“And that concludes today’s tour of the Cape May Lighthouse. Don’t forget to stop by our gift shop and tell your friends if you had fun today.” Lighthouse keeper
Montana “Monty” Clark watched his guests troop toward the shop and followed close behind so he could ring up their snacks and souvenirs.
“What is that big thing out on the beach?” a lady who reminded Monty of his grandmother asked as he ran her credit card for a lighthouse Christmas ornament, some post‐ cards, bottled water, and a bag of gummy worms.
“That’s Battery 223, built to survive an air strike, and back during the Second World War, it protected the coast with guns that could fire shells miles out to sea,” Monty said with a smile as he carefully wrapped the ornament and bagged her purchases. “Of course, the guns have been gone for a long time. It’s part of the park now, but it’s closed up, so unfortunately, no one can go inside.”
“I bet it would be a popular tour if you could get that changed,” she replied. “Is it haunted? Seems like everything in Cape May has ghosts running around, or at least that’s what our last guide said.”
Even more than you know, Monty thought, although his grin never wavered. “People claim to have spotted some ghosts nearby, but I don’t think any of them were soldiers. The bunker’s guns never fired, and it didn’t come under attack.”
“You did a nice job with the tour,” the lady said. “Tonight we’re taking a ghost tour. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see some spooky stuff.”
“Good luck,” he answered and hoped he sounded sincere. Monty had been able to see and talk with ghosts all his life, and he knew that most people had no idea what they were asking for by seeking out restless spirits.
She gave him a cheery wave as she left, and several more customers kept him busy until the last of the cars drove away, and the lighthouse was peaceful again.
Monty liked the quiet. He enjoyed spending time with close friends, but being alone didn’t bother him. When he had read a book about a lighthouse keeper as a kid, he’d known right then what he wanted to do.
Unlike the lighthouse in that book, the Cape May Light wasn’t on a desolate, windswept rocky island accessible only by boat. As part of a state park in a touristy beach town, it had plenty of visitors in summer and lots of walkers and birdwatchers strolling the grounds off-season. School groups and tours came to learn about the town’s seafaring history, and Monty loved showing them around the building, answering questions, and tossing in unusual facts.
But at the end of the day, the quiet grounds and empty beach soothed Monty’s soul. He bustled around the public areas of the building, making a quick check for trash or lost items. Then he locked the doors and headed for a stroll on the sand to enjoy the sunset.