The Mystery of Flannan Island

Every year thousands of people simply disappear with no trace worldwide.  And yet even with the staggeringly high number of disappearances, there are still few mysteries quite so profound as the Flannan Island incident of 1900.  When a passing steam boat stopped in at the island to check on the men there, what they found was staggering.  And what they didn’t find would become a matter of worldwide attention for decades afterward.

On December 26, 1900 the relief vessel Hesperus was late to arrive on the island to drop off supplies and check to make sure the lighthouse keepers left on Flannan Island were alright.  It was Boxing Day, just after Christmas.  But what the crew found made it clear this would not be an ordinary holiday visit.  In the eerie fog with an unusual wind at high noon howling all around them, the crew slowly made their way up to the lighthouse and noticed the flagstaff devoid of its flag.  Boxes out front had been scattered and broken.  And with the lighthouse creaking eerily as they approached, the workers opened the door and entered.

Later accounts would say there was food still left on the table, but this isn’t true.  It was unusual for a boat to reach the island without the lighthouse keepers – who were isolated most of the time – coming down to shore and greeting them.  But when a thorough search of their quarters was conducted it was clear there was something else amiss.  Jim Harvie, suspecting the lighthouse keepers were truly missing, took out his signal whistle and tried to get some reaction from any part of the island.  As his high pitched piercing signal went out in every direction, they all stood in silence and listened to it echo off the rocks and the hills.  But there was no sign.  Again, Harvie attempted to rouse some sign of life from the island and found nothing, instead finding only the howl of the wind in that otherwise eerily silent place.

Altogether three men were missing.  Their belongings were left inside, their beds were left unmade, and there was no sign of a struggle.  Strangely, the investigation would turn up odd features around the island.  A fence was twisted and pulled to the side as if crushed by a tremendous force.  A patch of Earth was pulled up from the ground 200 feet up.  And perhaps most strange, the logs kept by the keepers there were last updated at 9:00 AM on December 15th.  It was later confirmed that this could have been about the time the lighthouse keepers disappeared.

So what caused this mysterious incident?  Speculation suggests a storm could have caused both the damage and claimed the lives of the lighthouse keepers there.  But there are also other stories, making reference to the mysterious beings often seen dwelling within the ocean.  More than a few at the time believed these could have been the culprits.  But whatever the cause, the three lighthouse keepers who disappeared shortly after December 15th, 1900 were never found.  And they have since found their way into history.