According to local legends, there are many supernatural beings hovering around the Palos Verdes Peninsula. And as Halloween night approaches, you’ll need a reminder as to exactly what goes bump in the night. While running the costumed kiddies around the neighborhoods near the Point Vicente Lighthouse, keep your eyes open for the Lady in the Light.
Christened in the spring of 1926, this lighthouse was at the time the brightest beacon in all of Southern California. The almost 70-foot-tall structure included a 1,000-watt lightbulb that streamed its focused beam through a 5-foot-wide lens, seen for 20 miles out to sea. The beam was so bright that, after WWII in the late ’40s, locals found it a terrible nuisance—blinding them in their homes and while driving their cars every 20 seconds as the bulb rotated.
The lighthouse windows that faced inland were eventually painted with a thin layer of white translucent paint. This helped keep the bright light from bothering neighbors and motorists but created a wholly new phenomenon.
When the light rotated around through the painted windows, reports came in that a woman could be seen walking in the tower—slowly pacing while wearing what appeared to be a long, thin gown. The spooky vision became well-known in the area and made news in the local newspapers often. Most believed her to be nothing more than an optical illusion, so a much thicker coat of paint was applied in 1955.
Immediately afterwards, hikers and scuba divers began to report sightings of the same woman walking along the cliffs near the tower, where she was believed to have fallen accidentally to her death as her husband kept the lighthouse in running order. Another legend has it that she threw herself off the cliffs after being rejected by her lover. Even another has the Lady of the Light waiting for her husband who was lost at sea, forever watching for his ship and aided by the incredibly powerful beam’s reach.
Whichever is true, she is seen still today and has become the area’s most permanent resident. If you go looking for her, keep your eyes on the cliff’s edge … it’s a long way down.
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Written by Chris Ridges
Illustrated by Pat Kinsella