It’s been two centuries since his demise, but the mystery surrounding the death of J. P. Radelmüller remains.
The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse and the Dark Past It Hides
The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is a sight to behold, a simple yet elegant structure that has stood the test of time. While impressive, it’s safe to say that it’s not the lighthouse’s design that makes it a well-known tower; it’s the tragic story it has been carrying with it for more than 200 years.
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The year was 1815, on the evening of January 2, lighthouse keeper John Paul Radelmüller was greeted by rather familiar guests—a group of soldiers from Fort York. The said soldiers were believed to be the beer brewer’s customers. Radelmüller was a lighthouse caretaker but earned significant income from brewing beer and was the supplier for the soldiers for quite some time. For unknown reasons, however, the man stopped providing them the beverage.
The encounter on the 2nd of January turned into a dispute, which ended in the murder of Radelmüller. The soldiers, who were not happy with Radelmüller’s decision to discontinue the arrangement, struck the keeper over the head and threw his remains over the side.
Several other stories have it that the soldiers chopped his body into pieces and hid the parts to conceal the crime. Moreover, it is believed that another lighthouse keeper who looked after the building between 1954 and 1908 tried to look for Radelmüller’s corpse but only found part of the poor man’s jawbone, which was never even confirmed to be his.
As to what really happened that night and where exactly was J. P. Radelmüller thrown or rested is yet to be known. One thing’s for sure, though, he’s still out there, lurking around the lighthouse.
Several sightings of the caretaker’s apparition have been reported over the years, with some saying they spotted him walking around the area and others sharing they saw bloodstains on the staircase.
Former keeper DeeDee Dodds said, “I’ve never met the ghost, but I can understand how the legend persists. The cooing of the pigeons is very eerie on a dark night and the wind howling through the lighthouse gives you the shivers.”
Known as a man whose life mission was to tend to the lighthouse, J. P. Radelmüller died a death so sad and unfair. Tragic and cryptic, his demise has given birth to one of Toronto’s greatest mysteries of all time, one that will forever be a part of the identity of the town he was born in and the structure he took care of.