Lake Superior has its fair share of spooky stories. With a place being named the “Graveyard of the Great Lakes” and dubbed one of the top 10 haunted lakes in the world, how could it not? From ghost ships, haunted places, lonely lightkeepers, and woeful shores, the chilling tales that the Lake tells are vast.
Here are just a few of those stories.
The Flying Dutchman
On a snowy November evening in 1902 the SS Bannockburn vanished on Lake Superior with its crew of 21. The wreck and crew have never been recovered, though since that fateful day this steamship acquired quite the reputation. An apparition of this Ghost Ship would often be seen during icy Lake Superior storms by many sailors. Some even claimed to see skeletons on deck. It became known as the “Flying Dutchman” of the Great Lakes.
There’s something about every Lake Superior beach though Bete Grise Beach on the Keweenaw Peninsula is particularly unique…..haunting even. This mile long white sand beach is said to have “singing sands” where if you place your palm on the surface and swirl it around, the sand makes a lovely singing sound. Legend goes the “singing” that emanates from the sand is of a woman who lost her love to Lake Superior and she is trying to call him home from shore.
Stuck in Purgatory
The SS Hudson sank on September 16, 1901 near Keweenaw Point. It is believed that it capsized and succumbed to an enormous gale. Around 40 years later, as the story goes, a tugboat captain and his mate came upon what looked to be the Hudson, rusted and covered in brown sludge. It appeared to be coming straight for them. When it came close enough, the captain boarded the ship to see if it was in distress. He was met by apparitions of the crew explaining that they were damned for eternity to relive the sinking of the ship every year on the day it went down.
Pie Island Murder Mystery
John Forbes, Pie Island’s lighthouse keeper since 1908, died on October 16, 1911 at 75 years old. His death registration lists his cause of death to be due to “excessive drinking of whiskey and wood alcohol” resulting in alcohol poisoning. Though the actual cause might be much more sinister. A newspaper at the time published an article that Forbes was murdered on the island by two men. These men were said to also be found dead in a cabin at a nearby bay. What actually happened to cause the light keeper’s untimely fate remains somewhat of a mystery.
The SS Kamloops rests more than 260 feet (79 m) deep at the bottom of the lake off Isle Royale. The Kamloops sank in December of 1927 and wasn’t seen again until it was discovered by divers in 1977. The frigid temperatures and depth where it was found kept the ship preserved even after 50 years. But that’s not all that was kept perfectly preserved. They also discovered the conserved remains of an unidentified crew member floating throughout the engine room. This lone soul appears white and waxy and is affectionately named “Old Whitey” by divers brave enough to delve into the cold dark depths of this watery grave.
Ghosts of the Prince Arthur Motel
The moment you step inside this historic 1911 hotel you can feel the nostalgia of days-gone-by still existing within. So there is no surprise that there has been many reports of ghostly experiences over the years. From strangers having shared nightmares, TVs turning on by themselves, an old fashioned maitre’d walking darkened halls, unexplained bumps in the night, or disembodied spirits in the basement, the Prince Arthur is quite an active place. A room on the second floor is said to inhabited by a resident ghost known as Harvey.