THE EILEAN MOR MYSTERY
By Eduard Joseph
Published by Eduard Joseph
Copyright 2017 Eduard Joseph
Front cover design by Eduard Joseph
This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are
not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. Any resemblance to any person or
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
The right of Eduard Joseph to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him under the South African Copyright Act of 1978 (as amended).
Some time during December 1900, the three lighthouse keepers of Eilean Mor, Flannen Isles disappeared without a trace. When the relief keeper, Joseph Moore arrived on the island on 26 December 1900, he immediately knew something was wrong when none of the keepers were there to welcome him on the island landing.
Moore discovered that the lighthouse door was open, the beds were unmade and the three keepers, James Ducat, Thomas Marshall and William McArthur, were all missing – leaving behind their oilskin coats. A single plate of half-eaten food was still on the kitchen table with an overturned chair as if somebody got up in a hurry while having dinner.
After reading the lighthouse logbook, Moore discovered that – despite no storms being reported in the area – the logbook indicated that a turbulent storm struck the island on 12 December 1900 and that the keepers were praying for the storm to subside. Entries showed that the storm subsided and whatever happened to the keepers, happened after the storm.
Moore informed the mainland and an extensive search was conducted for the three men, but nothing was found – not even bodies.
Moore gave his statement and handed over the logbook for further investigation, but what he didn’t disclose was that he had discovered the personal diary of Thomas Marshall which he had kept to himself; hoping to solve the mystery of the Eilean Mor disappearances.
10 DECEMBER 1900
The lighthouse had always been cold in December, but it’s been particularly cold up until now as if God had forsaken this island for some reason without informing us. While on break, I took a stroll around the island like normal and noted that the air outside was not as cold as it was inside the lighthouse – something I found odd since the fireplace usually warmed up our living quarters.
Being stranded on an island with only Ducat and McArthur for company can take its toll on the mind as there is only so much to talk about. The crisp air outside refreshed my mind; allowing new conversation ideas to be born for the evening that followed.
Standing on the island landing, staring up at the lighthouse on the highest peak of the island was always an intimidating sight to behold, but as I stood there this afternoon I couldn’t help but feel suffocated by the presence of the lighthouse – an unseen presence that embraced me from behind and suffocated me with both hands around my neck.
The walk back up to the lighthouse somehow felt foreboding and I willed my legs to continue though my mind wanted me to turn around and run. It was a strange feeling – a feeling that I’ve never had before and as I got up close to the lighthouse, I felt like a child standing before an adult with a whipping cane in his hand.
The light circled and circled again as the sun set in the distance and I feared it might be the last time we ever saw the light of day.
McArthur made chicken stew for dinner based on a family recipe he vowed to take to his grave and despite my constant compliments and pleading, he never shared the recipe with me – not that I can cook. I tried making dinner once and we all decided it was in our best interest that I don’t make dinner again.
After dinner, Ducat and McArthur each settled down with a book and I came to write in my journal. My therapist said it would help to write down my thoughts, so that’s what I do every night. It keeps me from going mad in this utter silence that usually befell the island at night and in the silence it’s not easy to miss a call for help, but Ducat and McArthur both swear they didn’t hear the cries for help that echoed through the night.
Ducat and I both took a lantern and searched the island, but found nothing. As I sit here writing, I swear to God that the voice sounded familiar – if only I could place it.
11 DECEMBER 1900
I couldn’t sleep last night. That voice calling for helped was still ringing in my mind when I got up this morning, so after breakfast I set out on my own to search the area near the lighthouse. As expected, I found nothing but the stairs, its railings and the watery cliffs sharpened by years of abuse by restless waves.
When I took the empty crates down to the island landing, I noticed that the seagulls acted particularly odd this morning. Normally while the crates stood on the landing awaiting new supplies, the seagulls would swoop down like vultures to see if there was anything worth taking in the crates. This morning, they kept circling above my head looking almost afraid to land. It wasn’t my presence that spooked them as they kept up their odd behavior as I walked back to the lighthouse.
Ducat was logging when I got back to the lighthouse as was his duty as the Principal Keeper, but he wrote half frantic and seemed oblivious of my presence when I entered. McArthur said Ducat was preoccupied with something he saw on the horizon.
Though I stood on the watch-room balcony for several minutes staring at the horizon, I saw nothing concerning or out of the ordinary.
I went back down to the island landing to pick up the crates of new supplies only to be met by the still circling seagulls and empty crates. The supply boat never showed up – unusual in itself as we always received new supplies on Wednesdays.
A seagull fell at my feet with its neck broken as if it flew into something. Its legs still twitched as the rest of the seagulls flew away and out of sight.
The walk back to the lighthouse felt never-ending long and as I reached the door to our living quarters, I spotted a blackness over the horizon where the sunset should be. I must have stood there staring at the approaching darkness for a good while as I don’t recall seeing the sun set. Ducat was as white as a sheet as he stood next to me.
The only words he spoke to me were, “it has arrived.”
12 DECEMBER 1900
A storm has been raging since late last night – battering the lighthouse and living quarters like rocks. I’m not quite sure what time it is as the clock in the kitchen seems to have stopped at 2 AM… that was about seven hours ago – give or take a couple of minutes.
The sky is thick with dark clouds which the sun can’t seem to penetrate today. The sun isn’t the only thing we haven’t seen today. Ducat went to the watch-room when the storm hit and he hasn’t come down since. I checked up on him, but he said he needed to be alone – stating that the darkness was calling to him.
I tried to radio the mainland, but got only static – something that isn’t uncommon for a storm, but the static sounded almost like a thousand whispers washing over each other to form an inaudible message of doom.
It’s been hours since the sunrise that never came and I found myself praying to a God I didn’t believe in to bring an end to the relentless storm that was visibly moving the island deeper out to sea. McArthur was crying at the kitchen table and seemed oblivious of anything around him – even ignoring me when I laid a hand on his shoulder. He felt cold and wet though he was clearly dry.
The crying stopped abruptly as I made myself a cup of coffee and then I was alone. McArthur was gone. I searched the living quarters, but found no trace of him and I put on an oilskin coat against my better judgment.
One can easily get lost in a storm, but getting lost in a storm on an island this small is unheard of. The moment I stepped out into the storm looking for McArthur, I knew I made a mistake. I swear I only took two or three steps out into the pounding storm, but when I turned around to go back inside, the lighthouse was hundreds of feet away – its light battling to be seen in the choking hold of the storm.
I still can’t explain it even if I tried, but with every hurried step I took towards the lighthouse, it seemed to get farther and farther away from me until it eventually surrendered to the darkness of the storm. At one point I nearly stumbled and fell over the side of the island to a rocky death, but it was only by God’s grace that I didn’t. Why was He protecting me when I had such a hard time believing in Him?
I must have walked two or three miles in a straight line without ever reaching the lighthouse, rocky shoreline or the island landing and after hours of battling to walk upright in the ferocious storm, I heard the calls for help again somewhere in the windy darkness that consumed everything around me. Though I called out several times, the person in need never responded directly to my calls; instead they kept on calling for help until their voice dissipated into the howling wind.
I found myself circling around myself in search of the person in distress only to find myself standing on the doorstep of the lighthouse and screams of a different nature echoing around me. Ducat was leaning over the railings of the watch-room balcony – screaming in anger words that could only be heard by the storm.
I rushed up the spiral stairs of the tower and as I pushed open the balcony door of the watch-room, I realized Ducat was screaming the Lord’s Prayer into the menacing storm as if making a final stand against an unseen enemy. He was nearly halfway through the Lord’s Prayer when gargantuan tentacles descended from the darkness and snatched him up.
Immediately after his disappearance, the storm started dying down as if it had its fill of flesh.
13 DECEMBER 1900
McArthur didn’t return and I barricaded myself in the living quarters after the events of last night. It was too bizarre to be a dream and too surreal to be true. Storms and clouds don’t just simply swallow grown men. There is nothing in the history books that suggest that this is even a possibility and yet I witnessed something otherworldly happen last night.
With both Ducat and McArthur now missing, it is up to me to keep the lighthouse lit and the logbook up to date, but I couldn’t possibly log the events of last night when I hardly comprehend what I witnessed.
With the clock broken it’s hard to tell what time of day it is, but despite it still being dark outside I can’t help but feel that it’s already eleven in the morning. Something dark – something evil – has gotten a firm grip on this island and not even time seems to be able to get away. A voice at the back of my mind keeps telling me that nobody was coming to my rescue.
The sun eventually came up, but appeared to be drained of power; barely illuminating brighter than the moon and I set out once again to search for McArthur. There was no trace of him and even more bizarre was the lack of evidence that a storm of such magnitude had struck the island the night before. There was no debris, no unearthed trees… everything seemed peaceful and as it should.
The rocky shoreline to the north of the island seemed to surrender to nothing – the ocean was as black as night and appeared to be empty of all substance. Could it be that the storm was intense enough to displace the entire ocean or am I going crazy? The rocky shoreline to the south looked the same and when I dropped the lantern over the edge of the island landing, it kept falling into the abyss where the ocean once was until the light disappeared from sight.
McArthur was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of soup when I returned to lighthouse. Dazed and confused, he apparently had no recollection of what happened the night before or where he went. His hair had turned grey overnight and his skin appeared almost transparent and fragile as he stared down at his soup without saying another word for the rest of the day.
After watching him in silence for a couple of hours, he finally got up and walked to the door; saying that the Ancient One was calling to him like a siren to a sailor. He gave me a vacant look before stepping out and though I ran out a few seconds after him, he was gone.
The twilit day surrendered to the darkness of a silent night – completely lacking the soothing sounds of a cricket choir that normally lulled me to sleep. I’ not sure of the exact time, but I guess it to have been about midnight when I was woken up by the mumblings of McArthur who sat in the kitchen; tearing out pages from the logbook and replacing my accurate accounts of the events thus far with logs of his own.
He kept mumbling, “the world can never know the truth.”
When I tried to take the logbook from him, he gave me a demented animalistic look of fury as he clutched the book against his chest and retreated to the corner; scribbling on as he mumbled the same sentence over and over again. Whatever was happening to the island had its claws wrenched deep inside McArthur’s mind – making him a dangerous person to be around.
I went into the sleeping quarters and locked the door, but I didn’t feel safe enough to fall asleep. Instead I spent the rest of the night sitting on my bed; staring at the door in dreaded anticipation for when a deranged McArthur might break it down.
Once again, sunrise never came.
14 (?) DECEMBER 1900
As I sit here writing this journal entry I fear that the sand in my hourglass is running out fast. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since it all began and the fatigue has started to take its toll on my mind, body and soul. It’s hard to tell exactly when the days start as I haven’t seen the sun in what feels like an eternity. From the small window of the room I’m unable to see the sun, clouds or any birdlife which makes me fear that I, along with the entire island, have fallen into the chasm that is the entrance to hell.
McArthur kept me alert most of the night with what can only be described as a huffing snarl and scratching at the door – sounds I’ve never encountered coming from a human before. At some point during the night it sounded like two animals were fighting inside the kitchen, followed by the door slamming shut… and then utter silence.
It may be futile, but I think I should attempt an escape from the dark hell I am in. The keys to the boathouse was still hanging on its hook the last time I looked.
? DECEMBER 1900
I fear I may have lost my sanity in the continual darkness that has engulfed the island. My journal is the only thing keeping me sane and probably the only accurate account of whatever is happening. McArthur and the logbook is gone – and so are my log entries that he ripped out. I will keep my journal hidden away underneath my matrass as I fear it will be the only evidence should I too be jerked into the night like Ducat or loose my mind like McArthur.
DECEMBER 1900 / JANUARY 1901 (?)
I ran out of supplies a while ago and set out into the dark world outside the living quarters in search of a seagull to fill my belly. I heard the calls for help again – sounding as desperate as the first time I heard them, but I know now that it’s just the darkness trying to reel me in like an angler-fish reeling in prey.
There seems to be no life on this island anymore. Just darkness that looks more and more like dark silhouettes of people standing motionlessly. I think I saw Ducat and McArthur amongst the dark figures that simply watched me from the other side of the darkness; calling to me to join them and the Ancient Ones in a darkness that would eventually consume everything I know and everyone I loved.
The last bit of sanity I have left told me to run back inside and barricade myself. Black fog crawled in underneath the door by candlelight and looked like fingers clawing at the floor. I blocked the crack with the rug, but I know it will only be a matter of time before they would find a way in.
I’ve completely lost track of time. Is it day? Is it night? Has Christmas come and gone? Who can tell? I think I should start my own calendar for record keeping purposes. I’ve lit three candles since I barricaded myself in the living quarters so it should probably be about two days since. Two days of voices calling out to me like sirens. Two days of clawing at the door that seemed to grow weaker and weaker. Two days of praying to God.
They say prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, but you know what I think? I think religion is. They make money off people’s suffering and desperate people will pay anything for a glimmer of hope.
I’d give everything I have for a chance to get out of here alive. If there is a God I’d do anything for him to save me from this eternal darkness that has descended upon the island.
The hunger is getting the best of me and made me risk certain death by venturing outside when all was quiet. The rest of the island is gone. There is nothing out there. It is just me now – me and the lighthouse that is still erect on a small patch of island that is drifting through the black emptiness. I’m not sure how much longer I can go on like this.
This will probably be my last entry. When the voices call to me again, I might just as well give into the darkness.
Joseph Moore never revealed the diary or any of its contents to the police. Instead, he went back to Eilean Mor under the cover of night to try and solve the mystery of the three missing lighthouse keepers. The radical contents of the journal never matched up with any of the physical evidence left at the lighthouse and Moore realized that their disappearance would remain a mystery forever.
He decided to send the journal to his cousin, Howard, in Providence, Rhode Island in the summer of 1905. Howard was an amateur science fiction writer whose writings were considered too bizarre to market and Moore hoped that Howard could either make sense of the journal or use it as inspiration for his next story.
I’ve stumbled upon the most intriguing journal that chronicles a string of bizarre events that reminded me so much of the tales you used to tell when our family came to visit. The mystery surrounding the events of Eilean Mor shall forever remain a mystery, but the strange events leading up to the disappearances could perhaps help you with your latest short story.
If I may suggest something else, dear cousin… Your name might be considered too long by publishing houses. Instead of writing as Howard Phillip Lovecraft, why not simply bill yourself as H.P. Lovecraft?
SIMILAR STORIES BY THIS AUTHOR:
[HOTEL HORROR STORY
**]In September of 1985, the Odendale Hotel in the small town of Haysville was closed down for good by the authorities after numerous complaints from the town’s residents. The hotel, which was situated about a mile outside of town, was advertised per highway billboards as ‘your home away from home’, but residents and guests of the hotel had a different opinion.
Some of the residents of Haysville noticed strange happenings in town during the construction of the hotel and there were even rumours that the hotel was not built on ancient burial grounds like in horror movies, but that the hotel might have been some kind of doorway built by the developers – targeting Haysville specifically for the fact that they were a small town in the middle of nowhere.
THE TOWN THAT DISAPPEARED[++
++]In August of 1952, the entire town of Ashley disappeared along with its residents. There were no witnesses, no clues and no evidence… until now.
BOTH STORIES CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM Shakespir FOR FREE