Siobhan Gallagher

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The Siobhan Gallagher is a semi-legendary "lost ship" of America's Great Lakes. She was a 103-foot, 282-ton brigantine built in 1861. Her original name was the Naiad but she suffered a series of accidents and mishaps until she was at last purchased by a crew led by one Captain Duncan Gallagher in 1870. The crew included two of Duncan's brothers and his life-long friend James Fort. Fort was in love with the youngest Gallagher sibling, a then-sixteen-year-old sister named Siobhan for whom the ship was re-named. Three years later, the couple were engaged.

In October 1874, the Siobhan Gallagher was on Lake Superior when a storm came up. The ship, en route to Thunder Bay, Ontario, never made it and no sign of the ship or its crew was ever found. Given that the wedding of Siobhan and James was weeks away, this made the tragedy all the greater. This fact was made much of in newspapers of the day. Within two years, Siobhan herself disappeared. Circumstantial evidence suggests that, severely depressed, she drowned herself in the Lake.

No attempt to discover the wreck has been successful.

Such are the facts.

Rumors persist, however, of sailors and others sighting the brigantine still making way across Lake Superior. Usually, reports say the ship is silent and sometimes empty. Others maintain that the crew, sometimes described as old men, cry out for help. Some claim to have heard a woman's singing from the "ghost ship." It is assumed the woman singing is Siobhan Gallagher herself, somehow having managed to join her family and lover in some kind of limbo or damnation aboard the ship.

Legends maitain a variety of theories as to what might have happened to the ship. Up until the 1920s the stories were generally of some kind of cursed artefact the unwary sailors had purchased or won gambling or perhaps simply found. Between 1925 and 1950 the stories began to assume that something in the lake itself was responsible for the ship's fate. Mermaids and sea monsters eventually gave way to an oft-repeated tale of a man--sometimes a thief, sometimes a traitor or killer of his own children--who was cursed to row across the Lake, and that the crew of the Siobhan Gallagher picked him up, thus coming to share his curse. Since the 1950s, increasing numbers of stories involving Extraterrestrial abduction began to appear.

The fate of the Siobhan Gallagher has figured in over a dozen stage and radio plays, at least three motion pictures and literally dozens of songs at least. Its name has become synonymous with "An unsolved mystery which invites wild speculation."

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