4. Flannan Isles Lighthouse Keepers
All three of the keepers of the Flannan Isles Lighthouse, located in Scotland’s Flannan Isles, were found to be missing on December 26, 1900, and were never seen again. It was against the regulations for all three keepers to leave their posts at any one time, particularly during a storm, when the lighthouse would have been a godsend to any ships caught in the rough seas. So why did they all leave their posts?
What is known is that when the relief keeper landed on the island, he found the lighthouse deserted. Further investigations showed that the men had certainly been working up until December 15, as their logs showed, and a vessel reported passing the lighthouse that night and noticing that the lamp was not lit, a fact not known at the time.
On inspection, the light was found to be in good working order.
We’ll probably never know what happened to them, although a number of theories have been put forward. One was that, after having previously been fined for not tying down equipment, the three keepers went together to ensure that everything was made safe ahead of the storm and were either swept off the rocks by a large wave or blown off the side of the cliff in a gale. Another theory suggested that two keepers had gone out to check ropes, and when they didn’t return, the third went out to find them, only to perish himself. In 1912, the English poet Wilfred Wilson Gibson published a poem, “Flannan Isle,” which suggested a much more mysterious end, dwelling on overturned chairs and untouched meals and supernatural misgivings, for which there was never any basis in fact.