Unexplained lights in the windows, strange bloodstains on the staircase, his shadowy form gliding across the sand in the moonlight — for those who believe it’s haunted, these are just some of the signs a ghost dwells in the walls of a lighthouse on Toronto Island.
It’s been 203 years since lighthouse keeper J.P. Radan Muller disappeared from his post at the Gibraltar lighthouse, but the whereabouts of his remains continue to be a mystery.
Legend has it that on a cold night in 1815, one day after New Year’s, German-born Radan Muller— who was said to have supplemented his income by brewing his own beer — was killed by some soldiers, thirsty for his suds.
As the story goes, there was a garrison of soldiers close to where the Hanlan’s Island Ferry Docks stand today, who are said to have been regular customers of Radan-Muller’s. The war of 1812 had just officially concluded and while the various agreements would have been signed in Europe, soldiers remained on the island.
“They no doubt needed these rugged guys who would have been able to defend the harbour,” Richard Fiennes-Clinton, a guide with Muddy York Tours, explained on CBC Radio’s Here And Now Tuesday.
‘They did their best to cover the evidence’
“It was just after New Years, the harbour very well could have been frozen. It was very, very cold. There wouldn’t have been much else to do … Certainly drinking the night away seems like it might have been a possibility.”
It’s said that a group of soldiers were doing just that when Radan Muller cut them off.
“But they didn’t feel they were quite finished yet, and according to the main story, they chased him up to the top of the lighthouse and they had an altercation,” Fiennes-Clinton said.
The exact details are lost to history, but after that night, Radan Muller was never seen again — at least not in the flesh.
Nearly 16 metres high at the time, the area at the top of the lighthouse was very small.
“Apparently they struck him over the head and they ejected his body out of the lighthouse,” said Fiennes-Clinton. “And when they discovered that he died, they did their best to cover the evidence and dismembered him and tried to bury him and dispose of his body. And that’s really the crux of the story.”
The incident was recorded in an 1815 edition of the York Gazette newspaper and while a…