around Waterford, there are many places that are considered haunted. Those include, the Ledge Lighthouse in New London and Seaside Sanatorium in Waterford. 


The Ledge Lighthouse is located on the Thames River. Completed in 1908, it is located on a small man-made island. Originally named Southwest Ledge, the lighthouse was created to help with navigation. The building is a three-story-brick structure. 


In the 1930’s, a new keeper started living in the lighthouse. Although his true full name isn’t known, there are rumors that his full name was John Randolf, although he is mostly known by Ernie. Ernie’s wife lived on the shore; she sadly left Ernie for the captain of the Block Island ferry at the time. Consumed with the pain of his wife’s betrayal, Ernie jumped off the roof of the lighthouse. His body was never found. 


The legend says that Ernie now haunts the lighthouse. The foghorn turns on randomly on clear days and boats are untied from the docks. Unlike many other alleged haunted places, the Ledge Lighthouse is still open today. It is used as a navigation post and people can still go on tours.


Another place, closer to home is Seaside Sanatorium, opened in the early 1930’s. Originally built to be a children’s tuberculosis hospital, the beautiful landscape was a great place for kids to play. In 1958 the hospital closed,but was reopened for the mentally ill in 1961. Patient abuse allegations were frequent. The mental center was known for its high death rate, rumored to be in the hundreds, by the time of its closure in the 1990’s. By 1996, the buildings were closed for good. 


Now a state park, the property is frequented by Waterford residents, with paths to walk on and a nice view of the water. Due to frequent break-ins and vandalism,the main buildings are now surrounded by fences. The interior is strictly off limits, but the beautiful architecture is worth seeing in person.


There have been many stories of hauntings in the building. People believe spirits of dead patients and nurses haunt the buildings. Many of these are just rumors, a security guard explained, “you have to be careful of what you find online… a lot of people make up things about the place.” It is hard to find trustworthy stories and history of seaside. Although there aren’t many credible stories about the history, the known deaths and nature of the place is enough to give anyone the creeps.