The Mysterious Disappearance of the Eilean Mor Light’s Lighthouse Keepers

Eilean Mor Lighthouse
Eilean Mor Lighthouse | Source

Eilean Mor (Gaelic for “Big Island”), is the largest of the islands that are a part of the Flannan Isles off the coast of western Scotland.  Because of the many maritime disasters that took place in this area a lighthouse was built on the island in 1895 to help sailors venturing into the area.

In December, 1900 two lighthouse keepers disappeared under mysterious circumstances and were never seen again.  There were three lighthouse keepers for this light, as it was very remote.  All three keepers were seasoned sailors and one had extensive experience at working in a lighthouse.  Their last names were Ducat, Moore and McArthur.

The light keepers worked 14 day shifts. Two men worked the light at all times.  One of the keepers was replaced by the third man every seven days. 

On December 14th one of the two men on duty at the light was due to end his shift, to be replaced by Moore.  However, a huge storm battered the light and island when Moore was scheduled to arrive so his shift takeover was delayed for almost two weeks.  On December 15th a ship’s captain sailed by the light and reported that it was dark and not operating.  When the horrible storm finally subsided, Moore attempted once again to take his shift at the light.  However, when he arrived where the men were supposed to switch places, no one was waiting for him at the appointed dock.  This alarmed Moore.  He and the sailors who had brought him ran to the lighthouse.  They reported seeing that massive destruction had taken place on the island.   Once they were inside the lighthouse the two lighthouse keepers who had been stationed there were not to be found.  The sailors also noticed that the furnishings looked as though the lighthouse keepers had left in a great hurry, as there were chairs overturned and half-eaten food still on the table.

 Although the lighthouse and the island were thoroughly searched, no sign of Ducat or McArthur was ever found.  The last entry in the log was written by Ducat on the morning of December 15th and read, “Storm ended, sea calm, God is over all.”

 The Fairwin – one of the vessels sent out to investigate why the lighthouse had gone dark on December 15th – reported seeing a ghostly longboat on that night, crewed by warriors with faces the color of bone. The crew also said they saw three men in oilskin rain gear rowing that boat.  This phantom boat had often been seen by residents in the area.  It is believed to be a Viking ghost ship.  Since the rain gear of Ducat and McArthur was missing when Moore and the others arrived at the light, the locals assume the unfortunate lighthouse keepers met up with Viking specters that whisked them away from the island during the horrible storm that waged again after the lull on December 15th.  The truth to the disappearance of Ducat and McArthur remains one of Scotland’s most enduring mysteries.

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Daydreamer Too 5 years ago

I was stationed on the isle of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides for nearly four years as part of their training range and early warning radar. The weather there is usually harsh and unforgiving and even in summer has a chill in the breeze. I could so picture the scene as you wrote this. A nice piece of writing, enjoyed it very much, thank you!

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Esmeowl12 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

What an interesting story! Thanks for a great hub!

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Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you have time to read some of my other "musings" as well.


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sam3m 5 years ago from New York

great story. it leaves one curious enough to research it further.

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Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Thanks, Sam. Glad it inspired you to learn more. :o)

Catherine 5 years ago

I have read a slightly different version of this incident. Seemed like all the 3 light keepers were missing. All the doors were closed (both the main entrance and the compound). Also it was just one chair that was turned down and a set of oilskins were remaining in the room.

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Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

I'm sure there are many different versions of the original story. You know what happens when a story is told--it is changed slightly by each teller until it can become unrecognizable after a while. That's how history is---not exactly what happened, but close to it. I wasn't there at the time, so I have no way of knowing what is exact truth or elaboration at this point. Thanks for adding your information Catherine. I appreciate sharing all the information I can about a story. :o)

Anon 5 years ago

The picture at the top of this page is not the Eilean Mor lighthouse

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Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

It's not? I got it from Google Images. It said it was . That's strange. Have you been to the light? I'd love to hear about it, if you have.

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