« Supernatural with Ashley Flowers

DISAPPEARED: The Eilean Mor Lighthouse Keepers

2020-04-22

In December of 1900, the three lighthouse keepers stationed at a lighthouse on the uninhabited Scottish island of Eilean Mor disappeared without a trace. The folklore surrounding the island has led some to believe that they were killed by an ancient, supernatural force.

To view this episode’s full list of sources, please visit parcast.com/supernatural

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I am surprised that I get to say this, but today's episode is one we can all relate to imagine being trapped in a small house for weeks at a time with two other people you don't necessarily always get along with. There are a lot of things that could happen while you're stuck inside your color but stir crazy. You might fight in a worst case scenario. You might even try to kill each other, but I can't imagine any turn of events were all three people inside that house completely disappear, and yet that is what happened: in nineteen hundred three light housekeepers were left on a small island alone, twenty miles from any other land with no escape boat when a relief ship
came to check on them. Two weeks later, they were gone without a trace. This is supernatural power cast original and I'm your host they flowers, every Wednesday I'll be taking a deep dive into a real unexplained mystery to try and figure out. The true this week is about the disappearance of three lighthouse whereas on the scottish island of I mean more, you can find all episodes of supernatural with Ashley hours and all other par originals for free on Spotify. And if you like, what you're here reach out on Facebook and Instagram at par, cast and twitter at Park Ass Network
the Flanton Isles, our group of seven small islands off the coast of Scotland, they are like real, small, I mean the biggest of the seven islands. I lean more is only about a quarter mile wide, their remote rocky and for almost all of history, deepen uninhabited and steeped in full or the author John Mitchell described. I lean more, as quote a kind of other world, haunted by supernatural creatures and the spirits of the dead, the place to which people were ferried and never returned up. Until the nineteen hundred there was only one man made structure there, a chapel built in the seventh century in honour of an irish preacher, Saint Flanton No one is really sure who built it or why or what happened to them. But folklore says that Saint and in his followers, were scared away by magical creatures. Since then, the chair
bill has fallen into ruins and barely any one has dared to set foot on the island and the rare people who did followed some strange rituals to protect themselves, Sometimes shepherds would bring their sheep over to Eileen more to graze, when they landed on the bank, they would gather around the ruins of Saint flattens Chapel, take off their shirts and pray. Three types first well rolling toward the chapel on their knees, the second circling around the chapel on their knees and the third time in side or near the chapel, and there were other rules like you- couldn't kill a bird with a stone. You can't kill a bird after mean prayers. You absolutely cannot refer to the island, your on as the Flanton Isles, it's only to be called the other countries, in other words, are forbidden to, for example, the gaelic words for water Rock Shore sour and slippery. They have to be submitted.
You did for synonyms or code words, or else it complete mystery as to why these rules were adopted. But visitors took them very seriously over the centuries, though these superstitions had mostly been forgotten. No one visited plan and isles anymore. Most people wouldn't even seal, pass them because The rocky islands are hard to navigate, especially in bad weather and there's no sign of life for at least twenty miles in any direction. So if you get shipwreck there, you're dead order to prevent scenarios like that in eighteen. Ninety nine, the second human structure, was built on Eileen. More a lighthouse alight could be seen. From twenty four miles away. So passing ships would know to steer clear before they got to close once the lighthouse opened. The crew was hand picked by superintendent of the Northern Lighthouse Board or the annex b. This was a big job both because
The lighthouse was brand new and because the whether on the island was known to be dangerous, the winds get terrifyingly strong and there are still click on every single side, the principal like keeper G, stuck it was a seasoned pro with twenty two years of experience. James almost didn't take them because he knew it was so dangerous and he had a wife and for kids were lying on him, but someone gotta do it. So he sucked it up and accepted the post the way it works is bears a crew of four people assigned to the lighthouse, but at any given time only three of them. Are actually on the island, the ship's rotate so you're on duty for four weeks, and then you get two weeks leave so James has The assistant like keepers on his team, Thomas partial, whose twenty eight years old and only has a few years of experience but he's already considered one of the best of the best day, there's Joseph more, whose also twenty and brand new on the job and the fourth crew member
was a guy named William ROS, but at some point near the end of nineteen hundred he got sick and was replaced by an occasional like keeper and that's basically someone who is in a light keeper by trade but is basically trained to fill in. If there is an emergency, so the occasional like keeper whose takes Ross S place? Is this forty year old Taylor named Donald Mc Arthur, there's no record of exactly when he took over he'd only been registered with the annex b since the end of January, so he basically has no experience now lighthouse being. Isn't rocket science, the job itself is routine and pretty simple, but psychologically being stuck on a deserted island with three co workers for twenty eight days straight with no Electra, Eddie and no way to contact the outside world, like that's tough especially when you're in a place like I lean more we're in ancient sense of dread, permeates everything
looking out from the tower, all you can see is the frigid Gray North Atlantic stretching out in every direction. Waves are discussed Rushing against the cliffs and the ruins of the chapel are pretty much the only you can see down on the bank and on night of December fifteen nineteen hundred, you would have seen a ship called the S S large tour ceiling past the captain of the arched or expecting to see the lighthouse on the horizon, in fact, counting on it, but as these a closer captain home in sees nothing but darkness. It's a clear I base should be able to see the light from the distance. He checks again and again, and throughout the night and nothing the light must be out and that the problem because the arched or is supposed to pass within five miles of shore, if they miscalculated, even by a few, action of an angle they might runs Inter rocks suited
for I am captain home and decide not to risk it. He alters course to take a different. And makes a mental note to tell his boss about the lighthouse outage when they get to shore, but before they make it their. The arched short hits a rock and starts sinking the crew barely manages to crawl to the harbour before the ship completely falls apart, Dave We know one is hurt, but the arch shore is purely salvageable and in the chaos, the darkened lighthouse is forgotten No one else notices that anything wrong with the lighthouse for another eleven days there on December, twenty six a supply boat, the hesper us is support to land at Eileen, more Joseph, the twenty eight year old, rookie assistant keeper is on board and he's coming back from his too weak leave to relieve the other assistant, Thomas Marshall. Ass. They rode closer though they notice that
there's no signal flag hanging from the White House. They're supposed to be someone up they're keeping watch at all times and when a ship approaches they're supposed to fly like to signal that they see it and it's safe to dot. The captain said the horn, to get the light keepers attention, but still there's nothing they fire a signal rocket from the ship, but still get no response no flag. Now one coming out of the lighthouse. No sir of life at all, so they pull up to the landing and the captain tells Joseph to go up there and see what's going on there, if, on Eileen, more are between a hundred and fifty and two hundred feet tall, which is about the height of a sixteen story. Building a set of steers, zigzag up the cliff face and at the top there's a winding path through the grass Lee into the lighthouse, when Joseph makes it to the top there no sign at any things wrong, nothing's out of place, the front gate is latched. The doors closed
but he can already sense that something is off goes inside and it's completely silent the your place hasn't been lit for some time and all the clocks have stopped like we haven't been wound in days in the kitchen everything's in its place, dishes had been wash the bed. Had been left exactly as they usually were in the mornings, except this place is just completely deserted. No boat kept on the island, not even for emergency, so they definitely didn't leave and under no circumstances should all three keepers led the lighthouse at any time. There should always one person or look out so they're all missing. What on earth happened at that point, Joseph Bolts out of their something bad is going on. He runs all the way back to the boat and tells the crew that men are gone. All three of US The captain decides he better go back to shore and telegram for help in the meat
time someone's gotta stay on the island and keep the lamp running. So he leads Joseph Bear with three of the ship's crew member like it or not, building spending the night in the lighthouse where the three colleagues have just vanished without a trace when we come back, will try and peace together. What happened now, let's get back to the story when the relief ship left, I mean more Joseph and three of the ship's crew members were left there to ten, the lighthouse they go up to the light tower and everything looks eerily. Fine. The lamp has been cleaned oil fountains are filled, but there is no sign of any one, either dead or alive. It's like these. Their morning work and then literally vanished into thin air while there looking around. They find a log book. The last entry
It is from the morning of December fifteen. So the and must have vanished, sometimes that afternoon or evening right before the US as archer passed by and noticed tat. The light was out. The official reports, dont say, think about what was written in the log beyond the fact that it listed the temperature Winder action stuff like that, no one paid much pension to it at the time. Decades later, though, There was a magazine article about the case and the writer Earnest Vallon claims to have gotten a hold of the original logbook. Supposedly, this is what it says December. Twelve gale. Now with by Northwest West, see lashed out to fury storm and nine p m never seen such a storm. Everything ship shape James Docket, irritable, twelve p,
storm still raging wind, steady storm bound, cannot go out ship past sounding foghorn could see lights of cabins. Ducky, quiet, Donald MC, Arthur crying December thirteen storm continued through the night when shifted west by north, dug it quiet, Macarthur, praying twelve noon. Gray. Daylight me jacket and Macarthur prayed December. Fifteen one p m storm ended, see com, God is over all, so earnest Fallon doesn't really say who or where he got this from, and its often considered to be a hoax, deafening doesn't sound like an official logbook. Those words, to the Lighthouse Board commissioners, who, frankly didn't care about the like keepers, feelings all day
and here was the weather, but does sound like it could be a personal diary. These entries were supposedly alright. By one of the assistant keepers, Thomas Marshall, it's totally possible, but he was keeping a journal of his own, and if these entries are real, they paint their final days and horrifying light will kind storm is so bad that it brings grown men to tears. Something else about it. That might be significant. Is that Donald Mc Arthur? The substitute seems too. Be the most upset of the three he was the least experienced and the least familiar with the island's, whether and how also known for having a temper Donald seems to be the key to unlocking all of this. While there looking around Joseph Notice is something else interesting. James and Thomas's boots and jacket are gone, but Donalds are till their Joseph no said the guy's only put on their sea boots when there are going down to the landing, so they must have
on down there for one reason or another. But what about Donald? Why would he go out? the wet freezing, whether without even putting on his coat the net. Morning. Joseph and his crew maids go out to look around. They ve already checked EAST landing, and there was nothing to report. There's another landing on the west side of the island, which they didn't have time to check before the sun went down that first night when they feel you may go over there to take a look. They are stunned by what they see you see, there's another set of stairs leading down this side of the cliff, just like the one on the east side, but the eye railings are like twisted out of shape like beyond recognition in place the railings or even ripped out of the concrete foundation and broken into peace. It and that's not even the half of it about half way down the cliff there's a platform with a big metal crane used to whole supplies up from the landing. The crane itself is fine, but the boxes of ropes and the other parts
restored there have been blown out of their place and tossed around on the rocks and theirs giant block of stone which weighs more than a time that's been dislodged from the ground and thrown down the stairs. Now none this damage was noted in the log book and it's something that definitely would have been noted which means it must have happened either right before or some time after the men disappeared. This kind of the image could not have been caused by a person. The only explanation that they could think of wisdom ass if we had swept over the cliff but here's the thing I mean this cliff is a hundred and ten feet above sea level, possible for wave to reach that high, but it is extremely rare, like a few, have ever been recorded kind of rare and for a way to call that kind of destruction. At a hundred and ten feet I mean the amount of power they would have to have is hard to even fathom
Obviously, though, if a wage is strong enough to tear apart iron and concrete its strong enough to blow three people away without a trace, crazy, as it might seem. That's looking like the only possibility Eventually, the superintendent of the Northern Lighthouse Board shows up to investigate and he comes to the same conclusion there is no sign of foul play, no way that they can left the island. They must have gotten swept into the water one way or another, but there still one glaring question, why were they out there? In the first place, we're. No visitors expected. They didn't just go first, stroll by the cliffside, especially not in the middle of a storm. The best theory the superintendent could put together is that they all gone down the West landing to make sure that the crane and the boxes were secure. The April before that James had action. Been written up and find for not securing the crane properly. So if the weather was getting bad, he probably
wanted to make sure it didn't happen again and on its that sounds really reasonable, but when you actually think about it, it's seems weirdly out of character for experienced. Like keepers, leg genes and Thomas Bait We ve been on I more for over a year at this point and they knew better than any one how dangerous the waves are. One thing it's hard to believe any one would risk their lives to save a box of ropes but beyond. That is also bad light housekeeping I mean their primary job is to keep the lamp running so as far as their supervisors are concerned, protecting themselves is way more important than protecting the equipment. Many two year veteran like James, would not have let anyone go out there in the middle of a storm, especially not for the sake of avoiding a small fine and even if one or two of them did decide to go down to the landing. There is no reason
y. All three of them should have been there. Rule number one is: don't leave the tower. I attend it ever ever ever, not to me in the fact that Donald wasn't even wearing his coat? There must have been an emergency that Lord him outside, but here's the thing off these issues are never really followed up on. This is kind of hard to leave in a modern perspective. But there's no extended search the police don't get involved at all. Basically this four intendant rights back to headquarters that the three men must have been blown out to sea and that's kind of the enemy. Who will have to stay there and keep a light. So in the rest of the makeshift crew will have to stay there and keep the lighthouse running until they find replacements under and a bleak Joseph isn't thrilled about this and he wants to get off this island as soon as possible.
He's so worked up that the superintendent tells one of the other crew members to keep an eye on him and sit with him during his ships. The superintendent actually right in his report to headquarters that, if Joseph in Poland, together, they're gonna have to transfer him only natural to be upset when you're three colleagues completely disappear, but it's hard not to wonder with something else, making him nervous pretty much from the dead Of civilization, people have been terrified of this island shepherds, wouldn't even set foot on it without praying three times for safety, and me be their right to be scared few months later Joseph finally gets replaced and transferred to a different lighthouse, everything's fine, for a few years and then out of the blue. The light keeper who replaced Joseph suddenly falls from the top of the late House Tower and dies not things even weirder. Remember William Ross that light housekeeper, who was out on sick leave when the other three disappeared. Will
around the same time. He said he dies too, while working at another lighthouse coincidence, maybe, but we five mysterious deaths related to the Eileen, more lighthouse in the span of a few years. Six, if you count the fact that the work died when the lighthouse was still under construction back in eighteen. Ninety nine, it's almost like it was cursed from day one given the folk lore surrounding the island. This mystery takes on a life of its own. Remember this was only the second man made structure that had ever been built on Eileen more and the people who built the first one were supposedly run off the island by evil forces it was believed by the locals that I lean more was the place where the world of the living intersected with the world of the debt after rituals devices on other islands. The bodies were supposedly taken there to be. For it up to the gods D,
why there are so many old superstitions about the island is wholly ground. If you disrespected, there will be retribution So is it any surprise that immediately after these people take over the sacred island build on it, carve stairs into the cliffside ignore their traditions? I mean that's when everything starts, going off the rails. One popular theory at the time of the disappearances was that the lighthouse had angered ever see. Gods ruled the island and according this story during that storm in MID December, the boundary between the world of the living and the dead was ripped, open and light keepers were ushered off into. Another round body and soul. Those first three disappearances should have been a warning to stay out, but no one listened, the lighthouse kept running and the strange occurrences didn't stop.
Coming up, will look at some later developments in the case of the missing, like keepers and now back to the story, Over the years, the new light keepers on I lean more didn't forget about the unsolved disappearances in nineteen hundred. Everyone had a theory about what happened they were carried. We by sea monsters they were kidnapped by pirates? They were Kirsten too in the birds or a little more plausibly None of them went mad and killed the others. Sometime I'm in the nineteen thirty or forty is something you really similar happened to another crew on? I lean more one of the three light keepers so We fell ill with the flu and then another one had a nervous breakdown. He started violent and threatening both of the others. The third like keeper had to wrestle down and tie him up the next
leave ship was in coming for four days so that third light keeper had to keeping running by him EL, while the one guy was sick in bed and the other was tied up in the corner losing his mind. Luckily, all three of them me it through without any casualties, but he cast suspicion maybe something like this happen to the three missing. Like keepers from nineteen hundred, we know Donald had a reputation for being hot, headed and emotionally volatile. Also wasn't used to the isolation of the job, and if those did logbook entries are to be believed. He was sort of losing his grip in the days before the disappearance and, of course he wasn't wearing his coat, so he couldn't been thinking clearly when he went outside what the other two had gone out to the landing and he ran after though, and pushed them over the cliff or what, if he tries to run off the cliff himself and the others tried to stop him, but they fell in too I mean it's definitely
air, for like keepers to kill each other, but it's not unheard of, and it's one of the only way to explain why all three of them would have been outside at the same time. But then there's the d midge to the landing and the stairs. But that must have been caused by wave- and there has to be an explanation that makes all of the pieces fit in the nineteen fifties alight keeper name. Walter Albert grows obsessed with solving this puzzle. He stay and on I ween more for four years, he's up there in the tower day after day after day, watching the waves crash against the cliffs and he starts to em imagine what was going through the minds of the missing like keepers, the more he theorized, the more here thought. Maybe it went like this? It's storming and James is up there looking down at the west landing the way blowing like crazy, and he starts thinking about the boxes and landing ropes. He thinks there secure, but he's all right,
been fined ones for letting me equipment blow away, and if he lets the same thing happen again, he's gonna be in big trouble. It looks like Storm is on the horizon, so he'd better go out and check soon before the weather gets too bad after lunch, the winds have down. So he and Thomas go down to the landing while Donald Queens up the kitchen as their walking. On the stairs to the landing. The weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse. A huge wave comes up and cry she's over that knocking one of the two men into the water. The other man would have run up to the lighthouse for help, which is, blades. Why Donald left so suddenly, without putting on his coat de then go To the landing and try and rescue their colleagues, but another wave comes in and pulls them in washing all three of them out to sea note. This is such obvious scenario. It's hard to imagine why no one thought of it before, but still
a lot of people, including Walter, aren't convinced that a wave could actually reach that high. So what he decides to do as he gets a camera, he throws all caution, the wind and goes out during storms crouches on the flip side and takes pictures of the waves to measure how tall they get he shoots. Thirty roles of and get solid proof that, yes, the waves can reach way more than a hundred feet above sea level, and it happens all the time One time in particular he's balancing on the shoulder of a cliff like a good two hundred feet up when a massive wave sweeps over him. He manages to grab onto something solid, but a heavy coil of rope laying near him is washed away, and the wave leaves puddles afoot deep when it receives so it seems like we ve got an answer I mean really could have been a wave. The thing is, though,
If you say it was just a wave, your kind of missing the big picture. The fact that these huge monster waves happen. Apparently, all the time on this island doesn't make them. Less mystifying, as said earlier, a hundred and ten foot waves are super super rare, two hundred but Aids are literally unheard of the only time any have been officially order it is during a few super rare mega soon armies and that's definitely not what's happening here. So if these words. These are a regular occurrence on Eileen more what is going on there as far as can tell there isn't a solid scientific reason for them. Row waves, as their called have really only been studied since the nineties, and there doesn't to be much research into the Flanton Isles, in particular, certainly
nothing that mentions two hundred foot waves, but long before science, the people of Scotland had their own explanation There are legends about a clan of creatures called the blue men of the Mitch. They look like humans, except their blue. And they live under water baking conch all waters and create storms, and they prowl. This he's challenging sailors to what are essentially rap battles according to legend when they come across a ship Del throw out o rhyming couplet and the captain has to respond with the next verse they go back. Fourth, like this, until one of the two messes up, if the captain we the blue men, move on and leave them alone, but if the blue and win bill. Capsized the ship and kill everyone on it leaving aside the total weirdness of this. It's no wonder that folklore tales like this were taken so seriously by sailors. Do we
they were seeing were on fathom ugly destructive, of course, thought I lean more was cursed, whether its evil spirits of past crisis or the blue men of the Minch, or just Natures, fury theirs, Beasley some bourse. That does not want people living there and in nineteen. Seventy one I lean more got its wish: the lighthouse was fully automated. The light keepers moved out and the island has been uninhabited ever since the day appearance of the three missing men has still never been explained, but at least We finally learn from their example, and we stop tempting eight thanks for listening
I'll be back next week with another episode, you can find all episodes of supernatural and all other par cast originals for free on Spotify Spotify has all your favorite, music and podcast all in one place and they're, making it easier to listen to whatever you want to hear or free on your phone, computer or smart speaker, and if you like, the show, follow at par, cast on Facebook and Instagram and at park ass network on Twitter Supernatural was created by MAX Cutler and stars. Actually, flowers and his appeal cast studios original its executive produced by MAX Cutler Sound design by carry Murphy with production assistance by IRAN, Shapiro and Carly Madden. This episode of supernatural was written by Kate Gallagher with writing Systems by drew call to hear more stories hosted by me check out, crying junkie and all audio chuck originals.
Transcript generated on 2020-06-20.