Are you a fan of stories about the Great Lakes and shipping? Or interested in the history of shipwrecks and spooky tales? Throughout history, there have been many tales both truth and fiction around the hazards of sailing the Great Lakes. Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Ontario each have their famous shipwreck tales, and ghost sightings that have fascinated people over the years.
While there may be some tall tales among the stories that abound, many of the tales are true, because there were a lot of shipwrecks that happened on the Great Lakes, one of the most famous that of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
This article will introduce you to some of the sources of these spooky tales, and you will have to separate the truth from the fiction yourself.
Haunted Lake Superior: Ghostly Tales and Legends from the Mystical Inland Sea
From the publishers who brought you the best-selling “Haunted Lakes” and “Haunted Lakes II” comes a book devoted to the ghostly tales and rich legends of the largest of the Great Lakes. “Haunted Lake Superior” features dozens of previously unpublished stories of supernatural, unnatural or unexplained phenomena. Our previous books have sparked readers to share their experiences around this mystical lake. This book is packed with ghost stories and tales of encounters with spirits or beings from other dimensions. In addition to time-tested historical sources, Bishop has unearthed a rich trove of recent occurrences in which “something different” encroaches on mortal soil. From lighthouses to ships and even spacecraft, nearly every page introduces a story that will keep readers enthralled.
Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals
The Great Lakes have been the site of many shipwrecks. Because they are so big, their waters can be treacherous in bad weather, especially for ill prepared seamen. This book is an excellent resource to learn more about the Great Lakes history of shipwrecks.
Ghost Ships, Gales and Forgotten Tales: True Adventures on the Great Lakes
“Ghost Ships, Gales & Forgotten Tales” is a very well-researched, workman-like book that casts new light on (among other things) the invention and demise of Whalebacks, the Lake Michigan Storm of October, 1880 (also known as the “Alpena Storm” because of the sinking of the big passenger sidewheeler, ‘Alpena’), and the chaos caused by the smash-up of the Poe Lock by the ‘Isaac L. Ellwood’ in November, 1909.
My favorite story concerns the ” Alpena Storm” and the loss of the ‘Trader.’ The author really did his research on the little steamer ‘Trader,’ which actually foundered a couple of days before the great storm of 1880. Her eleven crewmen were rescued by the schooner ‘Guide’ and the ‘Trader’ itself was towed to Grand Haven. Two days later, the “Alpena Storm” thundered down onto Lake Michigan and “full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew” sank beneath its suddenly murderous waves—including the ‘Trader,’ which somehow broke away from her mooring in Grand Haven. However at the time of her sinking she had no crew, even though the ‘loss’ of her eleven men was reported in all of the newspapers:
“To Captain Brown [the ‘Trader’s master], the whole matter of the ‘Trader’ was probably an on-going source of aggravation for months to come. He found himself having to explain to his peers, each time that they met, how it was that he had not perished on Lake Michigan. Yet acquaintances that he had not seen in years greeted the good captain as if just returned from the great beyond.”
Steel on the Bottom: Great Lakes Shipwrecks
Maritime historian Frederick Stonehouse reviews the stories of numerous Great Lakes shipwrecks in this volume, telling how the crews were unprepared for the reality of sailing the Great Lakes and what happened to them.
Season Of The Witch: A Great Lakes Shipwreck Tale
It is a story for those looking for an unconventional and original tale to read. Season Of The Witch is a story about men, women, a shipwreck and a myth that becomes reality. It is a story that takes one on a voyage on a cargo ship into a storm as it sails for an eternal port of call. It is a tale that incorporates the battle a captain wages with himself and the forces of nature. It is a story of a sailor and his wife and the ordeals a fierce winter storm puts them through. Season Of The Witch incorporates all the classic elements of a story that leads one to wonder if it really happened.
Edmund Fitzgerald: The Legendary Great Lakes Shipwreck
“In “Edmund Fitzgerald: The Legendary Great Lakes Shipwreck” author Elle Andra-Warner weaves the well-known parts of the maritime casualty with a lot of interesting human-interest and general information that I had never read before. For someone looking for a more exhaustive account of the accident and investigation I refer you to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Frederick Stonehouse. For someone who wants a good overview of the sinking in a well-written book putting the sinking in context with deftness and nuance, this is an excellent book.”
Great Lakes Ghost Stories: Haunted Tales Past & Present
Author Wes Oleszewski specializes in telling the tales of maritime disasters and hauntings. Here is another of his excellent books.
Paranormal Great Lakes: An Illustrated Encyclopedia
Erie Wrecks East
This second edition of the original Erie Wrecks East provides a complete guide to shipwrecks of eastern Lake Erie. Ten newly discovered wreck sites and many expanded stories enhance this edition, allowing readers to explore 103 eastern Lake Erie shipwrecks. Over 250 photos, drawings and sidescan images make the incredible stories of lost ships and breathtaking survival come to life.
Living near Lake Erie led to the fascination with Lake Erie shipwrecks that drove the extensive research effort that is exhibited in Erie Wrecks East and Erie Wrecks West. What was once a part time hobby has become a full time investigation of the myths and realities behind the thousands of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. The Wachters have published three books, and several magazine articles, but their work is only beginning. With over 2,000 ships known to have sunk in Lake Erie alone, we can look forward to many more articles, books, and shipwreck materials from this husband and wife team.
Haunted Lake Michigan
Great Lakes Crime: Murder, Mayhem, Booze and Broads
“This book was the most enjoyable history lesson I ever had. All that crime on the Great Lakes of Michigan- amazing! The lighthouse murders are fascinating and so are the stories of piracy. And about every other page has a picture. If you like the history channel, you will love this book.”