The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge

Violet Sky at the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail, Marianna, Florida

Florida lore says that the Bellamy Bridge is one of the most haunted destinations in the entire state. The tale of how it grew to earn that name has been told time after time. Strange occurrences have been known to occur here since the mid-1800s and the story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge has been cited as the reason for those paranormal happenings.

The “Ghost” Of Bellamy Bridge

Photos have been taken at the sight which resemble strange beams of light. People along the trail and at the bridge have felt icy chills on a hot summer day and the presence of someone standing nearby.

While several local legends state sightings of ghosts including one of a moonshiner murder and another of a headless man driving a wagon the most popular is the tale of the Bellamy family.

The ghost at the site is thought to be Elizabeth Bellamy, the wife of a plantation owner who owned the land near where the bridge is presently located.

Elizabeth Bellamy had been raised on a plantation in North Carolina. Her grandfather was an officer in the American Revolution and her father was a general in the War of 1812. Elizabeth fell in love with a young doctor by the name of Samuel Bellamy. They were married at her family plantation in North Carolina. Together they had a son named Alexander.

Her sister Ann had recently married Samuel’s brother Edward. Both of the couples moved to Northwest Florida. In 1836, Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy along with their infant son moved to Rock Cave Plantation which was located near the parking lot and land by the bridge. The actual plantation house would have been located a short distance to the southwest. Along the trail you may notice live oaks that were once planted by Dr. Samuel Bellamy as an elaborate entrance to their Antebellum home at Rock Cave Plantation. Their main crop at the plantation was Sea Island cotton. Nearby also on land that cross the trail was Terre Bonne Plantation which was owned by their relatives, Edward and Ann Bellamy who lived at the farm until 1860 before moving to Mississippi.

Elizabeth died of malaria on May 11, 1837 at the age of eighteen after only three years of marriage. Alexander, their son, died of the same illness just three days later. This tragedy left Samuel devastated and heartbroken. He buried his wife and son on a ridge in the Samuel C. Bellamy Family Cemetery at Rock Cave Plantation. According to coordinates, the cemetery is located on a ridge nearby where the Bellamy Bridge stands today but the markers have since been lost.

Samuel become severely depressed turning to alcohol to combat his sadness. He struggled with emotions of losing both his wife and child. He asked that when he died he be buried at Rock Cave Plantation beside his wife and son. In 1852, Samuel committed suicide with a straight razor at Chattahoochee Landing. Since he committed suicide they would not allow him to be buried by his wife as it was considered by religious belief to be an act of sin. He is buried somewhere in Chattahoochee in an unmarked grave site.

The ghost of Elizabeth is said to frequent the grounds nearby the Bellamy Bridge as she is restlessly in search of her husband.

History of the Bellamy Bridge

The Bellamy Bridge was constructed in 1914, long after the tragic situation of the Bellamy family but was named for them due to its presence upon what was once their plantation land. It is the oldest bridge of its type in Florida. At a total cost of $2,389 the bridge is made from steel and is last bridge to have crossed the Chipola River at this spot.

Prior to this bridge the first few bridges here were constructed of wood. The first was built in 1851, the second in 1872 and the third in 1874. All three of the previous bridges could not withstand the harsh waters during flooding season when the Chipola River would rise. The fourth bridge is the one that stands today and has stood in this spot for over 100 years.

After being declared obsolete in 1963 due to increased traffic in the area it was decommissioned and the roadway and new bridge were constructed at Highway 162.

The Bellamy Bridge, Marianna, Florida

Visiting the Bellamy Bridge

The Bellamy Bridge is free to visit and is located on Northwest Florida Water Management District land. Parking is available off of Highway 162/Jacob Road which is also the site of the trail entrance. The trail is about half a mile through the woods and ends at the Bellamy Bridge.

Every October on the Friday and Saturday before Halloween, a guided, haunted trail tour is offered using flashlights at night.

Caution: Be aware of local river levels as the path may be washed out or impassable. Also watch for wildlife as this is located in a remote destination. The trail and bridge are in a swamp and mosquitos are terrible during rainy season so bring plenty of bug spray and long sleeve clothing.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan

Standing as a guiding beacon along the shores of Lake Huron in Northeast Michigan, Old Presque Isle Lighthouse still is seen today as a reminder of the Great Lakes maritime past. Built in 1840 of stone and brick, this historical site has quite the background and is even known for its eerie, spine chilling vibes! Read on to see the ghostly photo captured during our visit!

Violet Sky at the Old Presque Isle Ligthouse, Michigan

History of Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

Following the War of 1812 and the increased use of Lake Huron being used for shipping and passage it was decided that a lighthouse should be constructed. Congress initiated funds in 1838 to pay for the beacon to be built. The total cost to build the lighthouse then was around $5,000.

This lighthouse was the first built along the desolate shores of Northeast Michigan. In 1840, it was constructed to provide a guiding light for the ships and sailors aboard passing by. It is still known as one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes.

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse was built of 2/3 stone and 1/3 brick. It stands about 30′ tall and is 18′ round at the base. The first keeper of the lighthouse was named Henry Woolsey. He served until 1847 and was paid about $350 a year.

Over the duration of the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse’s years in operation a total of five light keepers held the position. The final light keeper Patrick Garrity Sr. was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. He remained in leadership over the lighthouse until it was decided that the old keeper station was deteriorating with time.

In 1870 it was determined that the New Presque Isle Lighthouse would be constructed. Patrick and his family moved to the new location in 1871. The new lighthouse was taller and more beneficial to passing boats. To read more about the new lighthouse, check out my other blog post at https://adventureswithvioletsky.com/2020/06/15/new-presque-isle-lighthouse/.

Over the next hundred years the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse was sold to various people. Modifications were made as well as a new light keepers station being constructed. It was finally recognized as a historical place in 1964, and in 1995 was opened as a museum.

View from the top of Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan

Spooky Sightings at Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

It was during a family vacation that we stopped on our journey at this historical lighthouse. It seemed lost in time out on the desolated wooded area left to stand through the years of harsh weather of Michigan winters. As we toured the light keepers house the elderly tour guide warned us of mysterious occurrences that have been known to occur at the top of the light. Numerous visitors had claimed that they have experienced paranormal happenings. Some photographs are even on display in the light keeper house for visitors to see.

As we climbed to the top of this historic structure there was an eerie feeling in the air. Yet there was nothing to be seen that sparked a notice of a suspicious sighting. It was days later after we returned home and were reviewing our photos that we came across the photo shown below. The photo was taken by my father due to his fascination in the lens. We glanced over the photo to see what looked to be a ghostly figure staring back into the camera. Look at the photo below to see if you see the ghostly character in the center of lens. The reflection of his face is clearly below that of the ghostly figure. The figure also is wearing a captains hat, as the lady in the light keeper station warned us the sightings often are of an older man wearing a captains hat in the top of the lighthouse. This man is reportedly George Parris and after comparing photos of Mr. Parris and the ghostly character in the photo the similarity is spine-chilling.

“Ghost” at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan

Other visitors have described their experiences at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and local legends have their tales.

One story is of a young girl who was playing at the top of the lighthouse. When she descended from the lighthouse her parents asked who she had been talking to. Her reply was the nice old man, but no one else had been up there with her. Later she identified from a photo the man she spoke to at the top of the lighthouse as Mr. Parris who had passed away years before.

Mr. Parris’ wife had her own tales of encounters with her late husband. She was on her way out the door to go get groceries during a lightening storm when she was unable to leave. The door had been blocked to leave the light keepers cottage. Just as she let go of the handle realizing the door would not allow her to leave, lightning struck outside where she would have stood. Mrs. Parris believed that the door had been blocked by the late George Parris for her safety.

It is said that occasionally passerby of the lighthouse will notice a light casting from the top of the lighthouse but it has not been lit in years.

Visiting Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and the keepers house are available for tours. For more information regarding operating hours and admission rates please visit https://presqueislelighthouses.org/hours/.

See the map above to view the location of the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse.

For more information about visiting the lighthouse, please visit https://presqueislelighthouses.org/.

Violet Sky at Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky