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.
The "Lady Coulbourne" was out of England and carried gold, spices, wine, silver carried little over 50 people and there were very few survivors (7 only). It carried people such as James Elliot Hudson (he survived along with the eldest daughter), Lady Hudson (her body was washed up on the shores of Caraquet) and their 11 children, W.M.Walker, Joseph Jones Ackinson (Acteson) (also a survivor) and many others .

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.
Thanks Bart

The Phanthom Ship of the Baie Des Chaleurs

You will never get close
To the ship that's a ghost
That sails on the Baie des Chaleur
You may see her at night
Or catch a glimpse by daylight
But you will never get close to the phantom

Now me and my friends
We were out on a bend
Twas the night of our graduation
We were down on the beach
As drunk as a leech
There was a full moon on the horizon
When out of nowhere
A ship did appear
As crimson as the hereafter
With Masts torched high
And a siren of cries
There were men jumping into the water

Well we found an old boat
And put her afloat
To try and save some of the sailors
But I will be skunked
Even though we were drunk
There was no way to get close to this phantom

Then up came a gale
and I remembered a tale
My grandfather had told before me
He said," You'll never get close
To the Ship that's a ghost
That sails on the Baie Des Chaleur "

This page was designed by Irene Doyle December 1997 - Last Updated March 2002