Surf-sailing around the Tupilo Lighthouse was a dare gone wrong for my brother. It all ended in the drowning of his best friend on that fateful day in September.
No one really can say what happened in detail, only that his boat capsized just as he had reached his turning point in front of the lighthouse landmark.
Divers were sent down to try to find the sailboat, or his body, but even that had vanished, probably torn apart on the nearby rocks. But there was no debris, so we never really saw that his body was in fact dead.
There was a sea funeral for him, and all the friends and relations attended, in order to say good-bye. Simple sea rituals were followed but it was all very unreal to be saying good-bye to someone whom we weren't sure had actually died.
Now, we regularly see a phantom sailboat, that rides the waves at the lighthouse whenever it's stormy. We've tried to reach it with a speedboat, but it always eludes us, disappearing into the mist over the water.
Now it's become a local myth that the ghost of Ben's friend is still out there sailing; still unaware that he's a ghost.
What would it take to tell him he's actually been drowned?
Ben says it would take a drowning in the same place, by someone his friend knew, when he's out there. That someone could then cross the veil between the living and the dead and tell him. No one has come forward to either deny the possibility exists, or been willing to try it. Mostly because it's a one way trip, and so far as we know, no one's come back that can remember it or tell us what it's like.
Yesterday, Ben, made good on the suggestion. Whether he consciously decided or whether it was a fluke accident, just because he wanted to test the waters out there by the lighthouse, we don't know. Maybe there is something unusual about that stretch of the bay. Maybe it's cursed!
Today, the police divers are out again looking for the body. This time it's my brother Ben who's missing. Last person to see him, was the marina caretaker, who helped him load his boat with enough supplies to last a month of Sundays. What was he going to do with so much food and equipment? This is the question I keep asking myself.
I've decided to investigate what's actually in the lighthouse building. There's got to be some answers there. But getting there is the difficult thing for sure. I'd need a sailboat that can skim up over the crest around the lighthouse to find the entrance to the light-tower. In fact that may be what my brother was trying to do!
I've told the funeral home to hold off on the ceremony for my brother until I get back.
Writing by Regina Stemberger