The Disappearance Of The Eilean Mor Lighthouse Keepers
As a small ship was headed towards the Flannan Islands and the lighthouse at Eilean Mor, the crew noticed that its destination was completely deserted. The ship was bringing Joseph Moore to replace one of the three keepers staying on the island. The captain of the small ship, James Harvey, reached the landing platform and found, to his surprise, that no one was waiting for him. In an effort to gain the attention of the lighthouse keepers, he sounded his horn and set off a flare. Again, he was met with no response.
Joseph Moore then rowed ashore and began the steep climb up to the lighthouse to investigate.
Once inside, Moore immediately began to notice that something had gone wrong. The front door to the lighthouse was unlocked and two of the three oil-skinned coats were missing. Continuing on, Moore entered the dinning hall and kitchen. There he found meals on the table that were half eaten and an overturned chair. Additionally, the clock in the kitchen had also stopped. Upon searching the rest of the lighthouse, Moore was unable to find any trace of the three lighthouse keepers.
Moore returned to Captain Harvey who then launched a search for the missing men. After the search turned up no results, Harvey sent a telegram back to the mainland and the Lighthouse Board Headquarters in Edinburgh.
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Captain James Harvey’s telegram to Edinburgh
A dreadful accident has happened at Flannans. The three Keepers, Ducat, Marshall and the occasional have disappeared from the island. On our arrival there this afternoon no sign of life was to be seen on the Island.
Fired a rocket but, as no response was made, managed to land Moore, who went up to the Station but found no Keepers there. The clocks were stopped and other signs indicated that the accident must have happened about a week ago. Poor fellows they must been blown over the cliffs or drowned trying to secure a crane or something like that. Night coming on, we could not wait to make something as to their fate.
I have left Moore, MacDonald, Buoymaster and two Seamen on the island to keep the light burning until you make other arrangements. Will not return to Oban until I hear from you. I have repeated this wire to Muirhead in case you are not at home. I will remain at the telegraph office tonight until it closes, if you wish to wire me.
Several days later, Robert Muirhead, a superintendent on the Lighthouse Board, ventured onto the island.
Muirhead had previously recruited and known all three of the missing lighthouse keepers. Unfortunately, his investigation turned up largely similar to Moore’s initial search. However, Muirhead did uncover some strange entries towards the end of the lighthouse keepers log. Fourteen days before the island was discovered to be deserted, Thomas Marshall, the second assistant, wrote of ‘severe winds the likes of which I have never seen before in twenty years’.
He also noticed that James Ducat, the Principal Keeper, had been ‘very quiet’ and that the third assistant, William McArthur, had been crying. The next day, the log continues to describe violent storms and wind. Strangely enough however, metrological data shows that there were no storms around the area at all and that the weather was quite calm.
The final log entry was made on the 15th December. It simply read ‘Storm ended, sea calm. God is over all’.
All three men stationed on the island had been experienced lighthouse keepers. Consequently, the Northern Lighthouse Board remained largely unconvinced that poor weather would have caused these men to go missing. They would have been well trained for situations such as this. Additionally, no bodies were ever discovered washed up on the island or nearby coastlines.
In the years since the incident, all subsequent lighthouse keepers have reported hearing strange sounds and voices in the wind. Although theories from foreign invaders and aliens have been put forward, no concrete explanation has ever been provided. At the end of the day, we still do not know what happened to the missing lighthouse keepers or the strange events that may have occurred leading up to the discovery.
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