The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that made headlines after sinking in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 8, 1958, she was the largest boat on North America’s Great Lakes, and she remains the largest boat to have sunk there. Nicknamed the “Mighty Fitz”, “Fitz”, or “Big Fitz”, the ship suffered a series of mishaps during her launch: it took three attempts to break the champagne bottle used to christen her, and she collided with a pier when she entered the water.
For seventeen years the Fitzgerald carried taconite iron ore from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works in Detroit, Toledo, and other Great Lakes ports. As a “workhorse” she set seasonal haul records six times, often beating her own previous record. Her size, record-breaking performance, and “DJ captain” endeared the Fitzgerald to boat watchers. Captain Peter Pulcer was known for piping music day or night over the ship’s intercom system while passing through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers (between Lakes Huron and Erie), and entertaining spectators at the Soo Locks (between Lakes Superior and Huron) with a running commentary about the Fitzgerald.
Carrying a full cargo of taconite ore pellets with Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command, the Edmund Fitzgerald embarked on her final voyage from Superior, Wisconsin (near Duluth), on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Michigan, she joined a second freighter, the SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day the two ships were caught in the midst of a massive winter storm on Lake Superior, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m. the Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian waters 530 feet (160 m) deep, approximately 17 miles (15 nautical miles; 27 kilometers) from the entrance to Whitefish Bay near the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Although the Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank. Her crew of 29 all perished, and no bodies were recovered.
Many theories, books, studies and expeditions have examined the cause of the sinking. The Fitzgerald may have fallen victim to the high waves of the storm, suffered structural failure, been swamped with water entering through her cargo hatches or deck, experienced topside damage, or shoaled in a shallow part of Lake Superior. The sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald is one of the best-known disasters in the history of Great Lakes shipping. Gordon Lightfoot made it the subject of his 1976 hit song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”.
Investigations into the sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard, and more frequent inspection of vessels.
Name: SS Edmund Fitzgerald
Owner: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
Operator: Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company of Cleveland, Ohio
Port of registry: United States, Ordered: February 1, 1957
Builder: Great Lakes Engineering Works of River Rouge, Michigan, Yard number: 301
Laid Down: August 7, 1957, Launched: June 7, 1958, Christened: June 7, 1958
Maiden voyage: September 24, 1958, Identification: Registry number US 277437
Nickname: “Fitz”, “Mighty Fitz”, “Big Fitz”, “Pride of the American Flag”, “Toledo Express”, “Titanic of the Great Lakes”
Fate: Lost in a storm on November 10, 1975, with all 29 crewmembers
Notes: Location: 46°59.91′N 85°06.61′W
Type: Lake Freighter
Tonnage: 13,632 GRT 8,713 NRT (from 1969: 8,686 NRT) 26,000 DWT
Length: 729 ft (222 m) overall 711 ft (217 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 75 ft (23 m), Draft: 25 ft (7.6 m) typical, Depth: 39 ft (12 m) (moulded)
Depth of hold: 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
Coal fired Westinghouse Electric Corporation steam turbine @ 7,500 shp (5,600 kW)
After refit: Conversion to oil fuel and the fitting of automated boiler controls over the winter of 1971–72.
Carried 72,000 U.S. gal (270,000 L; 60,000 imp gal) fuel oil
Propulsion: One 19.5 ft (5.9 m) diameter propeller, Speed: 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph) Crew: 29
In our previous investigations we have only slightly touched upon one of the most famous Michigan shipwrecks that occurred just of the coast of Whitefish Point the Edmund Fitzgerald. This time we have shifted a bit more focus to the wreck. Here is a list of the 29 brave men lost their lives on November 10, 1975. Their names, ages, occupations, and hometowns are listed below.
Name Age Occupation On Board Hometown
Michael E. Armagost 37 Third Mate Iron River, Wisconsin
Frederick J. Beetcher 56 Porter Superior, Wisconsin
Thomas D. Bentsen 23 Oiler St. Joseph, Michigan
Edward F. Bindon 47 First Assistant Engineer Fairport Harbor, Ohio
Thomas D. Borgeson 41 Maintenance Man Duluth, Minnesota
Oliver J. Champeau 41 Third Assistant Engineer Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Nolan S. Church 55 Porter Silver Bay, Minnesota
Ransom E. Cundy 53 Watchman Superior, Wisconsin
Thomas E. Edwards 50 Second Assistant Engineer Oregon, Ohio
Russell G. Haskell 40 Second Assistant Engineer Millbury, Ohio
George J. Holl 60 Chief Engineer Cabot, Pennsylvania
Bruce L. Hudson 22 Deck Hand North Olmsted Ohio
Allen G. Kalmon 43 Second Cook Washburn, Wisconsin
Gordon F. MacLellan 30 Wiper Clearwater, Florida
Joseph W. Mazes 59 Special Maintenance Man Ashland, Wisconsin
John H. McCarthy 62 First Mate Bay Village, Ohio
Ernest M. McSorley 63 Captain Toledo, Ohio
Eugene W. O’Brien 50 Wheelsman Toledo, Ohio
Karl A. Peckol 20 Watchman Ashtabula, Ohio
Date: September 21 and 22, 2012
Weather: 46F and rainy
#1-Ryan, Kellie, Holly, John (guide)- Fog House/work shop
Many K2 hits and could not find natural source. The hits seemed rhythmic which would be likely a natural source. We put 2 K2 meters next to each other and they spiked at same time every time. Also, Tri-field and Gauss meter had some spikes. All these devices were maxed out at least once during the teams’ time in the Fog House. They could not really tie the spikes of EMF to any specific questions. There was also several times where they experienced roaming EMF fluctuations. Ryan explained the EMF spikes could be sonar waves that are being sent out to passing freighters coming through channel. This could be the reason for the EMF spikes. The team attempted a flashlight session as well but didn’t really have any consistency in answers.
John felt a cold sensation going up his right side during the session; also John had cold sensation on his back. Bert saw many orbs and shadows during our session. The team heard many footsteps downstairs and around us.
There were several instances where the Ovilus said words that may have said words that were just too fitting for the investigation. We have including them all and bolded the important words.
These, Steel, PM, Wall, Cancer, Grain, Cute, Dune, Roll, Four, Chimp, Share, Store, Lemon, Want, Rates, Why, Tear, Cancer, Halt, Tear, Subject, Blood, Lock ,Normal ,Jacket, Pointe, Held, Subject, Saint, Lock, Lemon, Father, Repeated, Tube, Nose, Feel, Grandfather, With, Fear, Ron, Fruit, Elias, Wisdom, Thus, Similar, Dock, Do Not
Team 2 11:00- 12:00am Museum
At 11:20pm Holly and John from maintenance joined team 2 in the museum.
As Bert was doing roll call from the Edmond Fitzgerald crew a flashlight lit when he called the name “John McCarthy”. That was the only time during roll that the light came on John seen dark shadows moving in the rear of the museum.
Ovilus Words Spoken
Blood, Yield, Lemon, Just, Coffee, Lemon, Then, Abyss, Barn, Alien, With, Valley, Wisdom, Meat, Yield, Special, Lock, Copy
Team 1 Ryan, Kellie, Holly, Bert, John (guide)
Team 2 John, Sue and Rob
Team 2 9:40-10:50 Fog House
During the session Susan, John and Rob asked a series of questions pertaining to the Coast Guard gentleman that hung himself off the ladder in the Fog house. The team used 2 flashlights while in the building 1 on the workbench and 1 on the ladder near the rung he died on. John asked the spirit to give them a sign of its presence by lighting the K2 meter near the top of the ladder or knock the ball off the ladder near the K2 meter. Within 15 seconds after John saying that the K2 meter fell from the ladder to the ground. The team asked the spirit to show us a sign if he wanted to be released from being grounded to the Fog Building they asked him to communicate with them by flashing a series of flashes on the Flash lights, which the spirit did as they had asked. It was decided that John would pass the spirit over so he could be reunited with friends and loved ones and be able to return to Whitefish Pointe at his will but not be grounded as he has since his death. For over 20 minutes John communicated with the spirit advising him how to pass on until the spirit finally responded signaling with a series of flashlight responses that he had passed over, at that time the Ovilus said 2 words “Home and Belong” confirming to the team he completed his journey. This was a very emotional investigation for John, Susan and Rob as the felt the presence of the young Coast Guard man that hung himself in the Fog House Building.
Ovilus Words Spoken
Roster, Mean, Device, Just, Home, Halt, Sadness, Roll, Wench, Wall, Throw, Randy, Tube, Alcohol, Trust, Put ,Lake, Similar, Nancy, Died, Subject, Choke, Rope, Abyss, Were, Home, Gather, Block, Do Not ,Jacket ,Brother, Found, Dead, War, Choke, Study, Dead, Embark, Legion, Lamp, Hello, Since, Second, Censures, Mirror, Nerd, Ground, Debra, Brown, Ticket, Without, Fist, Trace, Opposite, Coin, Ticket, Nerd, Malice, Warp, Mark, Died, Happened, Anna, Copy, Pappy, Paralyzed, Towards, When, Increase, Language, Quarantine, Kate, Shepard, Close, Helpful, Actually, Censures, Single, First, Close, Cannot, Astral, Frank, Single,
Section, Ground, Order, Themselves, Align, Long, Police, First, Death, Length, Mammoth ,Censures, Coast, Police, Home, Belong
Team 1 -Ryan, Kellie, Holly, Bert, John (guide)-Light house keepers house
The team experienced a few spikes on K2, Gauss, & Tri-field meters and could not find a source. Bert conducted his P.O.P method of investigating (participate, observe and perform to read more about this technique please check out this website periodresonance.com) up in the room where the little girls’ spirit is reported to visit.
Then the team moved throughout the building with guide John at the helm. He took team into basement where many antiques where stored, where the team attempted an EVP session.
11:15-12:30 am Investigators: John, Rob, Bert, John
Both Bert and John seen many shadows and heard many footsteps while John played The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald song on an audio recorder. At this time orbs were seen by both Bert and John also Bert’s camera would not take pictures during the investigation of the Boathouse. Bert has never had problems with his camera before. John later played an excerpt from Capt. Cooper from the “Anderson” the ship that went out to look for the “Fitzgerald.” The team was stationed in each corner of the boathouse and more dark shadows could be seen and footsteps could be heard walking between them. John played a recorded news broadcast from when the Fitzgerald sank more. Afterwards John played the instrumental music to “Titanic” and more footsteps are heard and more dark shadows could be seen moving throughout the building. At Midnight Bert left the Boathouse to return to the Crews Quarters for the night. Rob, John and John remained in the Boathouse trying to communicate with the spirits. John decided to try the Ovilus and believes he made contact with a spirit from the Fitzgerald that wanted to pass over and not be grounded to the property any longer. John attempted making contact with the spirit and believes the spirit is now free to come and go as he pleases. They received K2 meter responses to many questions that were asked during the remainder of the session. As John finished passing over the spirit in the Boathouse the Ovilus responded with the words “Crowd, Suddenly” letting us feel he completed his journey and was reunited with his Family and Friends.
Ask, Choke, Dock, Tune, Barry, Boat, Note, Shepard, Spectacular, Language, Towards, Shepard, Cry, First, Woman, Crowd, Suddenly
Audio Evidence Obtained During Paranormal Investigation:
“Breathy voice” EVP Class C : As John is talking about his nephew that is the Captain of the Freighter “Alpeana ” a ship that sails the Great Lakes past Whitefish Pointe a breathy voice can be heard of John at about 7 seconds
We caught many breaths and footsteps and noises on recorder as well.
This was our 5th trip to Whitefish Point. While we had some experiences, this year was by far the quietest in personal experiences and evidence. Like they say, you can force paranormal activity.
We would like to thank Bert for coming up with us, great guy and a hell of an investigator. We would also like to thank Rob and John both staff members of the museum.