June 2021 Newsletter

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ~  Albert Einstein

Hello friends, I hope this email finds you well. Yesterday, we remembered our fellow Americans who risked their lives for our freedom.  Men and women who can look beyond themselves and sacrifice for the common good of others are heroes that deserve our honor.

I received the manuscript for Snake Oil back from my new editor, and she liked it. Whew-hoo! Of course, I have to make some changes, but nothing earth-shattering.  I also contracted with a graphic artist to illustrate the four covers for my upcoming WWII series about four sisters. I call it the Unity Project. I’m very excited to see what she will do for us.

I also decided to write a sequel to Snake Oil. After speaking to my editor, she and I brainstormed the next villain and a situation to spin-off from the first book.  Stay tuned they’ll be more details to come at a later date.

Last month I wrote that readers who love suspense long for uncertainty because it drives us to learn more. Well, this month’s mystery will do just that. On December 15, 1900, three lighthouse workers were reported missing from the Scottish Isle of Flannan and never found.

Internet sources say that the Atlantic steamer, called Archtor, sailed past the lighthouse on the isle and noticed its light was off. Three days later, the crew notified the Northern Lighthouse Board.

When the relief ship’s captain sent up a flare and sounded his horn for the lighthouse crew to meet him, no one came.  In the quarters, the board superintendent found dinner served, but the food remained untouched. The clock had stopped, and a chair had turned over. There were no signs of a struggle, and nothing else appeared out of place. The only signs of life came from the small bird still moving in the cage.

The superintendent also found that two of the three oilskins (a.k.a. rain slicker) were missing, and only one remained, which meant that someone left the quarters and ran outside in the storm without a proper covering.

After searching the island, the crew found evidence of a vast storm that moved a large boulder, broke the supply box, and bent the iron railings. The board’s superintendent concluded that the men had tried to secure a crane and drowned.

Yet, that story didn’t end there. Many people believed in medieval stories, i.e., a large bird lifted the men off the island, a mermaid lured them into the water, or a giant sea serpent ate them whole.

But the facts take a twist when the superintendent found the logbook containing three disturbing entries. The first entry, written by Thomas Marshall, states that an incredible storm hit the isle. The logbook also noted that the second crewman, James Ducat, sat unusually quiet, and the third crewman, William MacArthur (a stern and burly man), was weeping.

The second entry, written the next day, stated that they prayed through the storm. Then the last entry created the day of their disappearance, said the men all survived and the weather had calmed.

However, an investigative journalist found that the logbook entries never existed and speculated that someone had inserted the notations years later. Even so, the theories of the day drew the attention back to the actual men. MacArthur was an ill-tempered man who used his fists to settle arguments, and that sent the three men into the sea. The next theory states that MacArthur killed the other two men, and while ditching the bodies, he also fell over and died. And, another theory argues that one of the men had an issue with debt and killed himself and the others. But those theories remain speculative due to the lack of evidence.

Whether it is a large storm, a wicked mermaid, or the actions of an angry man, the mystery of Flannan Isle remains one of the most curious tragedies in Scottish maritime history.

Well, that’s it for now.

Harper