It's the spooky time of year again, which usually means horror movies, horror games, and other scary media. But this year, I've decided to do something a little different.
I've always been a huge fan of unsolved mysteries and unexplained phenomena. As a child, I used to devour books about ghosts and UFOs. I now consider myself a skeptic (but not the gross Reddit kind) and don't believe that concrete evidence for any paranormal occurrence has ever been found, and my interest has shifted to more earthly mysteries like missing persons and unsolved murders.
Over the course of October, I'm going to share some of my favourite mysteries with y'all, and have a go at coming up with plausible explanations. Join in in the comments!
Our first mystery is the disappearance of the Flannan Isles lighthouse keepers. In 1900, the captain of a ship approaching the outer reaches of the Scottish Hebrides noticed that the lightouse on the remote island of Eilean Mor was unlit. An investigation discovered that the three-man crew was nowhere to be found, and that there was a high concentration of weird clues inside: half-eaten food suggested that the men had abandoned their posts in a hurry, the clock was mysteriously stopped, and the logbook was full of spooky nonsense about the keepers acting strangely, and ended with the eerie phrase "God is over all."
The biggest puzzle of all came from the weather, and the lighthouse keepers' odd discrepancies in recording it. There had been a bad storm on the day of the last log entry, but the logbook stated that the weather was clear. The keepers had recorded a storm, but they claimed it had taken place days earlier, during a time when the weather was known to have been calm. Oh snap! Did they phase into another dimension or something? Were they all high as kites and lost track of the date?
Actually, the explanation is a lot simpler: most of what I just wrote is total BS.
The Flannan Isles light house mystery is a great example of how a spooky story can be embellished over the years. The detail about the uneaten food came from a poem about the disappearance, and was almost certainly influenced by the Mary Celeste case, where a half-eaten meal was discovered on board. The logbook didn't have anything strange in it. The clock was stopped because it was a 19th century design that needed to be wound periodically.
In fact, the first person on the scene noted that everything inside was perfectly tidy and normal, save for two details: a single oilskin coat hanging next to the door and an overturned chair, both of which seem to indicate that one of the keepers had left in a hurry while the other two were outside (the lighthouse was never meant to be left unmanned under any circumstances).
So what happened? The most plausible theory is that two of the keepers were out at the cliff-side hauling supplies up from a storage area when the third spotted a rogue wave approaching and rushed out to warn them; all three of them were then swept away, and their bodies never found. Rogue waves can be extremely unpredictable and dangerous, and the very same part of the island that the accident is speculated to have taken place on was badly damaged by something in the preceding days--possible another rogue wave.
Granted, there is a problem with this theory: the front door and gate of the lighthouse were both locked, and it seems unlikely that someone rushing out to save his colleagues from mortal peril, in such a panic that he didn't stop to put on his raincoat even though there was a storm raging outside, would take the time to lock up on his way out. The combination of the locked doors and the oilskin are the kind of tantalizing detail that give mysteries like this legs, as it's hard to envision a scenario that explains both of them neatly.
What's your take on this? Can you come up with a plausible story?