THE PHANTHOM OF THE "BAIE DES CHALEURS"
Many stories have been told by young and old about this "Phanthom ship" of the Baie des Chaleurs. The burning ship if you were unlucky enough to see it, was to bring you bad luck
Wether you beleive in ghosts or not this tale is an interesting one and one that may make a beleiver out of you once read.
In 1875, and again 5 years later, a wall of fire or what was then called a "fire storm" was spotted off the shores of Grand Anse NB, (just below Bathurst) it burnt on the waters for over 2 hours. It was also seen by thousands of people in nearby Caraquet
In 1887 it is said to have been spotted again, by a sea captain, a burning ship, but with no men this time..
I beleive it was in 1919 or 20 that it was seen again near Grand Anse and the next morning some fishing boats off Miscou Island were caught in a storm and many who were from Caraquet lost their lives.
In 1924, a large Schooner was seen on the Baie des Chaleurs in daylight, it was floating among some ice and seemed to be sending distress signals. A few phone calls were made, some local ships went out trying to help but with the heavy ice couldnt get out to her, and the ice is suppose to have carried it out of the Bay. No one ever could find records of a ship that was suppose to be in this area and none was expected. Could it have been the Phanthom ?
In 1838 a ship called "Lady Colbourne" was wrecked off the Gaspe coast shores and many blame her for the sitings of the Phanthom.
Winds carried the wreck across the bay to New Brunswick along with its cargo and debris. Some of the cargo was recovered but a lot of the gold and wine never made it to its destination. It is said there was a huge cargo of gold which was destined to pay for salaries of British troops in Quebec. Could the Chaleur Phanthom be the ghost of the "Lady Coulbourne" ?? Other tales tell of a pirate ship which had taken an indian maiden prisonner and she cast a spell on it. It would have later burned in the Bay and those who have seen the burning "Phanthom" on the river or bay, swear they saw people on this ship, some jumping off the ship, others screaming loudly
Some men of Jacquet River are to have seen this burning ship on the water, with men runing all over the deck and a woman in the front with extended arms
It was spotted, by a group of people, off Petit Rocher and again just downriver from Bathurst. On both occasions, it was a burning ship with sailors and women on deck going about their business.
One ship captain reports having seen the burning ship with men with blue uniforms on it
Myth or not, this Phanthom has sure made for good reading , it has been written about in many NB books, I've heard the stories again and again since I was a child and still hear of it today although not too many sightings have been reported lately. Is it that the Phanthom has finally been laid to rest ? Is it that people today are afraid to report such sightings for fear or being locked up :) ? But one thing is for sure the sightings past have almost always been when many people were gathered and it was seldom sighted by a person alone. So on you next trip to the Baie des Chaleurs, keep an eye out, specially after dark over the Bay for anything that looks like our "Phanthom" and if you should be unlucky enough to see it, let us know :)
Here is a Poem about the Phanthom Ship,|
written by Bart Firth who is kindly letting me use it on the site.
The Phanthom Ship of the Baie Des Chaleurs|
You will never get close
Now me and my friends
Well we found an old boat
Then up came a gale