The Mystery of the Missing Keepers at the Flannan Isles Lighthouse



In December 1900, a boat called Hesperus set sail for the island of Eilean Mor off the coast of northwestern Scotland. Captain James Harvey was tasked with delivering a relief lighthouse keeper as part of a regular rotation. The journey was delayed a few days by bad weather, and when Harvey and his crew finally arrived, it was clear that something was awry. None of the normal preparations at the landing dock had been made, the flagstaff was bare, and none of the keepers came to greet the Hesperus. The keepers, as it turned out, weren’t on the island at all. All three of them had vanished. Inside, the kitchen table contained plates of meat, potatoes and pickles, the clock was stopped, and there was an overturned chair nearby. The island was searched, but the hunt came up empty. Speculation ran wild. Was it something supernatural? Sea creatures? A case of madness and murder? In the end, the official report indicated that the most likely explanation of the disappearance of the three men was that they had all gone down the landing to secure the box with the mooring ropes and got swept out to sea by an unexpected swell. While that’s possible, many believe that the lighthouse keepers had such extensive experience that something like that couldn’t have happened. Today, the mystery remains a mystery.