Just off the western coast of Scotland lies a small group of uninhabited islands called the Flannon Isles. The isles climb out of the water as giant rocky cliffs plateau into plains of green grass. Treeless and baron, the views from atop the island’s rolling hills can stretch on for miles, and the only sound is that of the waves hitting the jagged rocks below. The only building that sits atop this nearly unspoiled landscape is a small lighthouse built in 1899 known as the Eilean Mor lighthouse. It is here that three loyal lighthouse keepers mysteriously vanished without a trace leaving behind disturbing clues to their final moments.
On a cold December morning in 1900, Captain James Harvey anchored his ship off the island. He was carrying on board Joseph Moore, a relief lighthouse worker on his way to replace one of the three lighthouse workers on the island. Captain Harvey sounded his horn, but received no reply from the men in the lighthouse. He fired a flair, but still there was no response. Finally, Captain Harvey sent Joseph ashore in a row boat.
As he ascended the stairs to the lighthouse, an ominous presence fell over him. Something was very wrong here, he could feel it. As he reached the lighthouse Joseph noticed that the door was unlocked. Joseph opened the door and called out to the men inside, but received no reply from any of the three men who were supposed to be manning the lighthouse. Stepping into the entryway, he noticed that two coats were missing from the coat rack, the third one was still there. In the kitchen, he found the half-eaten and partially rotten remains of a meal still on the table. Joseph also noticed an overturned chair. It was as though all three men had gotten up from their meal in a hurry. Joseph discovered that all the clocks in the lighthouse had stopped on the exact same time. Joseph searched all over the lighthouse, but found no trace of James Ducat, Thomas Marshall, or William McArthur.
Back aboard his ship, Captain Harvey sent a telegram back to the Northern Lighthouse Board Headquarters in Edinburgh. He explained the situation and awaited word back about how to proceed. A few days later, the superintendent of the lighthouse board, Robert Muirhead, sailed for the island to investigate. Robert found that the everything was just as the telegram described, and found something even more bizarre in the lighthouse keepers logs.
On December 12th, the second assistant keeper, Thomas Marshall, noted that they were being barraged by powerful winds. Marshall also noted that Principal Keeper James Ducat had been very distant over the past few days, and that William McArthur, the third assistant keeper had been crying constantly. The news that McArthur had been crying was particularly disturbing to Muirhead who knew him as a hardened seafarer. If the storm had brought this man to tears, then it must have been one hell of a squall. However, although the logs reported storms on December 12th, 13th, and 14th, the actual weather reports for the area on those days was calm. The logs final entry was on December 15th, it said “Storm ended, sea calm. God is over all.”
Muirhead had no explanation for this last sentence, it was not part of any seafaring code he was familiar with. In addition to this Muirhead found several ropes tangled about the rocky cliffs below the lighthouse. He could only venture a guess that perhaps a rogue wave had swept them away, but why were their bodies never found. Surely, they would still be crashing against the rocks had they fallen in the icy waters below.
The lighthouse was fully automated in the 70s and no longer required a keeper to man it. But in the decades leading up to this, lighthouse keepers kept watch over the sea. Those who took over the post at Eilean Mor reported hearing voices, voices that sometimes called out the names of the three missing keepers. To this day rumors and theories continue to circulate regarding the fate of those three men. In addition to a rogue wave, some have suggested that a hostile navy had captured them, others believed they were victims of an alien abduction. Regardless of the theories, to this day what happened to those three men remains a mystery, and to this day no trace of them has ever been found.