French explorers originally dubbed
it Massacre Island for the mounds
of sun-bleached bones that they found
there. What they didn’t realize
was that they had disturbed a sacred
Native American burial ground that
is rumored to be watched over by supernatural
specters at night.
Since that “spirited”
beginning, the whispers and shadowy
folklore surrounding Dauphin Island,
Alabama and its resident apparitions
have grown and continue to this day.
According to the Islanders, the ghosts
at the prehistoric Indian Shell Mound
Park are to be respected. Filled with
cottonmouth water moccasins that lurk
in the shadows of giant, ominous live
oaks and a thick canopy of Spanish
moss and foliage, the Shell Mound
is creepy by day. But after dark it
can be down right terrifying. Legend
says that late at night you can hear
Indian maidens singing to the beat
of tribal drums and haunting flutes
as they dance around the sacred “inner
circle” of this ancient cemetery.
A regular destination for séances
and paranormal investigations, these
burial grounds seem to be a gathering
place for entities from many periods
in the Island s colorful history.
Civil War era Fort Gaines may easily
be the most haunted spot on Dauphin
Island. Tales of wandering ghosts
revolve around the stoic red brick
facility on the extreme East End of
the Island. Visitors at the Fort have
reported seeing apparitions dressed
in period attire on the grounds, skulking
in the darkened recesses beneath the
bastions, and atop nearby bunkers
outside the walls.
It was a moonlit night, not too long
ago, that Island resident Ed Jones
saw for himself the reality of the
rumors. “It was a crisp, fall
night with a half moon,” said
Jones. “I had an old fraternity
brother visiting me for the first
time on the Island and we decided
to run down to the East End near the
“On a clear night the view
of Mobile Bay and Baldwin County across
the water is incredible, and I always
enjoy sharing it,” he said.
“We slowly drove to the turn-around
behind the Fort when I caught a glimpse
of a solitary figure on the ramparts.”
“I slowed down and saw that
it was a woman in a long, flowing
skirt who appeared to be looking out
into the Gulf,” said Jones.
“My first thought was that she
must be a re-enactor, but why would
she have been there alone at night?”
“As I watched, she turned her
head slowly and stared silently at
our car. Then like a glimmer she faded
away,” he said. “It was
a slow fade, not like someone disappearing
down a stairwell or trying to hide.
One second she was there, then …
“I knew that my friend had
seen the same thing and for the longest
time we were completely silent. Finally,
in a hushed voice he asked, ‘did
you see it?’ Yes I did,”
Jones said. “Though I often
make the little trip to the Fort in
hopes of seeing her again, the vision
of the woman at Fort Gaines will be
forever in my mind.”
Since the mid-to-late-1800s two stately
homes sat side-by-side near Fort Gaines;
said to be an officers’ retreat
from the military grind of the Fort.
Though similar in appearance one was
in more disrepair than the other.
A few years ago the more structurally
sound of the two was purchased and
moved to a new location minutes away
on Bienville Boulevard. According
to locals, more than a house was moved
that day. Along for the ride were
the disgruntled resident spirits that
had been “living” there
for many years, and were now suffering
from separation anxiety.
The urban legend says that the ghosts
of the two homes were awakened to
find that they had been separated
by the new owners. It is reported
that during restoration the owners
had trouble keeping contractors on
the job as the spirits regularly scared
them into leaving.
Ghost hunters have taken photos of
the old home and claim to have captured
images of beings, both human and animal,
in the glass panes and through the
windows. The remaining house still
sits quietly on the East End, falling
deeper into decay and longing for
the return of its one-time plot-mate
. . . so they say.
The ghosts of individuals have been
regularly reported across the Island
for as long as anyone can remember.
Locals speak of a man dressed in military
garb who is frequently seen on the
east beach at midnight looking quietly
out to the waves until disturbed.
His demeanor changes at that point
and he becomes a frightening foe.
It’s rumored by residents that
on more than one o ccasion a uniformed
wraith has casually drifted across
the road ahead of oncoming traffic
late at night. Usually seen at the
outermost reach of the headlights,
this shadow-like figure is always
gone by the time the vehicle reaches
the spot where it had stood just seconds
Given the Island’s romantic
history, what would a ghost story
be without a tale of long lost love?
A local woman, who asked to remain
anonymous, tells of a strange encounter
in 2005 involving the construction
of her home near the beautiful and
historic Cadillac Square Park.
On this particular day as the pilings
and beams began to go up, the homeowner
was approached by an older woman in
jogging clothes and wearing a colorful
sport-style headband who said, “I
can’t believe s he’s letting
you build here.”
At that onetime meeting the new homeowner
was told the story of a young bride
and the undying love that she still
carries for her departed husband.
The tale goes something like this
. . . many, many years ago a young
couple sailed to Dauphin Island to
start a new life. They chose the same
general spot as the current homeowner
near Cadillac Square to build their
first home together.
For some unknown reason the husband
left his bride on the Island one day
to visit the mainland, never to return.
Every night the heartbroken woman
walked across the narrow width of
Dauphin Island to the bay side where
she would whistle in hopes her husband
would hear her and return. Night after
night the woman would stand along
the shore and whistle, but to no avail.
The “Whistling Woman”
eventually pined away leaving behind
a spirit that even today is said to
walk across that same narrow width
of Dauphin Island from Cadillac Square
Park to the bay where she whistles
into the wind hoping her lost husband
will come home.
The ghost of another woman is said
to haunt the park as well. On dark
nights this female specter, wearing
a bag tied over her head prowls the
park digging into the ground searching
for . . . something.
A lesser mentioned Island legend
involves a tragic death at the beloved
Sand Island Lighthouse just off the
coast of Dauphin Island. The story
says that a lighthouse keeper accidentally
fell to his death from a catwalk
high above the floor, and even today
he still walks the island smoking
his foul-smelling cigar.
Whether it’s the ghostly spectacle
of the Indian Shell Mound or a single
apparition on the beach after sunset,
the residents of this small barrier
island at the mouth of Mobile Bay
have learned to co-exist with their
spirited neighbors, each respecting
the other’s “space”
be it in this life or the next.
Dauphin Island is 33 miles south
of Mobile, Alabama at the mouth of
Please also see: Southern Ghosts Haunt “Spirited” Alabama Island Destination- Michael Baxter
About Michael Baxter
MICHAEL BAXTER A professional writer, photographer and marketing consultant for more than 30-years, Michael Baxter has worked with national and regional publications such as The Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Magazine, and Luxury Log Homes & Timber Frames. He has also had articles and photos published on numerous Internet news and features sites. In addition to his regular editorial assignments,
Michael Baxter has coordinated brochures, press releases and other projects for businesses and destinations such as Dauphin Island, Alabama, Six Flags AstroWorld, SplashTown Waterpark - Houston, Space Center Houston, and The Port of Galveston. He has also worked with sports network, ESPN.
Having been associated with live music for many years, Baxter has developed strong relationships with entertainers and the media sources for promoting them. Texas honky-tonk Country Music performers Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers, Louisiana's first family of Swamp Pop and Rock, L'Angelus, Lone Star singer/songwriter Kyle Hutton, and Cajun rockers Bayou Roux are among the clients to regularly use Michael Baxter for their publicity and promotional needs.
Baxter lives in Houston, Texas
visit his Web Site Here Now www.baxwrtr.com.
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