Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ghost Ships

This article comes from www.examiner.com

May 25, 9:23 AM by Kathie Kessler

Ghost not only lurk in old spooky houses, decaying, abandoned buildings and creepy cemeteries. Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shoreline, and the Great Lakes have their fair share of Ghost Ships!

The waters of the great lakes have always been treacherous travel.. one of the more recent and most famous sinking was of the Edmund Fitzgerald, memorialized in the 1976 song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot, just one year after she went down. She went down, along with her entire crew of 29 men in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975. Witnesses have reported seeing this large hulking ship over a decade after she sank.

But many other ships that have wrecked along the shores of Lake Michigan. Some met the “Witch of November” who's furious gale storms are well known to pull ships to their watery deaths... some of these ships seem to still roam the dark, turbulent waters of the great lakes!

Le Griffon - Le Griffon was owned by Robert Cavelier de La Salle in 1679, and built to take him and his men across the great lakes to the wilderness of Wisconsin. The vessel was 60 feet long and weighed the equivalent of 40 tons. The Iroquois prophet Metiomek thought the ship was out to destroy the great spirit and put a curse on her. Le Griffon set sail on August 7th 1679 headed for Wisconsin. The journey was rough but they made their destination. They loaded the ship with furs and supplies for their return trip, although La Salle did not join them as he took a canoe to search for a passage through to the Mississippi river. This decision would save his life.

Le Griffon was never seen again after it's departure from Washington Island on September 18, 1679, with only a crew of 6 on board. It seems Metiomek's curse came true, since he also said that La Salle's blood would stain those he trusted, and after hearing of the disappearance of Le Griffon, he was killed by his own men.

Washington Island has some of the most treacherous conditions on Lake Michigan. Your passage to the island takes you through Port des Mortes, or "Death's Door". Hundreds of wooden shipwrecks litter the lake bottom in this area.

It is said, if you look out onto Green Bay Harbor, on a foggy night, you can see the outline of the ill fated Le Griffon, right before she disappeared under the waves.

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