Lighthouses fascinate me anyway so finding a fantastic story about them always helps.
The Flannan Isles
December 15th, 1900 there was a steamer known as SS Archer that recognised the Lighthouse did not appear to be operational. It was reported in, alongside other residents noticing it too.
Three men were listed to be working there, James Ducat, Donald McArthur and Thomas Marhsall. Due to the bad weather it took the relief ship 12 days before it could venture out, noticing that the flags were not up and there were no signs of life the captain shot a warning flare. The relief keeper Joseph Moore then took a dinghy and went to shore, Dec 27th 1990.
The lighthouse was silent, the door open and the area perfectly calm. There was a half eaten meal (though this may be an added rumour, the original log suggests the utensils etc were clean and dinner was already eaten), the lamps were ready to be lit, there was an upturned chair alongside the table aside from that the clocks had stopped and the fire was cold. Of the residents there was no sign at all.
Moore then came back with four more people to do an investigation, Ducat and Marshall had apparently left kitted out but McArthur’s oilskins were still hanging on the hook. The west landing had been damaged with the weather and the life buoy was ripped from the mounting. The men were shouting out and all they got was their own voices, there was no response. They did however find the entries in the log that puzzled them.
Dec 12th: Gale north by northwest. Sea lashed to fury. Never seen such a storm. Waves very high. Tearing at lighthouse. Everything shipshape. James Ducat irritable. (Later): Storm still raging, wind steady. Stormbound. Cannot go out. Ship passing sounding foghorn. Could see lights of cabins. Ducat quiet. McArthur crying.
Dec 13th: Storm continued through night. Wind shifted west by north. Ducat quiet. McArthur praying. (Later:) Noon, grey daylight. Me, Ducat and McArthur prayed.
On December 14th there was no entry and on December 15th there was only this single last line: “Storm ended, sea calm, God is over all.”
The three men were experienced lighthouse attendants, Ducat had over 20 years on the job and this is why it strikes up as a mystery.
There’s a whole bunch of varying theories, the ones I am ignoring are about UFO abductions, it makes little sense to me. The ones that I liked are the ones that refer to the more paranormal aspects.
The Fairwin was another vessel in the area, their crew reported a ghostly longboat rowing away, when the horns were sounded to them, there was no reply.
Another rather interesting part is the mention of the Island the lighthouse was on may have already been reported as haunted. The Flannan Islands might well have the “phantoms of seven hunters” who resent the intrusion of the lighthouse, due to this they lured the men over the cliff to their death.
The lighthouse keepers had marked up conditions, had meals prepared and despite the foul weather would know that it would be unwise to go outside whatever the trouble they might have thought was there. Also why would they close doors behind them if they left in such a hurry.
For another 70 years there was no instance and nothing has been reported since the lighthouse was automated. Perhaps the three men did come across something they should not have but it also sounds like a fantastic story for the likes of horror writers, perhaps Lovecraft really was on to something with the Deep Ones after all! A quick net search will show you that this has been an influence on several mediums so they might be missing but on some strange level the three men may not necessarily be lost.