Flannan Isles Lighthouse Mystery

Flannan Isles Lighthouse Mystery

The questions surrounding the Flannan Isles lighthouse mystery have remained unanswered for over a century – what happened to the Flannan Isles lighthouse keepers?

The Flannan Isles

The Flannan Isles are a group of rocky, uninhabited islands in Scotland also known as The Seven Hunters. One of the uninhabited islands is known as Eilean Mor and it is made up of jagged cliff faces. Right at the top these cliff faces stands a grass covered hill where the lighthouse is built.

On December 7, 1900, Donald MacArthur, Thomas Marshall and James Ducat arrived at the Flannan Isles to begin a job that would last them for two weeks. They were lighthouse keepers that were on a fortnightly rotation timetable.

They were met at the island by the Superintendent of Lighthouses, Robert Muirhead. He joined the men in checking out the equipment and making sure everything was in working order.

The Flannan Isles Lighthouse

Before leaving the men to their rotation the Superintendent let them know that there had been severe problems with mist around the island for the last few days. He said his goodbyes to the Flannan Isles lighthouse keepers and left them to their shift.

The Flannan Isles Lighthouse Mystery

On the mainland there was a large telescope fitted so that employees could keep an eye on the happenings at the lighthouse. If there was any sort of problem the Flannan Isles lighthouse keepers could signal it to the mainland and receive help.

The severe mist that the Superintendent had warned about had closed in around the island and had made visual contact impossible.

During the period of December the 7th to December the 15th the lighthouse was only spotted on three separate occasions. On one of these occasions a passing ship spotted the lighthouse but were amazed to see that the light was not functioning.

the flannan isles lighthouse keepers worked in rotation on the island
The Lighthouse From The Sea to The South

The ship that was to deliver the men’s relief and bring them home from the Flannan Isles lighthouse was delayed until December 21. This was mainly down to the looming mist and additional bad weather.

When the ship arrived at Eilean Mor it noticed that the lighthouse flag was not flying. This flag was used by the Flannan Isles lighthouse keepers to show their relief they were ready to row out and meet.

The ship had no option but to send a small row boat out to the island to see what was happening with the workers on the island. When the lighthouse was searched they found that it was still locked from the inside. When the door was opened they found a meal sitting waiting on the table and the fireplace untouched – the men were nowhere to be found.

With nothing to go on the ship men searched frantically through the lighthouse records and found out that a severe storm had hit the island on December the 14th. There was however a further entry by one of the lighthouse keepers on December the 15th.

The Superintendent declared that the Flannan Isles lighthouse mystery was down to mother nature. He believed that the men had been outdoors when a huge storm wave had suddenly swept them into the sea.

the Flannan Isles lighthouse

Others were not so sure this explanation was a suitable conclusion to matters. There have been claims that the Flannan Isles lighthouse keepers were taken by aliens or even dragged into another dimension through a rogue wormhole. Another view is that the men had planned an elaborate escape from their job months before and had basically left the island on their own accord.

What are your views on the Flannan Isles lighthouse mystery?

Do you think there was something sinister behind the men’s disappearance or do you think they were victims of mother nature?

Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

15 comments on “Flannan Isles Lighthouse Mystery

  1. The last entry on Dec. 15th might find a clue. I’d go over all the entries and who wrote the entries. That’s probably the keeper who most likely killed the other two keepers and then took off from the island and established another identity.

    1. That sounds pretty close to the recent film that was released on the subject Jen (Gerard Butler etc). Have you watched it yet?

  2. What did the December 15th log entry actually say? It might not be helpful at all, but an entry that says, “Business as usual. We saw a bird,” would be much different from one that says, “This darned UFO just won’t leave us alone. It keeps shining this funny light on us, and when it does, we tend to fly up into the air.” I’m being facetious, of course, but I WOULD like to know the substance of the entry. I’ve seen the movie. While something like that might have happened, there’s no reason reported to think that that exact thing DID happen. Good movie, though. The report above puts me in mind of the Mary (or Marie) Celeste.

    1. Hi John, afraid we can’t answer that 100% as this is all the (legit) info we could get on the subject. There are a lot of articles covering theories out there but most of them are urban (or rural!) legends.

  3. The single most common well documented cause of people disappearing from rocky coasts in stormy oceans in large numbers is by rogue wave.

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