Mystery Behind The Flannan Isles Lighthouse Disappearances Is Not Solved Yet

The Three Lightkeepers vanished from The Flannan Isles Lighthouse
The Three Lightkeepers vanished from The Flannan Isles Lighthouse( Source : com )

The three lighthouse keepers from the isolated Flannan Isles disappeared mysteriously and the reason behind this is still not clear.

The Flannan Isles which is also known as the seven hunters is a group of rocky islands on the western coast of Scotland. In 1896, the board of Trade officially permitted to construct a lighthouse on the largest of the Flannan Isles. It was named Eilen Mor.

It was completed and lit for the first time in December 1899. Four lightkeepers were assigned to the lighthouse, each of them working in rotation of six weeks on and two weeks off. This way there were always three men active on the island at one time.

On the 26th of December, the lighthouse tender ship Hesperus (a ship that supports and maintains lighthouses) made a routine visit to Eilean Mor. On that day he found something odd with the island. Only a year after the lighthouse first get to work, the three keepers were missing from the island and no none knows what happened to them. The incident is a mystery till today.

The Flannan Isles Lighthouse Disappearances True Story

The true story of the mysterious disappearance from the Flannan Isles Lighthouse is shown in The Vanishing. The 2018 movie is now available on Netflix.

After the construction of the Flannan lighthouse, it was never left alone. Each time three lighthouse keepers were active on the island.
The three men stationed on the island in December of 1900 were James Ducat, the 43 years old Principal keeper with 20 years of experience. Donald Macarthur was the 40-year-old occasional keeper.

Thomas Marshall was the youngest of all at 28 and the second assistant keeper in the Lighthouse. The fourth keeper, Joseph Moore, wasn't present on the island as it was his two weeks off.

Around midnight on the 15th of December, The steamship Archtor passed near the Flannan Isles. The Captain of the ship Captain Holman noted the absence of light from the lighthouse. But this was never communicated to the Northern Lighthouse board.

On the routine visit, the Hesperus blew a horn to get the attention of the lighthouse keepers. But he didn't receive any response from them. They then attempted firing a flare, but again, no reply from the keepers. Soon after the lighthouse was first put in service, the three keepers went missing from the island.

Joseph Moore, the lighthouse keeper, was onboard the Hesperus. Any signal was not coming from the island, so Moore was sent there. On the east landing, nothing appeared to be wrong. Everything was just in its original place. All the doors were closed except for the kitchen door, and the fireplace was not lit for many days. 

He realized that something was seriously wrong, so he went to get back to Hesperus to get more men to help him investigate. The west boat landing was damaged. Also, mooring ropes were lost, and a box that had held tackle was also not there. However, that damage was already detailed in the keeper's log, which proves that it was not directly related to the disappearance.

The log by the keepers also noted the recent string of storms and winds, but there were no reports of storms. So either the turbulence weather had been extremely localized over their island, or the men had hallucinated about the storm. No one knows about the authenticity of these logs.

Eighteen miles southeast of the island is Galen Head, where gamekeeper Roderick Mackenzie's duty was to watch for communications from the lighthouse. Each night he had the duty to note whether he could see the light or whether any signal was seen during the day.

He reported that he was unable to see the true light of the tower between December 7th and December 29th to the investigation officers. The darkness for two weeks had concerned him, but he had not indicated any report until the northern lighthouse board questioned him.

Many theories have been made about this incident of three lighthouse keepers vanishing into thin air, but no one could have ever concluded the mysterious disappearance with 100% accuracy.

'Eilean Mor' the lighthouse that was completely abandoned and its keepers vanished in a thin air.
'Eilean Mor' the lighthouse that was completely abandoned and its keepers vanished in a thin air. ( Source : 9news )

The Flannan Isles Mystery Movie "The Vanishing"

Kristoffer Nyholm has created a movie titled The Vanishing based on the Flannan Isles Mystery, fictionalizing what could have happened. 

The movie shows the story behind what may be the cause of the disappearance of the light keepers without a trace. Gerald Butler, Peter Mullan, and Connor Swindells are staring as the three vanished keepers from the island.

Gerald Butler, Peter Mullan, and Connor Swindells, staring in the movie inspired by a true unsolved Mistry 'The Vanishing''
Gerald Butler, Peter Mullan, and Connor Swindells, staring in the movie inspired by a true unsolved Mistry 'The Vanishing'' ( Source : port )

The Vanishing Plot Review

In the movie, the keepers went to their regular shift at the lighthouse on the island. Among the three of them, Donald was the youngest and most inexperienced one who was learning from the other two lightkeepers; Tomas and James. James is a family man and Thomas is still not over the death of his family.

One night, the lighthouse got hit by a huge storm. The same morning Donald discovered a man and a wooden chest on the island. He went to the cliff to check on the man, who he thought is dead but soon he awakens and tries to kill him. In self-defense, Donald had to kill the man instead.

James and Donald try to open the chest but Thomas was against the idea of opening it. But at night he opens it alone and decides to keep what's inside to himself. The other two guys open it up out of curiosity and found a large wooden chest full of gold in it. 

Thomas offered a plan to sneak out with gold, they plan to dispose of the body into the sea and do their work normally for at least a year before sharing the wealth.

Two strangers came to the island looking for their crewmate along with the chest. Thomas answered their interrogation very calmly and convinced them that the body and the chest is no longer on the island following the protocol. The strangers leave the island still doubting and try to contact the lighthouse radio which the keepers were unable to answer because it was malfunctioning.

The visitors come back to the island sensing their lies and attacked them. In a struggle of saving themselves, the keepers killed the two men and sensed that there is more of them. James got out and killed the intruder slashing him with a hook. After flashing a light into the body, it was just a little boy who reminded him of his own son charlie.

This incident was rooted in James's mind so hard that he started acting weird. He blamed all of this on Donald and tried to kill him. Thomas saved him in the meantime and planned to leave the island with gold but James then went missing. They could not leave without him so they were arguing about what should they do when suddenly James showed up and apologized for his behavior. He traped them with his sweet apology and cleverly he killed Donald locking Thomas in a room.

Now Thomas and James dumped the body on the ocean and finally left the lsland in a chapel. Killing all these men for gold, James was ashamed of himself. His guilt didn't let him live, so he finally requested Thomas to kill him and let himself drown in the water. Thomas helped him die, holding his head into the water and left alone.

The movie explains greed is the main thing that led them to their end. It's been a hell of a week for the three of them which has made them mentally tired.

How Much Do Lighthouse Keepers Make?

The lighthouse keepers get paid from $26,400 to $60,000 for taking care of the lighthouse on the tiny island.

Lighthouse keepers are the Maritime professionals who help and provide guidance to the ship on the way of water to prevent it from harm. They make sure about the flow of light, its mechanism, and the grounds of the lighthouse during the nighttime. All the responsibilities of the lighthouse such as cleaning windows and lenses winding the clock, and using fog signals are under the lighthouse keepers. 

The salary of the lightkeepers can vary depending on the location, experience of work, and company. The upper-mentioned amount is the average income of a lighthouse keeper annually.

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