Have you heard of the mysterious Lake Michigan Triangle? As legend has it, Lake Michigan has its own Bermuda Triangle with several strange events occurring there. Tales exist of disappearing ships, ship passengers, and an airline flight. Even a recent find of an unexpected set of underwater stones nearby adds to the intrigue.
Are these events unexplained mysteries or unfortunate tragedies explained by a deep and powerful lake?
Let’s dive in deeper to explore the mysteries beneath the shores of Lake Michigan!
Lake Michigan Triangle Map
On the map, many of the mysteries on Lake Michigan seem to cluster around the same area. The location of the so-called Lake Michigan Triangle stretches from three port cities:
- Ludington, Michigan
- Benton Harbor, Michigan
- Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Losing & Finding The Thomas Hume
The first major tragedy within the Lake Michigan Triangle occurs in 1891 – a missing shipwreck.
In May of 1891, the Thomas Hume, a 132-foot lumber schooner, completes a lumber delivery to Chicago. Sailing alongside the Rouse Simmons, the Thomas Hume embarks on the journey back to Muskegon. On route, the ships encounter a small storm on Lake Michigan and the captain of the Rouse Simmons decides to return to Chicago. Undeterred, the captain of the Thomas Hume continues on into the storm and the ship and crew are lost to the waters of Lake Michigan.
For over 100 years, many consider the disappearance of the Thomas Hume to be one of the greatest mysteries of the Lake Michigan Triangle.
Until… mystery solved. In 2005, drivers discover a shipwreck at the bottom of Lake Michigan that experts now believe is the Thomas Hume. For more on the Thomas Hume shipwreck, check out this interesting documentary: Great Lakes Bermuda Triangle.
The Overturned Rosabelle
Over the years, the Lake Michigan Triangle claims more ships, including the Rosabelle.
In 1921, the Rosabelle capsizes during high winds on Lake Michigan. The ship washes up on shore near Milwaukee – overturned with the entire crew missing.
Some believe a collision brought down the Rosabelle due to damage on the hull. However, with no other ships around at the time, the Rosabelle would be a mysterious one boat collision.
Ultimately though, the Coast Guard determines a collision was not involved.
A Disappearing Captain
A new twist occurs in 1937, with a disappearing ship captain.
While on route to Port Washington, Wisconsin, Captain George R. Donner of the O.M. McFarland retires to his private cabin. When the crew goes to check on the captain, there is no response. Since the door is locked from the inside, the crew breaks down the door to discover the captain has vanished.
An Unrecovered Airline Flight
In 1950, another tragedy strikes, this time with an airline flight.
On June 23, 1950, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501 disappears 18 miles outside of Benton Harbor. That evening, the pilot requests to descend due to an electrical storm with high winds over Lake Michigan. However, there is too much air traffic in the area. This is the last time the flight is ever heard from. At the time, the loss of all 58 passengers and crew made it the deadliest commercial plane crash to date.
After an extensive search, rescue teams recover light debris but the plane’s wreckage has yet to be found.
Image from holleyarchaeology.com
In 2007, Dr. Mark Holley, Underwater Archaeologist from Northwest Michigan College, finds a fascinating rock formation 40 feet underwater in the Grand Traverse Bay. Technically, this area does not fall into the Lake Michigan Triangle, but it is close enough to create intrigue.
While some online articles refer to this stone formation as an underwater “Stonehenge,” the rocks are much smaller and form a straight line.
According to his website, Dr. Holley writes…
“It should be clearly understood that this is not a megalith site like Stonehenge… The site in Grand Traverse Bay is best described as a long line of stones which is over a mile in length.”Dr. Mark Holley, Underwater Archaeologist
Interestingly, one of the stones appears to have a carving of a mastodon. Further archeological investigation may help determine if the markings were made by humans or not.
Stone Formation Theories
There are a couple theories regarding the purpose of the stone formation. Dr. Holley states that the stones may have served as a “prehistoric drive line for herding caribou,” similar to a another site found underwater in Lake Huron. According to the Chicago Tribune, local Native American tribe members suggest the stones could represent a ceremonial site.
Solved Or Unsolved Mysteries?
Fascinating tales! After diving in deeper into these mysteries though, most of them seem to have logical explanations.
Storms and high winds could easily cause damage to ships, airplanes, and passengers, with the evidence buried deep beneath a powerful lake. Even the underwater “Stonehenge” has a couple of reasonable theories.
To me, the biggest puzzle is the missing ship captain story. Possibly an embellished tale over the years?
What are your thoughts on the Lake Michigan Triangle? Solved or unsolved mysteries? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
For the perfect spot to contemplate the Lake Michigan Triangle, check out these 3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches.