Location: Yaquina Head LIght
The Yaquina Head Light also known as Cape Foulweather Lighthouse was first lite in 1872. The lighthouse stands on the Oregon Coast between the mouth of the Yaquina River and Newport at Yaquina Head. Made of brick the conical tower was built in France in 1868 and shipped to Oregon. The lighthouse was automated in 1966 and remains active to date. A two story keepers’ dwelling and adjoining oil house were constructed at the time of the original tower. Later in 1923, a one-story keepers’ house was added a short distance to the east. In 1938, a one-story building replaced the original dwelling but both dwellings and all outbuildings were demolished in 1984.
Originally operated by one keeper, eventually the U.S. Lighthouse Service had three keepers maintain operation of the light, a Head Keeper as well as a First and Second Assistant. There is some controversy over the operation of the lighthouse and the oversight of the U.S. Lighthouse Service around the period between 1876 and 1925. In 1939, the U.S Coast Guard took over management of the light. During World War II seventeen servicemen were stationed at Yaquina Head to keep a look out for enemy ships.
The lighthouse still uses its original 1868 French-made, 1st order, Fixed Fensnel lens, visible nineteen miles out to sea. The light characteristic of two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on and 14 seconds off remains active to this day.
The lighthouse lantern is operated by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitors offshore bird rookeries and wildlife. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the inter tidal animals, and the Oregon Department of State Lands is responsible for the inter tidal lands.
The lighthouse sits atop a basalt rock outcropping some one hundred and fifty feet above the ocean and is surrounded on the north and south sides by rocky tide pools that reside below steep cliffs. The tide pools eventually make way to sand beaches, which extend for a quarter mile to the north then end at another outcropping and extend into the beaches of Newport to the south. A small dock at the bottom of the cliff to the direct west of the lighthouse allows access from the sea however most times of year this is a dangerous entry due to the rocky landscape that extends from the foot of the cliff. Stairs provide access to the lighthouse from the dock; these were blocked off in 1938 and have fallen to complete disrepair since. There is currently no safe way to use the decaying and ruined dock and stairs.
To the direct east of the lighthouse a crescent shaped cove contains the opening to a cavern that extends several miles into the earth. The cavern has never been completely explored as it was closed off from any access in 1925 after a series of incidents left several individuals dead. The local inhabitants of Newport burned a large congregation of transient shanties, expelling the inhabitants and using the charred debris to close off the cave mouth. The sandy cove is surrounded on all but one side by steep cliffs, which the lighthouse rests atop.
There has been some controversy over the lighthouse and some of its keepers in the past. One such keeper was Shadrack Wass. Charges were brought against Mr. Wass in 1883 when a local from Newport Mr. Tolman Ellis accused Shadrack of causing a shipwreck as a result of failing to light the lighthouse beacon. Mr. Ellis stated that on his way for an early fishing trip he noticed that the light in the lighthouse was not lite and that he saw Mr. Wass on the beach with several bodies laid out in a row. He further stated that he could see a portion of a downed ship on the sea less than a mile out. He went back to town to get the constable and upon returning the bodies were no longer on the beach and no traces of the downed ship could be seen. Mr. Wass was found at the lighthouse and was questioned. He accused Mr. Ellis of heavy drinking and stated that Mr. Ellis had always had it in for him.
Though no ship or debris were found there was a missing ship on a course taking it past Yaquina Head in the alleged time frame of the Wass incident. In 1883 the Phoebe Fay never made it to it’s destination in San Francisco and was said to have gone down somewhere en route. No information is known about the ship or it’s fate, though many believe this is the ship that went down due to Mr. Wass’s negligence.
After a rather short court case it was determined that Mr. Ellis was mistaken and probably trying to slander Mr. Wass. The charges were dropped and the matter was forgotten. Many in the area believe Mr. Ellis’s story however and began to shun Mr. Wass. It is believed that Shadrack Wass had been drinking and forgot to light the lighthouse beacon thus causing the ship to run afoul of rocks near the shore. It is believed that Wass attempted to find survivors and when he could not he removed the bodies of those he found and hide them so that he would not be held accountable. The ship sank and the remains were broken up by the violent storms that occurred in the following months. Shadrack denied these accusations of course. Eventually a new keeper was brought in and trained by Mr. Wass. Mr. Wass soon vanished after that. Most of the locals believe he could not deal with the guilt of what he had done and so left the area after setting up his replacement.
It is to be noted that a camp of transients sprung up in 1883 after the alleged shipwreck and there are rumors that the two events are connected in some way. Other rumors in the area go as far as to say that Mr. Wass left the lighthouse to live with the other homeless denizens of the shantytown and that he was somehow responsible for its inception. The shantytown as the Newport locals called it, continued to grow year after year until 1925, which saw the people of Newport taking it upon them selves to oust the vagrants and destroy the ramshackle town.
In 1925 an event transpired between the residents of Newport and transients living in a shantytown to the north and directly below the Yaquina Head Light. The shantytown built from rummaged materials and driftwood sprung up in 1883 after the alleged shipwreck and subsequent trial of Mr Shadrack Wass. It started with only a few small dwellings and over time grew into a sprawling camp which was estimated to hold over fifty people at its height. The locals did not like the shantytown and made repeated attempts to have the local authorities make them disperse. Authorities visited the squatter town several times but would return stating that there was nothing to worry about and that there was no harm in letting them stay as long as they were keeping to themselves and not causing trouble. Frustration over the lack of help from authorities and the suspicion that a family who were passing through had been abducted, set the towns people off. The result was a pitched battle between the residents of Newport and those of the shantytown. The shantytown was burned and several people on both sides were killed in the confrontation. It is rumored that the Newport mob pushed the transients into a cave in the cliffs. Once they had pushed them all into the cave they closed them in using the burnt remains of the ramshackle village they had destroyed. No arrests were made over the incident.
After the incident various keepers were sent to tend the lighthouse but none of them were able to manage the isolation. Each resigning from their post after minimal amounts of time, complaining of nightmares and the inability to cope with the isolation of the job. In 1939 the U.S. Coast Guard took over operation of the lighthouse. Automated in 1966 the lighthouse has continued to be active to this day. In 1980 a 100-acre area including the lighthouse was declared an Outstanding Natural Area.
Shadrack Wass did in fact over indulge and forget to light the light in 1883. The ship that went down was in fact the Phoebe Fay and he did pull ten individuals that he believed were survivors from the sea that morning. Mr. Ellis witnessed him doing so and was correct in all counts. The reason however, that the bodies were no longer on the beach when the constables arrived is much more sinister than the popular belief that Wass buried the bodies.
The bodies were in fact servants of Gla’aki. They were in the cargo hold along with a wooden chest containing all 9 volumes of the Revelations of Gla’aki and an artifact known as “The Master’s Leech”.
The servants used “Dominate” and “Send Dreams” to manipulate Mr. Wass into performing a ritual using the artifact. The spell “Leeching of Gla’aki” (more info here) was performed by Wass allowing Gla’aki to transport itself from the Sevren Valley to the underground lake. The underground lake can be reached through the cave behind the shantytown. The shantytown was created by the servants of Gla’aki to protect the entrance of the underground lake.
Since the time of Shadrack Wass the servants of Gla’aki have been increasing their number by capturing those interested in getting a closer look at the shantytown, or trying to speak with those who dwell there. This is the reason that many of the Newport citizens believe the hobos of the town were convincing their loved ones to stay. Those going to the shanties will likely not come back, and those snooping around have caught glimpses of relatives or friends but they are some how different. Sullen and in a general malaise. Those who have attempted to speak to relatives they encounter at the shantytown, are rebuffed silently. There are many in Newport who believe that there is something sinister happening at the transient village but are too afraid to approach it.
The servants will take their victims to the underground lake where they use the Master’s Leech to call Gla’aki. They will then be either sacrificed or turned into a servant of Gla’aki, and thus increasing the population of the shantytown. Over time they will at some point out number the people of Newport and take the town for their own.
They call to a new lighthouse keeper every several years. The keepers are human because they are needed to perform the Leeching of Gla’aki ritual. The ritual requires human blood to be washed over the Master’s Leech, while a ritual is performed by the blood letter. For this reason the servants can not perform it themselves and must rely on a human who they manipulate with mind control in the form of a “Dominate” spell and by sending dreams. The constant mental attack can only be endured for so long before the keeper goes insane. At this point a new keeper is called and trained by the last and the last keeper is turned into a new servant of Gla’aki and the cycle begins again.
In 1925 the town of Newport rose up and burned the shantytown to the ground. The ensuing battle created heavy casualties on both sides but in the end the citizens of Newport prevailed. They closed up the remaining servants in the cavern knowing they were not human. To this day the servants of Gla’aki lie in wait, sealed inside the cavern with the underground lake. The last potential lighthouse keeper who was performing the Leeching ritual was Alan Peters. He called Gla’aki to the lake the night the ramshackle town was burned. His brother Samuel Peters tried to stop him but could not. Sam Peters is still alive and living in Chicago. Alan Peters was turned into a servant of Gla’aki when it was clear that there was no escaping the cavern. He along with 12 other servants of Gla’aki remain sealed in the cavern, waiting.
The servants have the ability to send dreams within a twenty mile radius of the cavern in attempts to get unsuspecting humans to excavate the cave entrance. They wish to re-establish the cycle they were using before.
If you decide to use this location after 1925 the cavern will be sealed. There will be those in Newport who know the story, or who were actually there. They will not talk to outsiders about it unless a strong bond of trust is established. Extreme social rolls are needed to make them talk about it. The citizens of Newport know that what they put in the cavern were not humans, but they do not have any idea of what the truth is. They know nothing of the Revelations of Gla’aki or the Master’s Leech, both of which are sealed in the cavern.
If Sam Peters is found he can be convinced to tell his tale as long as he is certain that his interviewers believe in the other worldly. He has been told too many times that he is mad, when trying to explain his story. Mr. Peters has done the research and knows that the entity he witnessed in the cavern is called “Gla’aki”. He knows that the Revelations of Gla’aki are in the cavern along with the Master’s Leech. He does not know anything about the artifact however he has tracked the Revelations of Gla’aki down several times but has never had enough money to acquire a copy. Sam will tell the investigators where the cave entrance is, and that he knows about Gla’aki and the servants. He will under no circumstance return to Newport.
If the time frame is after 1939 the Coast Guard has taken over maintenance of the lighthouse and so the lone keeper is a thing of the past. The servants sealed in the cavern do not know this however and still attempt to send dreams to humans in and around the lighthouse. Anyone who has spent any time at the lighthouse will say that it is haunted. They will speak of horrible dreams, lost time and the terrible droning of the light cycle. Two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on then fourteen seconds off. They will report that there is a feeling of being watched, and complain about a horrible smell coming from the north beach.
During WWII seventeen military persons were stationed at the lighthouse to watch out for enemy ships. This would be a great starting point for a scenario in the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was automated in 1966, playing this location after means there are no keepers or persons in the lighthouse for enough time to be manipulated by the servants. In current times there is a gift shop and information center down the road from the lighthouse. Workers of the information center complain of the same things that others complained about at the lighthouse in years past. Strange dreams, lost time, the feeling of being watched and the horrible smell that is carried on the wind from the north beach.
Playing the location is best between 1883 and 1825. This is the time which the servants were in full operation and the towns people were in fear of those at the shantytown. Before 1925, Shadrack Wass’s journal is still present in the lighthouse. A letter behind a picture on the chest of drawers in the master bedroom, as well as the words carved into the wall behind it will be present at this time. After 1925, the journal was taken by Kent Marlowe and is in the attic of the Marlowe family home. The letter however is with Sam Peters in Chicago. He will show it only if he has complete trust in the investigators. The words carved into the wall behind the chest of drawers remains until the Coast Guard took over maintenance in 1939, it was fixed and painted over.
The words read “Not alive, they are all dead”
The letter which Sam Peter’s has reads as follows:
“If you are reading this then you may already know what I am about to put to page. I do so only as a warning to those who come after me. This place is cursed. Leave immediately. Do not take the job as keeper. They will lull you. They will promise things. Do not be swayed. I have taken the book and hid it from them. I think they can read minds. I will write this down as quickly as possible and tuck it away, if you have found it, please heed the warning I left behind the bureau. There is a loose stone in the wall at the eightieth step in the tower. The book is there, do not read it, keep it hidden, keep it from them. Don’t go to that cave, don’t. God help me I am going now, if I can just make it to town, get help.”
FH are the initials for Franklyn Harris, who was the first keeper Shadrack attempted to train. He proved to be two stable to control however and managed to write the letter and carve the words into the wall behind the bureau before leaving to town to get help. He was intercepted on his way to town and was turned into a servant of Gla’aki.
Franklyn Harris is one of the 12 servants trapped in the cavern in 1925. It would be a good tie in for games played after 1925 to have the investigators find information about Mr. Harris and maybe even a photograph, once they see the servant version of him it will be a good “ah ha” moment.
The Master’s Leech is referenced in the seventh volume of the Revelations of Gla’aki. A rendering of the artifact exists there, and the requirements for casting “Leeching of Gla’aki” which will call Gla’aki to the caster, provided there is a lake of adequate size present.
Below are maps of the location as well as a list of keepers and shipwrecks since its inception.
This list of Keepers is historically accurate. If you are using this location in anything that will be published be aware that these are real people. If necessary change the names where needed.
I have not listed the First and Second assistant keepers here but that information is readily available. Generally the Keeper and a First and Second Assistant would live at the light house. This can be used for plot however it is my opinion that the solitary Keeper is a better play on the isolation that the location should convey. Because of this I have left out the First and Second Assistants. There are some interesting connections that can be made, for example, Shadrack L. Wass was a First Assistant since the time of the lighthouses inception and was promoted to Keeper in 1875. If your game needs these types of hooks you can always introduce First and Second Assistants and their families.
|Jan. 7, 1873 – Nov. 11, 1875||Fayette S. Crosby|
|Dec. 23 1875 – Feb. 9, 1886||Shadrack L. Wass|
|Apr. 12, 1886 – Feb. 5, 1908||Frank M. Plummer|
|Feb. 5, 1908 - 1918||Henry E. Wilson|
|1918 – Feb. 16, 1925
(Fabricated 1929 is correct)
|March 1929 - 1930||George J. Smith|
|1930 – Oct, 1932||Charles Miller|
|Oct. 1932 – May 1937||Ray Edgar Dunson|
|May 1937 – May 14, 1939||Wyman T. Albee|
|May 14, 1939 – Oct. 29, 1945||Gilbert H. Fulkerson|
|Oct. 29, 1945 - 1956||John L. Zenor|
|1964 – May 1966||Loren Robb|
1852 – Juliet: Schooner
1853 – Joseph Warren: 250-ton Peruvian bark
1864 – Cornelia Terry: Oyster schooner
1865 – Anne Doyle: Schooner
1873 – John Hunter: No information
1876 – Lizzie: 64-ton schooner
1876 – Uncle Sam: 80-foot schooner
1876 – Caroline Medeau: 73-ton schooner
1877 – Ona: Steam schooner
1883 – Phoebe Fay: No information
1887 – Yaquina City: 231-foot steamer
1888 – Yaquina Bay: 257-foot steamer
1896 – Valante: Propellor-driven steamer
1898 – Atlanta: British clipper
1904 – Quickstep: Three masted, 492-ton Peruvian bark
1910 – J. Marhoffer: 608-ton steamer
1912 – Condor: Gasoline-powered sloop
1935 – Parker #2: 76-ton dredge
1935 – Yaquina: 36-foot Coast Guard lifeboat
1939 – Sonny Boy: Large fishing vessel
1945 – Dorothy Jean: 50-ton freighter
1946 – Etta Kay: Two masted schooner
1948 – John Absdin: 365-foot concrete-hulled WWII Liberty Ship
1953 – Captain Ludvig: 54-ton freighter
1983 – Blue Magpie: 350-foot freighter
1999 – Blue Heather: 57-foot fishing boat
2001 – Nesika: 40-foot fishing boat