The Lighthouse Man


There were a lot of things that scared me when I was a kid. Quicksand, tsetse flies, cemeteries, spiders, leeches, cobras, witch doctors, voodoo dolls, to name just a few.

There was also The Lighthouse Man.

The first time I saw him was in the early 1970s, in one of those Ripley’s Believe It Or Not paperbacks. I knew right away he was going to give me nightmares. According to the book, The Lighthouse Man “bored a hole in his head and wears a lighted candle in it.” The copy in the Ripley’s books was full of sentences that disregarded the basic rules of grammar. But somehow the word “wears” instead of “wore” made me believe that The Lighthouse Man was still alive, still walking the streets of Chungking, China, still letting that stubby candle illuminate his terrible rotten-toothed grin.

Why did he bore a hole in his head? Like so much in the Ripley’s books, it wasn’t explained. Was it a birth defect? A head injury? A trephining operation gone awry? Whatever caused it, The Lighthouse Man chose not to cover the hole with a hat or a wig. Instead, he inserted a burning candle in it, then offered his services as a nocturnal tour guide around the streets of Chungking. Or so the story went.

I guess because many of Ripley’s oddities were not documented with photographs, they illustrated them in the book with drawings. Or maybe it was cheaper to produce a book without photos. Whatever the case, the illustration of The Lighthouse Man was pure horror. It made him look like a cross between a skeleton and a clown (both of which were on my list of scary things). Those crazy eyes, one sliding left, the other right. Those tufts of greasy hair sprouting behind his ears. And that awful death’s head grin that made me imagine the raspy, hysterical laugh that would surely accompany it.

Whenever my brother and I pulled out the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not book, I tried to avoid looking at The Lighthouse Man. But I couldn’t help it. I was hypnotized. I probably did have a few bad dreams about him, though thankfully, I don’t remember them.

But now that I’ve found him again after all these years, I have to admit that he still gives me the creeps.

Don’t be surprised if this post is deleted at any minute.

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13 Responses to The Lighthouse Man

  1. Nico says:

    lmao XDD
    i just heard about this
    on the ricky gervais show
    and had to look it up

  2. Apparent Symmetry says:

    ^^^^me too… Had never heard of this guy til then

  3. หวัง says:


  4. Chomper01 says:

    The first and several times I’ve seen this picture was when the show “Ripley’s Believe It, Or Not!” show (hosted my Jack Palance)was on TV back in the 80s. It showed the same face of “The Lighthouse Man” with the candle on his head; followed by 3 other pictures (a human skull with a “lighning bolt” – like rod ; a man strucked by lightning or electricity ; and a man sitting on a horse with a bullwhip, taking a ride on somekind of hot air balloon). Robert L. Ripley drew the actual pictures, and claimed that he had met and seen these people, places and things (which is a true fact..He did traveled, saw and met some of the people himself). The reason why he tells us all to: “Believe It, Or Not!” , is that he’s letting it up to us to decide whether it is true.. or whether it is false (Be advice: all topics mentioned in the comics, paperback books, on television and at the museums, are based on true facts..Yes, they are true!).

  5. bryce says:

    I’m here too because of ricky geravis, ha thats aweome.

  6. Tehn says:

    Lol I’m here because of Ricky Gervais also

  7. Mew says:

    HE’S REAL?

  8. AJ says:

    Hi :D Ripley’s rocks! I was at TN’s today :)

  9. AJ says:

    TN’s Ripley’s museum* My wife and I went, it was fun! I would recommend it to anyone that was interested in these types of things.

    One thing that has been bothering me is I can not find the guy that was 6’11″ and supposedly sentenced to 21 years in prison for splitting his trousers, they have nothing about it on the internet making me think this one is false.

  10. Wade says:

    Ricky Gervais Series 1, Episode 13

  11. Lok says:

    Ricky gervais :)

  12. Hugh says:

    So glad I found this site. Lighthouse man haunted me for years as a kid. I was so scared of him. I saw his picture at the Ripley’s museum in Gatlinburg (pre-fire).

  13. christer says:

    Im here because of Ricky Gervais and Karls top 5 freaks.. haha thats awesome

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