Burning Ghost Ship of Northumberland Strait

Popular Maritime Tourist Destination

Canada’s Northumberland Strait is a popular tourist destination running between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

And is home to a unique phenomenon. In 1786 countless people report a burning ship in the harbour. Some have seen it with a crew on board.

So vivid crews have been assembled to rescue the ship. Only to have it disappear as they row out.

There’s a legend about a crew who made it to the ship. Got on board just as it vanished taking the men with it. Stories increasing the mystery around this phenomenon known as the ghost ship of Northumberland Strait.

To this day there are many theories of the ship’s identity.

Spotting the Haunted Vessel

Reports from witnesses, individuals and groups, occur all year round. However the ship appears most often from September to October before the northeast winds.

Believed to stand as a warning of storms. Remarkably, witness accounts of the ship are consistent with this.

Descriptions hundreds of years apart report it as a beautiful schooner with three or four masts of pure white sails. Saying the phantom crew climbs them attempting to escape their fate.

But skeptics don’t believe. Using the reason of illusion. Theories that the sightings are due to a bank of fog reflecting moonlight, or pollution in the water tricking onlookers into believing they’re seeing something.

Regardless, people keep seeing it over and over.

Attempts to Reach the Burning Boat

Attempts have been made to reach the ship. More frequently starting years ago when resident were less accustomed to seeing it.

A ferryboat captain’s report log said he sailed right through the flames. Nothing happened.

A group of rescuers in 1885 disappeared when attempted to assist the ghost ship.

Some sailors in 1900 spotted the ship in Charlottetown Harbour. Raced towards it in a small rowboat. Close enough to see the hulking ship over them Front row seats to watch it vanish.

Over the years witness reports say it’s vanished, sunk or gone up in flames.

Its Identity on the Northumberland Strait

So many theories surrounding the ship’s identity. But no one knows for sure.

Many coastal residents say it’s “The Isabella”. This lumber ship set sail in December 1868. Last seen by a light-keeper on Amet Island, and then never seen again.

Others say it’s an old Highland Scots immigrant ship. This one got lost along the Northumberland Strait while searching for new land.

There are two pirate ship theories. One stating she’s a pirate ship sunk near Merigomish by a British warship during the Napoleonic War. Or that two pirate ships got into a drunken brawl over ill-gotten booty. Both caught fire. Everyone died.

The ghost ship of the Northumberland Strait is a curious phenomenon. Reports spanning over 200 years yet still no one knows its true identity.

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