In The Shem Bay Haunting (Book 3 of the Jack Raven Ghost Mystery Series), Jack goes to the fictional town of Shem Bay and encounters a Doctor’s dark past and an ancient curse in a Oregon mansion.
Heceta Head Lighthouse Keeper’s House
Two hundred feet above the Pacific Ocean in Florence, Oregon, sits the Heceta Head Lighthouse (Ha SEE Ta).
The adjacent keeper’s house, which is now a bed and breakfast, is said to be occupied by The Gray Lady aka Rue.
Built in 1894, both structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse is 56 feet tall. Operation has been automated and a keeper of the light is no longer needed.
The ghostly footsteps of a woman have been heard on the property since the 1950s. No doubt the lady of the house, she is fond of opening doors and windows.
Guests also report strange noises, electrical disturbances, and levitating objects. She is also reportedly fond of turning up the heat at night.
During a séance meant to determine the spirit’s identity, the letters R U E were revealed. Who Rue once was remains a mystery, but after more than sixty years, no one doubts her presence.
Some say she was the wife of an assistant lighthouse keeper, Frank DeRay, whose daughter drowned in a pond or the ocean in the 1890s.
According to this story, Rue took her own life after the child died. A child’s grave is on the property. There have been reports of screams heard in the night, and it is speculated that this is a residual replay of Rue’s anguish.
Life Magazine wrote of Rue in an article titled Terrifying Tales of 9 Haunted Houses. Oregon Public Broadcasting (PBS) also ran a story on the haunting called Heceta Head Lighthouse.
Tales of the Gray Lady have also been documented on paranormal reality television shows. It was supposedly used in the film The Fog, though I find no proof of this online.
The haunting is featured in Donna Stewart’s Ghosthunting Oregon (America’s Haunted Road Trip) released in September 2014. It is listed as one the top 10 haunted places in the United States.
Nearly every guest since the 1950s have reported some unexplained activity. Rue has also been seen by many guests, appearing as a gray mist that floats about the grounds and in the house. She is often seen in daylight hours and has a reputation of being quite pleasant.
A laborer working on the house in the 1970s is said to have had a face-to-mirror encounter with the woman in the attic. He said she had silver hair and was wearing a long, dark dress.
Later, this same worker broke the window to the attic. The man clearly was meant to meet with the spirit but sadly, he was too fearful to return to the attic. Other workers went to clean the broken glass and are said to have found it already nicely swept up for them..
A caretaker in the home once reported seeing a long skirt floating down the hallway and going through a locked door. Rue has also been seen going to the kitchen with something in her hand as a caretaker’s wife was cleaning up.
The Heceta Head B&B is renown for its wedding events and couples getaways. I’m sure that Rue is most pleased by the use of her former home.