The Great Lakes Triangle
- By Hugh F Cochrane
From the book Gateway To Oblivion 1980 by Hugh F Cochrane (Doubleday & Co)
Source: UFO REPORT Page 32, Vol. 8, No. 4, August 1980
The Bermuda Triangle is not the only zone of mystery on the Earth. The Great Lakes have an even higher concentration of unexplainable ship disappearances than anywhere else in the world.
Near the end of a cool May, in 1889, several tall masted ships sailed out of Kingston harbor, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, to search for a missing vessel. There had been a storm over the lake. Not uncommon in these waters. And the Bavaria, the missing ship, had failed to make port.
Her absence had raised concern among the ship's owners and relatives of the crewmen. There was good reason for this concern, for, although lake Ontario is not the largest in the Great Lakes chain, it has one rather weird, if not deadly, anomaly that none of the others possess. It has the Marysburgh Vortex. This vortex, like the famed Bermuda Triangle, is a strip of water in the eastern end of the lake that has a long history of bizarre circumstances that have caused the loss of numerous ships and their crews. According to marine insurance records, the Great Lakes have a higher concentration; of shipping accidents than any comparable area elsewhere. And it has held this unenviable position for over a hundred years.
In its variety of mysterious events this region outranks anything found in the Bermuda Triangle, the Hoodoo Sea, or any of the other so-called zones of mystery in other parts of the world.
More important, this end of Lake Ontario appears to be the focus of an unknown, invisible vortex of forces that not only erupts intermittently throughout these waters but, at times, spews out an invisible cloak to encompass and cause disasters in other parts of the Great Lakes, the regions surrounding them, and even the skies above.
With this in mind, it was an act of courage that led the captain and crew of one of the rescue vessels, the Armenia, to sail directly into these waters to search for the missing ship Bavaria.
When the Armenia was nine miles south of the Main Duck Islands and well inside this zone of mystery, her crew sighted the Bavaria sitting upright and grounded on a small desolate shoal known as Galloo Island. When they were within hailing distance, the crew of the Armenia called out, but there was no reply to their eager shouts, no figures appeared on the deck. The only sound that came from the strangely silent ship was the uneasy creaking of her timbers as the long swells from the lake nudged her to and fro, swaying her masts like giant crosses.
The Armenia's captain and a few of his crew rowed across and boarded the Bavaria. From the time they stepped aboard, they sensed something drastically wrong. And after they had searched the ship from end to end, their suspicions were confirmed. There was absolutely no trace of the Bavaria's crew. The empty vessel gave up only strange dues to an even deeper mystery, one that has confounded investigators of Great Lakes mysteries to this day.
Aside from a small amount of water in her hold, the ship was completely seaworthy. In fact she was sailed back to Kingston once she had been freed from the shoal. There was certainly nothing wrong with the vessel that would cause her crew to abandon her. Nor was there a single clue to show where the crew had gone.
In the captain's cabin they found all his papers and a large sum of money collected from cargo that had been delivered to American ports. In the galley oven they found a batch of freshly baked bread. But the strangest thing of all was a small repair job lying on the deck. It was only a minor repair job and it appeared to have been set aside momentarily when the seaman had been interrupted in his work, intending to return. But for some reason he never came back to finish the task. He, along with the captain and the rest of the crew, had vanished from the Bavaria never to be seen again. The only living thing on the ship was a canary still chirping in its cage in one of the cabins.
The captain and the crew of the Armenia left Galloo Island to report their find, pondering the puzzle of why all aboard the Bavaria had left a perfectly seaworthy ship. Where had they gone that money and food no longer had any value? The bread in the oven, the money, the important papers, and the small unfinished task on the deck were evidence that the departure of the captain and crew had been sudden. But why?
When the Armenia reached port and the news of the discovery was announced, the circumstances found aboard the Bavaria set off wild speculation. It also reopened old questions of what had become of others that had sailed out across these strange waters and had never been seen or heard from again.
While this speculation raged, others less imaginative remained silent, expecting that at least one of the crew of the Bavaria would turn up to tell his tale of ordeal on the lake. But as time passed, it became obvious to all that not even the bodies of the captain or crew would return to shore. They had all mysteriously vanished as if whisked from the face of the Earth. They were victims of the Marysburgh Vortex.
Even before the discovery of the Bavaria and the unexplained fate of her crew, investigators had tried unsuccessfully to solve the riddle of this enigma of Lake Ontario. In the end they all failed.
In the case of the Bavaria, some investigators claimed that the evidence found aboard the ship pointed to something bizarre and unnatural that had overtaken the vessel. Some believed that an invisible force had invaded the ship and had driven all aboard her insane, causing them to seek an escape, even suicide.
The fact that her single lifeboat was missing led others to conclude that the captain and crew had succeeded in escaping from the ship. But this did not explain what had happened to them or why they needed to abandon their vessel since it was seaworthy.
Others suggested that those aboard the Bavaria were the victims of the storm, that they believed the ship was sinking and abandoned her. If so, what about the money and papers left in the captain's cabin? Also, what about the bread in the galley oven and the unfinished repair job? These are not the sorts of tasks seamen engage in during a storm that threatens to sink their ship.
Considering this evidence, it would seem that the Bavaria had weathered the storm and that things had returned to normal and regular duties were being attended to. Then something out of the ordinary occurred on board the ship. Whatever it was, that something was so threatening and vehement that all of those aboard attempted to flee the vessel, possibly in the single lifeboat. But none escaped whatever horror it was that had invaded their ship. In the end it claimed them all.
There are some final and confusing facts surrounding this story. A few days after she had been found sitting aground on Galloo Shoal, a strange report came to light. The captain of another vessel, which had been in the same area as the Bavaria during the storm, told how his crew had sighted a lifeboat on the lake with two motionless figures at the oars. The captain had made repeated attempts to get his ship close enough to rescue the two men, but each attempt had been frustrated as the lifeboat was drawn away. No matter how he maneuvered the vessel, the lifeboat was impossible to reach. In the end the rescuers had to give up in defeat and stand by helplessly as the lifeboat disappeared into a thick fog and was never seen again.
At no time during the rescue attempt did the two men at the oars make any effort to save themselves. Instead, they sat as if hypnotized, staring blankly as each attempt failed. When last seen they were sitting immobile at the oars as they were drawn to their doom.
Around the same time a lighthouse keeper in the same area reported that he, too, had tried to rescue two men in a lifeboat but had failed each time he almost had them in his grasp. He also claimed that the men had made no effort to assist in their own rescue.
Almost 100 years have passed since this strange fate overtook the Bavaria and her crew. Those who have tried to puzzle out these mysterious events have come no closer to the solution than did the stunned seamen who witnessed the event or examined the clues at firsthand.
While the mystery surrounding the Bavaria may have stunned many at the time, it was by no means an isolated incident in this region. Six years earlier, one fall morning in 1883, the vessel Quinlan had sailed out of Oswego harbor on the south side of Lake Ontario with a full load of coal for delivery to the north shore. The route her captain had chosen was a direct line across the lake, one that would take her right through the middle of the Marysburgh Vortex. The ship never completed the voyage. Those who witnessed the violent events and survived to tell the tale revealed that the eastern end of the lake was inhabited by unknown forces - forces that still inhabit the region today.
The first sign that the Quinlan was destined for a bizarre fate occurred shortly after the vessel had cleared the American shore and sailed into a fog bank. Such conditions are not too unusual in these waters during the late fall. But the seamen themselves admitted that this was an unusually thick fog, which shrouded the vessel in a wet gray blanket. With this came a rapid drop in temperature and snow crystals began to form, quickly coating the decks and hatches with a thick layer of white. The snow accumulated with unbelievable rapidity and the crew went to work with shovels to clear the ship of the burden that was making her top-heavy. Although the crew struggled frantically to get rid of the mounting snow, there seemed to be no end to the strange fall. As fast as it was removed, more piled up.
As it turned out, this was to be the least of the problems that plagued the crew of the Quinlan. Waves began to rise around the vessel and their battering became a savage fury few had ever witnessed. The exhausted crew were forced to abandon their efforts to save the ship. All they could do was cling tightly to railings or riggings to keep from being swept overboard as the ship was tossed about.
Thunderous waves continued to smash her hull and drive her on before the fury of the storm, and there was no telling in which direction the Quinlan was headed, for her compass had suddenly ceased to function, its needle turning lazily in its case. But even with it, navigation would have been impossible. The vessel was now under the control of other forces, which refused to release their grip. Lashed from all directions, the ship plummeted on, her route totally out of the control of human hands.
Shortly before noon the Quinlan slammed into the Marysburgh shore. Her masts had been snapped off, and her hull was split as violent waves pounded her to pieces on the rocks. Powerless to stop the destruction, the crew hung on to what was left of the ship while witnesses gathered on the shore frantically trying to rescue the exhausted seamen from the wreckage. They managed to reach only a few; the rest were sucked from the tangled mass of timbers and rigging and pulled into the lake that had just cast them out. They were never seen again.
The few who survived were carried to nearby homes and given the warmth and care they had never expected to experience again. When they were finally able to tell their story they all agreed on one thing: The ship had been gripped by "some odd attraction!"
Since that time no one has ever been able to discover just what that "odd attraction" was or what caused it to grip the Quinlan. The same applies to the "frost fogs" or whatever strange force rendered the compass useless.
In recent times there have been others who have encountered strange fogs in this region of the continent, and they have fared no better than the seamen of early times. In 1966, an experienced pilot was flying his light aircraft on a well-established route along the south shore of Lake Erie, southwest of Lake Ontario, when he encountered a fog that enveloped his plane and blotted out all visual contact with the Earth. Within minutes he was isolated in a white sea of nothingness, unable to tell up from down. He shouted into his microphone to the stunned controllers at the Cleveland Air Traffic Control Center, saying that he did not know what was the matter, that he was spinning, that he was falling. His radio transmission ended abruptly at the same time that his blip disappeared from the radar screens of Air Traffic Control.
The United States Coast Guard launched an immediate search over the land and water in the area where the plane was last reported. The search lasted several days but not a trace of the missing aircraft was ever found. It had entered the fog and had silently passed into oblivion.
According to the Toronto newspapers, visibility was poor on Nov. 8, 1977, when Tom Walker, a veteran pilot with nine years' flying experience, took off from Toronto's Island Airport for a flight to his home at Owen Sound, a short 80 miles north of Lake Ontario. Walker never arrived. Two days later he was found hobbling down a main highway in a well-settled area just outside metropolitan Toronto and was rushed to a local hospital. After being treated for a broken ankle and multiple injuries, he told his wife that the last thing he remembered was flying into a cloud or fog. He had no idea where he was when he was found on the highway, nor could he tell where his aircraft was located.
While this was going on in the hospital, Canadian Government search and rescue investigators were in communication with the relatives of two other men whose aircraft had failed to reach the airport at Maple, just north of Toronto, after a flight from the head of the lakes. No trace had been found of this pair or their aircraft and the missing men's relatives had employed a psychic to aid in the search. After weeks of fruitless searching and with costs totaling thousands of dollars, the search was abandoned. No trace was ever found of the missing men and their aircraft.
The strange forces at work in this part of the continent are no different from the forces at work in the other zones of mystery around the world. It would seem natural to expect the authorities in government or science to demonstrate an interest in these mysteries and set about trying to determine their true cause. But throughout the history of the Marysburgh Vortex and the Bermuda Triangle, next to nothing has been done to initiate a thorough study of the phenomena encountered here. As a result, these areas have become the domain of the Fortean writers and investigators who reveal the mysteries but never arrive at a final solution.
An example of one of the oddities that might have a bearing on the unexplained events occurring in the Lake Ontario region is the number of magnetic anomalies found here. There are no fewer than 14 of these magnetic anomalies - areas of strong local magnetic disturbance - plainly marked on present-day navigation charts issued for Lake Ontario. The majority of these locations are clustered in the eastern end of the lake. If these are no more than strong local magnetic disturbances, then at best they could only cause a careless navigator to sail off course.
The question is, do these anomalies represent something else? Possibly a source of undiscovered forces emerging from the Earth? Whatever it is, something in the eastern end of Lake Ontario is reaping a harvest of destruction. According to Willis Metcalfe in his book, Canvas & Steam on Quinte Waters, two thirds of all shipping losses in this part of the Great Lakes occurs in the eastern end of Lake Ontario. In 1883, for example, 40 vessels and 673 lives were lost in Lake Ontario, the greater majority in the eastern end!
In 1950, in a joint venture between the United States Navy and the Canadian National Research Council, a study was begun on magnetic anomalies and other such phenomena. As part of this project, surveys were made around Lake Ontario. This led to further investigations by a Canadian team of scientists under Wilbert B. Smith of the Canadian Department of Transport. They discovered areas of "reduced binding" in the atmosphere near the shore of the lake. In one report these areas were described as pillar-like columns-some almost 1,000 feet across and reaching thousands of feet up into the atmosphere-which were invisible and detectable only by sensitive equipment. Inside these columns some peculiarities were noted in gravity and magnetism and what appeared to be a reduction in the nuclear binding forces holding matter together. It was also discovered that some of these "columns" were mobile and never remained in one location for any length of time. Such an unusual discovery should have created some interest within the scientific community. Evidently it did not. Investigations of these areas were dropped and nothing further on the subject has been released.
For the present there is no way of determining whether one of these zones of reduced binding - a sort of gravity or magnetic hole - had anything to do with the sudden disappearance of the ship Picton as she approached the Marysburgh Vortex in 1900. But whatever it was that caused this vessel to vanish made it look as if the vessel had sailed into another dimension. And it happened in front of a number of astounded witnesses!
There were two vessels following along behind the Picton on that clear June morning as she sailed toward the Marysburgh Vortex. The ships Minnes and the Acacia had both left port with the Picton and they had her in plain sight. One minute the Picton was there and the next she was gone. It was as quick as that, according to the witnesses.
At first the crews of the Minnes and Acacia did not believe their eyes and scanned the surface of the lake before the shock of what had happened gripped them. Then they quickly offered prayers to heaven and sailed directly into the area where the Picton had been seen minutes before. For the next few hours the two ships crisscrossed the area while their crews hung over the rails, their faces grim as they searched the water for some trace of the people or the wreckage that they were certain should be there. But there was no trace of the vanished Picton then or after.
An uncomfortable mood came over the crews of both ships as they finally abandoned the search and resumed their course to the northeast. When they reached port on the Canadian shore and told of the almost impossible event that they had just witnessed, the news was received with skepticism and disbelief. After the initial shock had passed, word was spread to other ports around the lake and a watch was kept for evidence that might surface with the passage of time.
As among all seafaring people, speculation grew among the lakeshore inhabitants, but none of the proposed theories helped to solve the sudden disappearance of this vessel. Nor was the saga of the Picton about to fade away. Several days after the event at Sackets Harbor, a few miles northeast of the point where the ship vanished, another strange chapter unfolded that was destined to make the mystery even deeper.
In this small port a fisherman's son had watched a bottle float in and out of the harbor repeatedly over a period of two days. His curiosity aroused, the boy borrowed his father's skiff and rowed out to retrieve the bottle. Inside the bottle he found a note from Captain Jack Sidley, master of the Picton.
News of the discovery spread around the lake like wildfire. Relatives identified the handwriting as Captain Sidley's, but there was more to the find than just the note. When the bottle was found, it had been tightly stoppered and its top fastened with wire! Also, in Sidley's last communication with the outside world he had written that he had lashed himself to his son so that they would both be found together.
These two facts make it clear that, although the Picton had abruptly vanished, its captain was very much alive for some time after the event. But where was the captain when he wrote the note?
Historians and researchers have spent many hours trying to puzzle this one out and have gotten nowhere. The clues seem to defy solution. Most have agreed that if the ship had instantly sunk to the bottom of the lake without leaving a trace of material evidence to float over the spot and mark the location for the searchers, then Captain Sidley certainly had no time to write a note, much less find a bottle to put it in and a piece of wire to secure the top.
The note suggests that the captain knew he did not have long to live. From this we can assume that he had found himself in a hostile environment from which he saw no escape. This might suggest that he was trapped inside his ship on the bottom of the lake. The cargo of coal that the Picton was carrying would have been sufficient to take the ship to the bottom if the hold had somehow filled with water. At this location the lake slopes sharply from 200 feet to a depth of 500 feet-enough to cause the trapped air to burst the hull and send debris to the surface along with a foaming fountain of air and water. But searchers who had remained in the area for several hours stated they had found nothing.
In an effort to provide a solution to this mystery, present-day writers have suggested that, like other zones of mystery around the world, the Marysburgh Vortex harbors a doorway into another dimension, an invisible gateway into some realm outside our reality. As bizarre as this sounds, it is certainly no more so than the instant disappearance of the Picton.
Further, if there is such a doorway to a mysterious realm, then it operates only intermittently, because right after the Picton had vanished, both the Minnes and the Acacia sailed directly into the same area and neither of them were suddenly transported out of this world.
Ever since Vincent Gaddis wrote his original article in 1964, bringing public attention to the Bermuda Triangle and the mysterious events occurring there, many other writers have probed this enigma of the Atlantic. Countless books and articles have been written on the subject, adding to the unexplained things that have taken place in that region of the Atlantic over the years.
Among the speculated causes of these strange occurrences are suggestions that the Bermuda Triangle is under the control of UFO entities - aliens from another planet who have turned the area into a base of operations for their excursions to this planet: sort of a way station for intergalactic explorers.
Other writers and reporters investigating these events attribute the cause of the mystery to strange rays of energy being generated and beamed to the surface by a huge crystal column on the ocean floor, said to be a relic of an ancient civilization of Atlanteans who used the crystal as a power source.
This column, topped with a specially faceted cap to collect the sun's energy, was said to have been used by the ancient Atlanteans to power their ships, submarines, and aircraft. It was also supposed to be capable of emitting rays that helped cure ailments of the Atlantans. It is believed to have been originally located in one of their temples, and this, along with the continent these people inhabited, sank to the bottom of the Atlantic thousands of years ago when earthquakes and other disturbances shattered the Earth and brought about massive geographical changes.
This solution, though unique, seems improbable because the amount of sunlight penetrating to the bottom of the ocean is rather small, therefore the energies produced by such a mechanism would tend to be weak. Furthermore, according to the records, most of the strange events occurring here take place during the night hours or during periods when thick fog blankets the area, and at these times the sunlight would not be available to power the crystal device.
However, it is still a fact that the so-called Bermuda Triangle is a region of mystery that will not go away because of bland indifference on the part of established science and high officialdom.
The Bermuda Triangle is by no means the only such region on this Earth. In 1972, Ivan T. Sanderson set about to examine and record many of the other zones around the world. His research brought to light many other little-known triangles of mystery scattered across the globe, some located hundreds of miles from any water.
While researching material for historical articles on the Great Lakes region I noticed a similarity between many of the strange events that occurred in this region and those which Vincent Gaddis and others reported.
But something more important began to emerge from this research, something that was lacking in all the other zones of mystery. This was the strong evidence that zeroed in on the eastern end of Lake Ontario as the focus for the mysterious forces at work in this region.
In an article for SAGA magazine, in November 1975, I outlined some of the strange events that have plagued this region over the years and pinpointed the Marysburgh area as the center of activity. Since that time, further research has revealed unexplained events in that area that are even more puzzling than anything encountered in the Bermuda Triangle.
Further, these other events indicate a wider spectrum of mystery, which appears to have its roots in the strange forces and energies erupting from the Earth. At times these forces expand outward to include other portions of the Great Lakes chain, even erupting into the skies above them or the lands bordering these waters.
Amazingly, the power appears to stem from clusters of invisible volcano-like fountains that spiral up from activity taking place deep in the Earth. While these eruptions seem to be electrical in nature, they are not listed in any scientific text. Yet they seem to have been known to the priests and leaders of ancient civilizations. Also, if we are to believe the ancient writings and the evidence coming to light today, these forces and energies can affect not only material matter but also the human mind.
In the area of the Marysburgh Vortex, the shores of Lake Ontario narrow in toward the St. Lawrence River, creating a funnel-like enclosure. Through this the waters gathered from the expanse of the 300,000-square-mile Great Lakes Watershed must flow. Geographically and geologically this region is a strange mixture of curious features. It sits on the edge of the Precambrian shield and has been subjected to volcanic and seismic events that have left it a topographical oddity rounded off by glacial activity in the past. Its shores are rugged, knifed by bays and coves, its surface dotted with islands, reefs, and shoals, its bottom shattered by silt-filled fissures and faults.
This area also takes in the deepest point in the lake - an icy well of blackness almost 850 feet deep, from which nothing returns.
Like inland waters in any other part of the world, navigation here calls for a certain amount of caution. This is where the shores narrow in toward Wolfe Island; navigation here can be a mariner's nightmare. As one seaman put it, "This end of the lake can be a one-way ticket to oblivion!"
Both the United States and Canada share this expanse of water, just as they share the unexplained events that occur in this area. Yet government authorities on both sides of the border view these mysteries as wordplay and imagination. They are quick to point out the records, which show that many ships have passed through this region and, at worst, have suffered only minor damage from storms.
All this is true. However, when the toll of losses is examined and the common accidents and the usual mishaps due to foul weather are accounted for, there remains a number of "accidents" for which no logical explanation exists. The reason for this is simple enough: The forces causing these unexplained "accidents" are beyond present-day understanding. They are forces which have never been explored scientifically.
They cannot be ignored any longer!
My source http://www.mimufon.org/1980%20articles/TheGreatLakesTriangle.htm
Paranormal Palace Radio the actual show itself
Paranormal Palace Radio My site for my radio show
The Paranormal Club serving the paranormal community
Paranormal Palace community.
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