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UPDATED WITH PODCAST -The ghosts of Dauphin Island – have you seen them?

The Ghosts of Dauphin Island

When French explorers arrived in Mobile Bay and found sun-bleached bones stacked on an island, they didn’t realize that they had “disturbed a sacred Native American burial ground that is rumored to be watched over by supernatural specters at night. (See story: Have you ever heard of Massacre Island in Mobile, Alabama?) “Since that “spirited” beginning, the whispers and shadowy folklore surrounding Dauphin Island, Alabama and its resident apparitions have grown and continue to this day……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.”(Gulf Coast Specters)

fort gaines historic sign

Ghosts of Fort Gaines

Across the main channel from Fort Morgan on Dauphin Island was Fort Gaines. Fort Gaines contained 26 guns, and a garrison of about 600 men during the Civil War and today it is considered by many to be the most haunted spot on Dauphin Island. There have been tales of wandering apparitions dressed in Civil War attire at the red brick facility on the extreme East End of the Island and atop nearby bunkers on the walls. Others have seen a woman in a long, flowing skirt appear and then fade away. Local legends state that when two mid-to-late-1800s homes that sat near Fort Gaines were moved , the restoration of the homes was slowed because contractors often left. The contractors reported that they were scared away by spirits who visited them. One of the remaining houses still remains which is falling into deep decay.

Other ghosts on Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island seems to be a haven for ghosts such as the following reported by locals.

  • A man dressed in military garb on the east beach looking at the waves who sometimes drifts across the road into oncoming traffic
  • A young bride left alone on the island by her husband who never returned. She walks at night along the beach whistling for her husband.
  • A woman who wears a bag tied over her head and digs in the park looking for something.
  • A lighthouse keeper who fell to his death from a catwalk high above the floor who walks the island smoking his foul-smelling cigar.

Fort Gaines officers quarters

Fort Gaines Officers Quarter (


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  1. Josh Box, have you ever explored here?

    1. I actually haven’t. I need to

  2. When I was little, we still found arrow heads on the island.

  3. I love going to the East End to explore and visit the fort. I would enjoy going to the fort at night.

    1. Back in the 70’s me and some of my friends went in the fort at night several time. They used to have an alligator in a pen inside the fort.

    2. If there are spirits anywhere that fort might have a few…I could feel that at 14.

  4. Angela Bracewell Clardy

    1. oh yes ..we need to check this out

    2. you would love it down there..we used to go when we were kids because we lived on that side of the is beautiful there

  5. I visit often and have been spooked

  6. Thomas Walker, thought you might like this post.

  7. Been there hundreds of times never got that fealing

  8. There are no ghosts, just childish gullible people.

    1. My first ever email to anyone about my time at Dauphin Island. I can vouch for many actual events that took place while I was manager at Fort Gaines in the early to mid 1980’s. Not only a manager, but also a live in caretaker of the fort. Anyone can feel free to contact me to discuss further. I was 24 at the time and now retired in the N.E. I was amazed to see all the stories that are now on line. Would love to contact someone who would be interested in my actual accounts of many strange, scary sightings. I even got married in the fort by the Dauphin Island Baptist church Minister. We separated shortly after our marriage because of her being scared off by unknown entities that ruined our short time together at the fort. I spent two years as a Yankee caretaker in a Rebel fort. Even my boss now retired on Dauphin Island could not believe I lasted this long. Being young and loving my job kept me there until I also began seeing and hearing things that drove me away! Left my job as manager and went to Bahamas where my uncle got me a job with a navy contractor.

      1. We go to the island every summer. I live in Nashville and one day i googled closest beach, Dauphin Island came up so we went and now we go every year. Such an amazing place. With all your info, you shoukd write a book!!

  9. Hmmmm been there SOOO many times during my years in Mobile. It was our weekend excursion. I don’t believe I saw a ghost. I did experience the rare “Jubilee” and THAT was amazing.

    1. Definition from Wikipedia for “Mobile Bay Jubilee”: Jubilee is the name used locally for a natural phenomenon that occurs sporadically on the shores of Mobile Bay, a large body of water on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. During a jubilee many species of crab and shrimp, as well as flounder, eels, and other demersal fish will leave deeper waters and swarm—in large numbers and very high density—in a specific, shallower coastal area of the bay.[2] A jubilee is a celebrated event in Mobile Bay, and it attracts large crowds, many drawn by the promise of abundant and easy-to-catch seafood.[3]

      Although similar events have been reported in other bodies of water, Mobile Bay is the only place where the regular appearance of this phenomenon has been documented.[4]

  10. Ashlee Holycross Gillespie
    Jimmy Gillespie
    Mary Holycross

    1. Wonder if they ever do any ghost tours? That would be cool.

  11. We’ve never seen ghosts or felt anything out of the ordinary. Hogwash.
    Lauren A. Duncan

  12. Louis Wilhite does your daughter know about this ?

  13. Loryn Green Zeph Ariste Leggett Reddock Davenport

  14. This is a fascinating piece of history from the area. We actually have an original art piece by Sean Herman based on this tale!

    1. The Serpents of Bienville

  15. My Mom lived on Dauphin Island she and her brother would swim the river to Mobile. I don’t remember and ghosts stories from there although she had lots from Fayette Co. Alabama.

  16. I’ve been to the burial mounds before. There is a giant oak; feels very peaceful

  17. The French called it Massacre Island

  18. I want to visit there Mandy Cooley Revette

  19. My grandfather was born on the island and many relatives are buried there but never heard ghost stories

  20. Have spent much of my time on DI and I have experienced nothing with regards to paranormal activity. People see what they want to see.

  21. I think the ghosts were afraid of us back then. We were too stupid to be afraid there, on our journey.
    The Farmer,

  22. No but I saw the TURTLES ( 60’s Rock Group)

  23. Yeah they’re there. But you don’t have to go far to see “them” anyway

  24. Hi – my name is Britney. I am the grand-daughter of Oliver Clark and Annie Lorraine Goodson. My grandmother, Lorraine, was born at Fort Morgan. She died in 2008. Her father, James Goodson, was a lighthouse keeper at Sand Island (and several other gulf coast lighthouses). My grandmother’s mother, Laura Goodson Bosarge was BOI, as was Alabama Lamey Bosarge, her mother, and her father, Lewis Bosarge. My great-great grandmother, Alabama Lamey, or “Aunt Bama” as people called her, used to make pastes that could heal sores on kids (and cattle) and there’s actual documentation of her doing this! I wish I knew more! Dauphin Island ancestry just fascinates me. Generations upon generations living and dying on the island, long before it had a bridge to the mainland! I have records and photos of all these folks (even Alabama Lamey!) and I’d love to learn about anyone who may know more or anything!

    1. I just come across all of this the people that are in the museum at fort Morgan are my great grandparents. My grandma’s was little when she was at fort Morgan.

  25. I lived on dauphian island for a few years. It is a very spirtaly place. I had my first vision that saves my by life.

  26. Susie Saint Veasey Karen Saint Sullivan

  27. I have family on the island and inland. It’s a beautiful place I would recommend anyone to go. But I have never seen nor felt anything of this sort.

  28. Nice! My Great Aunt Elizabeth Cain Musgrove’s son, Lycurgus Breckinridge Musgrove, once owned Dauphin Island and used it as collateral on a loan during a business trip on the train to NY. Sadly, he defaulted and lost Dauphin Island. Love these ghost stories.

  29. LBM man what a name! I had a relative named Barzila.

    1. Great name for a monster movie

    1. Makes me think about a rocking chair with no occupant rocking anyway. It’s the season for creepy stories after all.

  30. […] There are the fire-starting poltergeists, endless tales of the macabre and unexplained from Indian burial grounds, the raving insanities and sorrows of Southern Gothic, the tragedy of the Civil War played out night-after-night in fens and fields — from the boys in both Blue and Gray, the slaves that toiled and died in servitude, the despondent suicides, the unspeakable sorrow of dead children, voodoo possessions, the love of mothers bereft of their family. And, of course, there are the haunted places: the haunted bridges and courthouses and houses and sanitariums and plantations and factories and furnaces, the haunted roads — even a stretch of a river and an entire island. […]

  31. I have been taking Sacred walks on the Island since 1990.
    I am very familiar with the ghost on Dauphin island and the Fort.

  32. I camped out on Dauphin island a few times as a kid circa 1969-1970. Never heard a thing out of the ordinary.

    1. Butch Smith yes we use to when it still belonged to we the people..

  33. I collect Ghost True Stories

  34. One of my favorite places. Still laid back and relaxing. Never heard any ghosties.

  35. Robert Register might know something about it

  36. The Story of the Gold Cross as told in Carl Carmer’s STARS FELL ON ALABAMA. GENERATIONS of Dauphin Island children have dug for that cross.(a God Cross Story Competition would be interesting David Sprinkle Sr. ) from my D.I. blog: “The disastrous tragedy of Dauphin Island’s sole pirate raid did produced one of Dauphin Island’s most enduring legends, “THE STORY OF THE GOLD CROSS.” Immortalized in Carl Carmer’s 1934 book of folklore, STARS FELL ON ALABAMA, the version recounted by Carmer was the one that was current among folks living in the village back in the 1920’s when Carmer visited while he was working as a professor at the University in Tuscaloosa. As told to Carmer by his island host(who Carmer called “Sandinier” which may have been the author’s version of the common Dauphin Island name “Sandagger”), the local priest jumped into action when he heard that the pirates were attacking the village. He climbed to the top of the church tower , where the big gold cross stood as a landmark to local mariners. When the priest reached the top of the church tower, he janked the shining cross loose and clutching it, he dove straight down into the well that was dug beside the church. He and the cross landed in the well and both disappeared, never to be seen again. The priest and his disappearing act with his church’s big gold cross made the pirates so mad they burned down the church and then everyone on the island forgot where it had been located but that hasn’t stopped folks from looking for it ever since.

  37. My mother lived with her family on Dauphin Island (circa 1910). My grandmother, who was a midwife and prepared the dead for burial, spoke of ghosts.

  38. Sandy Head thought you guys might be interested in this article.

  39. Ellen Hawkins Montjoy

    1. Jackie Zeigler – Thanks!

  40. Sure I walk the island at night amongst the burial mounds and see things that most of you wouldn’t believe I painted quite a bit of it to through my recent history

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