Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dream 25 "The Lightkeeper's Daughter" (Arabella Radelmüller, 1815)

At first, everything was calm. She dreamed she was out on the sandy spit of the island with her parents. The lake was still and peaceful; the sky an endless Canadian blue. But then there came a sudden storm. The sky went purplegreen. Black waves crashed across the beach. Thunder shook the air. Her mother swept her up into her arms and rushed toward the safety of the cabin, fighting through the howling winds.

Arabella could see it all over her mother’s shoulder, moments frozen in the brief flashes of lightning: her father racing across the sand toward the darkened lighthouse; a 100-gun ship of the line heaving through the waves, dangerously close to the shoals; her father throwing back the lighthouse door and disappearing inside; a jagged bolt of electricity splitting the sky. The lightning struck the lighthouse in a shower of sparks and a billowing cloud of smoke. When it cleared, the beach sizzled, sand had turned to glass, and the lighthouse was gone. It had vanished.


Arabella Radelmüller was the daughter of the first lightkeeper of the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. He was murdered there in 1815; some people say his ghost still haunts it. Today, it's the second oldest lighthouse in Canada and the oldest building in Toronto still standing on the spot where it was built. 

You can read the full story of the lighthouse and Radelmüller's ghost here. Explore more Toronto Dreams Project postcards here.

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