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Attribution: busand2003

History and Paranormal Activity

This phenomena is most often seen on the bay just before the weather turns bad.

There are 3 versions as to the origin of this haunting:


In the early 16th century, a Portuguese Captain returned to Heron Island to capture slaves from the indigenous peoples. Fortunately, they remembered him and attacked his ship when he tried to make harbour.  The Captain was captured and tortured to death by the native population.

A year later another Captain – said to be the brother of the first – arrived and attempted to land. The island’s population set his boat a flame and it floated back into the bay where the sailors jumped ship swearing to haunt the bay for 1,000 years.

Apparently, the victims of the fire washed up on shore and were buried in French Woods on the island’s west side.

The Pettigrew family who lived on the island in the 19th century reported the ghost of the burning ship many times; it is said to be most often seen on the nights of full moon from the island’s north shore.

Mrs Pettigrew actually had a burned sailor come to their farmhouse and ask for help for his terrible burns. When she returned to help the man, she realized he was a ghost when she saw he was legless but still walking.


Sailors aboard a ship fleeing a storm blamed one of their own on their bad luck with the weather. They murdered him and tossed the body overboard. Sometime later the ship caught afire and burned to the keel. This was said to be the sailor’s Catholic blood taking revenge.


A woman captured by pirates was raped and killed. With her dying breath she cursed the pirates, “for as long as the world is, may you burn on the bay”.

Now, sailors do tend to be a superstitious lot so the second story is plausible. Not too many pirates operated in waters so far north but its not impossible just implausible for the third story.

The first story was handed down verbally by the indigenous island population so is considered at least somewhat historically accurate.

Of course, the non-believers say its just St Elmo’s fire, undersea gas or rotting vegetation.