Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ghost Ships: The Carroll A. Deering

The Carroll A. Deering was a five masted schooner built in 1919.  In midwinter 1921, she was found aground on Diamond Shoals off the North Carolina coast near the Hatteras light.  There was no storm and no distress calls were received.  When rescuers made it aboard the ship, there was no one to be found except for a gray cat.  The bunks were all made and the food was left on the plates and stove as if everyone was coming right back.  The Captain's Log and sextant were missing.
The ship had been sighted by the Cape Lookout Lightship in North Carolina, when the vessel hailed the lightship. The lightship's keeper reported that a thin man with reddish hair and a foreign accent told him the vessel had lost its anchors. The keeper took note of this, but his radio was out, so he was unable to report it. He noticed that the crew seemed to be "milling around" on the fore deck of the ship, an area where they were usually not allowed.  The next time the Carroll A. Deering was seen, she was abandoned on the shoals.
An investigation was launched into what happened to the Deering after she was spotted at the Cape Lookout Light.  A message in a bottle was found at Buxton Beach, NC and read:  
The mystery was never solved, though there are many theories: piracy, Russian/Communist Piracy, Rum Runners or Mutiny. And there are those who believe that the Carroll A. Deering could even be a victim of the Bermuda Triangle. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Bermuda Triangle Today

While the vast majority of Bermuda Triangle mysteries occurred in the beginning half of the 1900's, there have been some in the late 1900's and early 21st century.

In 1991, the pilot of a Grumman Cougar jet made a radio request to increase altitude.  As the aircraft flew higher, it gradually faded from radar and then vanished altogether.

In 1995, Cary Gordon Trantham was flying her Piper warrior home after a visit with her daughter.  While flying over open water, she felt as if a dark blanket of fog had been thrown over her plane.  The horizon disappeared and she couldn't see lights of any kind.  Her compass went erratic and the panel lights were fluctuating from dim to bright.  The altitude indicator began to roll and there was a buzzing in her headset.  Unlike many of the Triangle stories, Ms. Trantham was able to land safely.  You can read more about her story on her site Bermuda Triangle Survivor.

Eight years later in 1999, a distress call was received by a vessel sailing near a freighter called the Genesis reported the ship was having issues with their bilge pump.  After this call, the crew and ship were never seen or heard from again despite intensive searches.

There have also been a few disappearances in this century.  In June of 2005, a Piper plane disappeared between the Bahamas and Florida with 3 people on board.   In 2007  a plane and its pilot disappeared near the Berry Islands and in 2008 a Britten Norman Islander vanished with 11 people on board near the Windward Islands. 

So why the lull in strange disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle?  One thought is that the advancement of navigational technology (like GPS) is responsible for the lack of Triangle mysteries.  It's also possible that the anomalous area has moved. The Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field, and this magnetic field changes location over time.  In fact, there is an area off the coast of Venezuela that is being called the new Bermuda Triangle. In any case, I'll be packing a compass or two and my trusty digital recorder for my cruise through the Bermuda Triangle to see if anything happens.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Great Isaac Lighthouse

The Great Isaac Lighthouse is located on Great Isaac Cay- a small island only accessible by boat about 20 miles NNE of Bimini.  The light house was built as an exhibit for the Great London Exposition of 1852 and was originally known as Victoria Light in honor of the then reigning Queen of England.  A few years later, it was shipped in pieces and constructed at its current home in 1859.

The Great Isaac Lighthouse had its share of negative history.  Rumor claimed that the lighthouse was originally bound for Sri Lanka but the trip ended in failure though no one knows exactly what went wrong.  The bad luck continued during its construction on Great Isaac Cay and is the basis for one of the known ghosts on the island.  While the light was being built, a British supply ship wrecked while delivering parts.  Everyone on the ship survived except one person- the ship's boy- who was eaten by sharks.  People have claimed to have seen his spirit wandering the island. 

And in the late 19th Century, local lore tells of a ship wreck on the island that claimed all the lives on board except one- an infant boy.  Now on nights when the moon is full, people have seen the mother of the infant wandering the island and wailing, looking for her infant son.  The locals refer to her as the Grey Lady.

But one of the most interesting and intriguing stories about the Great Issac Lighthouse is the many attribute to the Bermuda triangle.  In the 1960's there were two lighthouse keepers on the island: Ivan Major and B. Mollings.  On August 4, 1969, the lighthouse station was discovered abandoned.  There was no sign of the keepers.  No distress calls had been made, there were no sightings and an investigation shed no light on the mystery.  To this day, no one knows what happened to the men.  Many believe it's another disappearance courtesy of the Bermuda Triangle.

Great Isaac Lighthouse now an automated light flashing every 15 seconds