The Eilean Mor Lighthouse Mystery

The strange case of the Island of Eilean Mor begins in 1895, with the construction of a lighthouse on the biggest of the Flannan Isles, just off the west coast of Scotland. An inauspicious start, but then again, most mysteries begin that way, right?

Created to be a beacon to those lost at sea, the lighthouse ended up losing three of its steadfast lamplighters, and became part of an unsolved mystery that has baffled many, and been solved by none! People the world over have been trying to crack this case, there have even been court cases about it! Information and clues have been found, lost, traded, and changed illicitly, but the clues just don’t add up, and time has made sure that this mystery will never be solved.

The year was 1900, mid December, and in a few days time, relief would come for one lucky member of the lighthouse crew. Storms had come and gone, but time and routine continued on for the three men who inhabited the lighthouse and made sure its beacon was lit every night. At the time of their disappearance, all reports from passing ships and weather records say there was no storms on the island. Storms had occurred a few nights before that, but had calmed in the previous days.

Joseph Moore, a fellow lighthouse keeper, came off the Hesperus and was the first man ashore, and the first person to discover that his comrades were missing! When no one responded to their ship signal and flare upon reaching shore, Moore hurried up the cliff of the shore only to find the lighthouse devoid of his fellow lamplighters. He hurried back to the ship, and then a crew was sent out to search the island, but Ducat, Marshall, and MacArthur were nowhere to be found.

The captain of the Hesperus quickly headed back to the mainland where he sent a telegram to the Secretary of the Northern Lighthouse Board in Edinburgh detailing the days events. Robert Muirhead, the Superintendent in overall charge of the Flannan light, came out to perform his own investigation after being informed of the event, a few days after Moore and the crew of the Hesperus had searched the island.

After some damage and upended box of rope were discovered down by the loading docks on the cliff shore, a theory was created that a giant wave came through and swept them all away, but with no recent storms recorded by passing ships or the lighthouse log book, it just didn’t make sense! As years passed, evidence was forged to make the vanishings seem supernatural, records were transferred, damaged, and lost to us forever.

Indeed the three men were truly vanished, and all that remained were theories, lies, and an unsolved mystery. Some people believed that the unfortunate three were abducted by aliens. Yet others were convinced that fairy creatures from the island spirited them away! There were even a few who believed that GIANT BIRDS snatched them up and took them off to be dinner for their nestlings.

Only one thing is for certain, and that is that we will never truly know what happened to James Ducat, Thomas Marshall, and Donald Macarthur by that lighthouse in December. You can look over the evidence and try to solve the mystery yourself, but if you are really in the mood for a mystery, look no further! Come join The Murder Mystery Company for an evening of mystery, intrigue, and murder, and crack a case with our mystery experts!

Sarah Winchester and the Winchester Mystery House

No one knows the actual birthdate of Sarah Winchester. A small mystery compared to the rest of this peculiar woman’s intriguing life.

Born Sarah Lockwood Pardee, she was the one of seven children born of Sarah Burns and Leonard Pardee. She grew up in the usual way, but there was nothing usual about this child. She was quickly recognized as a prodigy for her adeptness with language and music, giving her the apt title of “the belle of New Haven.” By the age of twelve, she had mastered Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian, and was extremely well versed in Shakespeare and Homer.

Sarah’s musical ability came as no surprise since one of her driving passions in life was numbers, and music is intrinsically tied to numbers and patterns of numbers. It was also no surprise, with her high intellect, that she ended up attending school at Yale’s Young Ladies Collegiate Institute. There she underwent a strict and rigorous curriculum of liberal arts, science, and mathematics. It is at this school that we can find the roots of her oddness and the numeric obsession that consumed her later years.

Sarah was fascinated with number sequences, and strongly believed that there were numerical messages in everything. She incorporated symbols and numbered code into every aspect of her life, including the house she would one day build. Sarah’s love of Geometry and specific symmetrical numbers is prominently displayed throughout the Winchester House. But most importantly, Sarah adopted the numeric, cryptographic techniques of Francis Bacon, incorporating them into her architecture along with specific Baconian symbols.

After Sarah finished her schooling, she was married to William Winchester. After several years of marriage and the loss of their only child, William inherited his father’s successful gun company, The Winchester repeating Arms Company. Shortly after that, William died of tuberculosis, leaving Sarah a childless widow, with a 20 million dollar inheritance and owner of almost 50% of the company stock. She spent a few years in Europe after that, then settled down in California, in what is now known as the Winchester Mystery House.

Sarah began furious construction on her new house as soon as she occupied it. There were teams of workers working in round the clock shifts so construction never stopped, even when she was sleeping. The construction itself is what has spurred the legend of this house. There are anomalies and oddities to be found anywhere you look. Skylights in ceilings look through to other rooms, stairways that lead to nowhere, doors that lead to open air, and countless, seemingly haphazard elements compromise the house, which at it’s peak was over 7 stories high and had over 600 rooms.

There are a several theories running as to what spurred Sarah to purchase and begin renovations on the house. Many mathematicians will tell you about her connections to the Freemasonic and Rosicrucian philosophy through her schooling and connections from family who were members, as well as a good many of her teachers. Some say she was obsessed with numerical ciphers, and believed ( as many of the Freemasons did) that there were meaningful, secret, numerical encryptions everywhere, in people’s names, birthdates, even hidden in the works of Shakespeare. These people will tell you that every action she took in her adult life up to and including the construction of the Winchester House was based on the teachings of the Freemasons and her perceived messages from these encryptions.

The second theory is definitely a more sinister version of events. After the death of her husband, it is rumored that Sarah went to see a then famous Boston medium named Adam Coons. Coons told her that she was being haunted by the spirits of all the people murdered by Winchester guns, and that to appease the angry spirits, she would have to go to California, and purchase the Winchester house, which she did. She then started the perpetual, 24 hour a day construction on the house which the spirits that tormented her demanded. . She would hold nightly seances in her home for the spirits with the use of a Ouiji board, and 13 different colored robes for each specific ritual.

It has been speculated that the constant construction was done to stave off her own death. Not only was she tormented by the spirits, but she was convinced that if construction stopped, they would be her doom. She even slept in a different room every night as an extra measure to throw the spirits off her trail. She would ring her alarm bell every night at midnight to signal the spirits that it was séance time, and then again at 2:00 am, signaling the spirits that it was time to depart.

Nobody really knows what provoked Sarah Winchester to move to California, purchase a farmhouse, and begin nonstop renovations that would not cease until the moment of our death. Was it an obsessive compulsion that was allowed to run free? Spirits? Insanity? The world may never truly know what inspired the woman behind the house.

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The Bouvet Island Lifeboat Mystery

There is a place in the Southern Atlantic ocean that is considered the most remote island in the world. If you were to draw a circle two thousand miles in diameter with this island at it’s center, it would not intersect with a single spec of land. This island is Bouvet Island.

This unlikely piece of real estate is the tip and crater of an extinct volcano. The scant nineteen square miles of dirt is 93% covered by glacier and is perpetually tormented by storms of the worst variety. Temperatures there rarely rise above zero and the “beaches” are sheer ice walls 90 feet high. There is one “safe” way onto the island, and that is by helicopter. That is if you can get past the constant sea mist that hangs heavily in the air from the near perpetual storms.

It was actually discovered in 1739, but no one actually managed to set foot on the island until 1927. This was due to no one being able to find it consistently, and an inability to scale the rough cliffs. There was no reason to go there. It is a thousand miles off of any trade routes, contains no resources, and, as you may have surmised, is not a terribly pleasant place. What they found in 1927 was just as they expected. Ice and dirt. They did a quick survey and mapped it out and then left. There were a few visits in the following years with the hope that they would find a large, flat area on which they could place a weather station. This was a fruitless endeavor until the mid 1950’s.

In 1957, it was discovered that the “extinct” volcano at the heart of the island burped up a significant amount of lava and created a whole new section of island. This flat, low lying section of island was possibly the one thing they had been looking for to place a weather station. An expedition to explore that possibility was put together in 1964.

On Easter morning in 1964, the South African ship R.S.A. and the Royal Navy’s Antarctic ice vessel HMS Protector rendezvoused at the coordinates of the island. They had to wait three days for the winds to drop below 50 knots (About 60 mph), so they could safely get a helicopter into the air.

When they landed, it took only moments to find something most peculiar. About 200 yards into the island, surrounded by fur seals in a small lagoon, there was a boat. Swamped and riding low to the gunwales, but still seaworthy, lay an unmarked lifeboat. This was a thousand miles from any shipping lanes or any land. There were also two small oars and a floatation tank that had been split open and flattened. There was no other sign of humans. The expedition searched the rest of the accessible island and found no remains or signs of even momentary occupation.

When the next expedition came some years later, the boat was gone.

This poses so many questions for which there are so few answers. Was this lifeboat manned when it ran into the island? It would seem so, as the boat was so far from the actual shore. So far that it must have been dragged by hand. Add to that, the oars were placed to the side and there was the modified floatation tank. There are no recorded shipwrecks in that area, and once again, this was far from any conventional shipping lanes… How long could someone survive on a lifeboat in those terrible subzero oceanic storms? Long enough to make a thousand mile journey?
And what happened to them when they got there?

There is no scenario that works. No line of thought that makes sense. No plausible explanation. And now, there is no way to know, as the evidence has vanished.

If you liked this mystery, and would like a mystery that you can actually solve, come try out one of our interactive mystery shows with The Murder Mystery Company at a crime scene near you!

Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle

Greetings from The Murder Mystery Company, where we are tackling our next unsolved mystery: the very strange case of the Bermuda Triangle. Though there are many critics who say all the incidents, disappearances, and deaths in the Bermuda Triangle are just regular dangers and losses of life on the ocean, it can’t be denied that there are definitely some unanswered questions, and more than a enough mystery to catch the attention of the public, and become the massive legend and attraction it is today.

Not only are there mysteries surrounding the tragedies that occurred within the Triangle itself, but there have been some very strange happenings concerning the triangle outside of its borders. On April 13th, 1975, in Fort Lauderdale, on radio station WFTL, Ray Smithers Bermuda Triangle researcher and radio DJ was in the middle of a Bermuda Triangle themed show. Hundreds of phone calls were coming in to ask questions, make comments, and share their Bermuda Triangle stories with Smithers.

Suddenly all of the phone calls were cut off. Smithers tried to answer the phone five times. Five cut off phone calls later a mysterious caller with a strange voice began talking about the “aura” of Earth being the Bermuda Triangle. This phantom caller claimed it was a sort of communication window used by The Millionth Council, of which there is no record or previous knowledge. Many, many listeners contacted the radio station after this bizarre event, sharing similar experiences of bad feelings and feeling strange while listening to the mystery caller. It was never debunked or explained.

There is no concrete proof as to why so many strange things seem to happen in this area. Is it aliens? The lost city of Atlantis? Strange magnetic storms? Outgassing of methane bubbles from the ocean floor playing havoc with floating vessels? Planes that were perfectly fine have gone missing, and boats have faced walls of fog that made it hard for the passengers to breathe. Many people have reported that their navigational equipment failed or malfunctioned while flying or boating through the area.

One thing we can be sure of, is that it won’t be solved anytime soon. As long as vehicles and people keep disappearing and compasses keep malfunctioning, people will keep believing. Is there something there? The world may never know.

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