The Flannan Isles have always been viewed with much suspicion and, while inhabitants of other islands brought sheep the twenty miles to the Flannan Isles to graze, they would never spend a night there. The lighthouse keepers, as the only permanent residents, did not have much of a choice.
In December 1900, the lighthouse keepers all vanished without a trace. When the lighthouse was searched, there seemed to be no clue as to what had happened, aside from a log book containing entries leading up to whatever caused the men to disappear.
December 12. Gale north by northwest. Sea lashed to fury. Never seen such a storm. Waves very high. Tearing at lighthouse. Everything shipshape. James Ducat irritable.
December 12. Storm still raging, wind steady. Stormbound. Cannot go out. Ship passing sounding foghorn. Could see lights of cabins. Ducat quiet. Donald McArthur crying.
December 13. Storm continued through night. Wind shifted west by north. Ducat quiet. McArthur praying.
December 13. Noon, grey daylight. Me, Ducat and McArthur prayed.
And the final entry:
December 15. 1pm. Storm ended, sea calm. God is over all.
While disturbing enough on their own, the logs also added an extra dimension to the mystery. People who had known the men insisted that they were acting completely out of character: Ducat was a good-natured man who was rarely in a bad mood, McArthur was a tough and experienced seaman for whom crying would be an embarrassment, and none of the men were said to be prone to prayer or deep religious beliefs. None of the men would have been strangers to storms, even ferocious ones like the one described. Whatever happened on that island that reduced these experienced men to terrified wrecks has never been discovered.