There is no more exquisite torment than to live through a long siege of fog on lighthouse or lightship while diaphone or air siren blasts out its shattering note at intervals accurate to a split second. So great is the volume of sound and so penetrating its vibrations that it soon becomes a concrete thing, an instrument of torture.

I spent a night and day within a few feet of one of the most powerful lighthouse diaphones on the coast. When I turned in the night was clear. The gentle hiss of the ripples breaking on the riprap and a slight rhythmic click from the lantern on the tower came through the open window. I had been asleep but a short time when I was overwhelmed by a crashing sound. It seemed to press on my chest, it made my scalp tingle and I could feel the vibrations in every muscle, particularly in my toes. I sat up; the silence was deafening. Then it struck again. Windows, door, the bed on which I sat trembled like an electric vibrator.

John Floherty, Sentries of the Sea, J.P. Lippincott and Co., New York, London, p.131.

TIME: 20th century.

PLACE: sea coast



The captain who knew well the story of the wandering buoy reported it to the Irish lighthouse authorities. Twenty-four hours later it was washed ashore during the night on one of the rockiest and most inhospitable parts of the coast of Cork. Its light had long since flickered out, but its whistle still responded to the waves. Superstitious natives on hearing its weird whooooooo coming in from the sea declared a banshee was keeping a death watch in the tumbling surf.

John Floherty, Sentries of the Sea, J.B.Lippincott Co., New York, London,1942, p. 201.

PLACE: Coast of Cork, Ireland.