Location: Antonio Bay is an island community separated from the mainland by Columbia Bay off Interstate 101on the west coast between California and Oregon. A ferry connects the island with the mainland.
Description of Place: Antonio Bay is a picturesque bay fishing community on an island of almost 25 square miles of rolling hills and ravines. Reminiscent of Cape Cod, the town has a number of landmarks almost a hundred years old in age including the town hall which also holds a museum and the town archives and Spivy Point Lighthouse on the south tip of the island accessed by a long stairway winding down to water level. The townsfolk are proud of their town which is sustained by tourism and fishing.
Ghostly Manifestations: Is it possible for an entire town to be haunted? The residents of the small fishing community of Antonio Bay think so. The townsfolk repeat stories as if they're making regular sightings of a local lake monster. While ghost towns dot the United States in desolate locations, what makes the ghosts of Antonio Bay so interesting is the story behind their spirits. Although only whispered about, the ghosts seem to serve as reminder of a horrible event the town's founding families still insist never happened. However, whenever the warm air from the land brushes across the cold sea air coming in from the coast and fog blankets the land, the town is reminded that secrets never stay buried...
"Since 1903," Local radio personality Stephanie "Stevie" Wayne tells some of the local ghost stories. "There has been at least two thousand sightings of ghostly figures in the fog. That's the only time you can see them. I'm sure they're there all the time, but you can only see them in the fog. The fog makes them easier to see - dark figures in period dress outlined inn the fog, sometimes one to five of them."
Most of them are seen aimlessly wandering the local cemetery, but most locals claim that these apparitions are just the patterns conjured by the levels of density in the moisture in the air. That maybe they're reflections of obscured windows. Others testify that they're seeing images of women in old-fashioned dress, full skirts and large bonnets, drifting between the stores and through the roadways. Drivers pass through shapes of people who don't exist. Residents see prowlers peeking through ground-level windows while others hear footsteps, just footsteps, on the wooden docks and the concrete pathways. One local claims to have heard the footsteps of someone walking across her roof in the fog!
Back in 1980, the fog rolled in one January and stayed inland for almost a week. During that time, there was over thirty accounts of people seeing unknown figures wandering through town. They'd flit through the road quickly, loiter in front of stores, huddle in alleys and tramp up and down the docks, but theory has it the creaking on the docks is caused by the lapping water creaking and twisting the road. One morning, the manager of the local Buy-Rite Market opened his store and found it trashed. Displays were knocked over, cans were strewn from one end to the other, the cooler were open to melt the ice cream therein and light fixtures were shattered. A thorough investigation was made to catch the vandals, but some motorists driving by that night testified that they only saw dark shapes flitting through the fog-filled store. The odd thing is that was the same night several neighbors heard the car horns blaring after midnight in the car lot next door.
"I sometimes run Ghost Story Saturdays after each fog call asking listeners if they saw any ghosts." Wayne continues. "One shop owner last month heard someone trying to get into the back door of his store, but no one was there when he looked out. The bartender at the Jolly Roger Tavern described a figure like a sailor pacing to get in through his windows, but when he looked directly at him, he vanished. Pirate-looking ghosts are supposedly common, but to tell the truth, I think they're the most suspicious because if you know the legend of the Elizabeth Dane, you know it has nothing to do with pirates."
Banging noises are frequent as well. Four strong bangs to the side of a ship was a sign that you were boarding, and many people bound to their homes have heard four bangs in succession from nonexistent people in the empty fog. Stevie Wayne heard the call to "come aboard" while she was transmitting from the lighthouse at Spivey Point, the location of her radio station. It's probably the only known electronically-transmitted haunt to be broadcast across the airwaves.
The sound of a ringing bell has been heard frequently from the sea between Spivey Point and the town limits. Where it comes from is unknown, but the sound of a ship's bell has been heard in stories and accounts going back at least fifty years. Trawlers and yachts fifty miles out have heard it from the direction of the sea, and in one account, from directly under their craft in the waters under Spivey Point. Captain Nick Castle, a local boat captain, once described it as "resonating from another world with an unearthly tinge of remorse."
Some witnesses claim that they hear the bell of the Elizabeth Dane ringing by itself in the museum at the town hall, especially when it is closed and empty.
At first, sightings of the alleged ghost ship reported in recent years were attributed to tales of other local ghost legends from up and down the coast, one from as far away as Astoria, Oregon, but now, several locals believe the decrepit dark shape of a frigate in the fog out at sea is that of the Elizabeth Dane herself. While not seen nearly as often as the regular ghosts wandering and fleeting through the fog in town, the ship has sort of an ominous air about it from those who see it, and as a result of some confusion with the legendary Flying Dutchman, anyone who sees it is rumored to die at least twenty-four hours later.
"Whether there's any rumor to that or not, I don't know." Wayne adds. "But there have been a few deaths, you know, but these are older people who could have died from other more logical means than by paranormal reasons."
In September 2005, Nick's first mate, Andrew Spooner, borrowed his boat to have a party with friends out at sea in the waters off Spivey Point and they reportedly passed extremely close to the ghost of the Elizabeth Dane. The experience unnerved all his guests on the boat with him and they retreated in terror down into the ship too frightened to come out until the fog had lifted, but as they huddled in terror from the fog, Spooner insisted that they heard someone else walking the gangplank of Nick's boat above their heads. At the time, they were ten miles out, and there were no other boats in the area.
While the denizens of Antonio Bay look forward and peruse the fog for supernatural guests, they know fully well that eventually the fog will dissipate once again. However, sooner or later, they know it will roll back in again, and this time, the video generation will be prepared....
History: Antonio Bay was founded in 1872 directly upon the result of an unusual fishing prosperity from the sea, at least that's how the town founders would describe it to history. The actual story concerns the legend of the Elizabeth Dane, a frigate from Prince William Island in Canada. Chinese settlers had introduced leprosy to the island settlers, and the victims of the disease were forced from the island and put to sea. They drifted down the coast, rejected from every port they tried to enter, and had become desperate by time they reached Antonio Bay. Unconfirmed legend passed down from word of mouth claimed that four men, David Williams, Norman Castle, Richard Wayne and Patrick Malone took the fortune from the suffering members of the Elizabeth Dane meant for land on the island, and then burned the ship down to keep anyone from making it ashore. The ghastly crime was covered up for over a century before it was discovered; the crimes on the Elizabeth Dane were blamed on pirates and in a sense, the legend was correct. Williams, Castle, Wayne and Malone had coldly taken anything of value from the victims claiming they had taken from the wreck afterward. In 1975, the island council, comprised of descendants of the conspirators, set aside a parcel of land at Spivey Point as a park to the memory of the poor victims of the Elizabeth Dane. In 1980 and 2005, motion pictures were released detailed exaggerated versions of the island history and hauntings.
Identity of Ghosts: The crew and passengers of the Elizabeth Dane....
Source/Comments: The Fog (1980/2005), Loosely compared with Cheesman Park in Denver, Colorado and Saginaw River Lighthouse in Saginaw, Michigan, Point Lookout Lighthouse in Point Lookout State Park, Maryland.