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Dead Body Remains in Shipwreck


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#1    Scary For Kids

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 05:00 PM

I came across an interesting story recently that circulates among diving enthusiasts. It involves a ship called The SS Kamloops that sank in 1927 off Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Some mystery surrounds the sinking of the ship. It was thought that there were no survivors, but six months later bodies were found on a nearby island. Apparently, survivors had starved to death waiting for rescue even though nobody was looking for them.

Divers say they hear stories from fellow divers about a body that is still trapped in the engine room of the wreck. The story goes that in a fresh water lake, at that depth, there are no fish to eat the remains and the temperature is so low all year round, that a body won't decompose. Also, it is too dangerous to recover a body trapped that far down. So the unfortunate crewman, nicknamed "Whitey" or "Grandpa" by locals, just floats there in the engine room, perfectly preserved.

Divers who have been down to the wreck have reported strange encounters such as being followed by the body or being surprised suddenly by the body floating towards them. They say the body is ghostly white and still has it's wedding ring on it's finger.

Seems odd to me that a body from 1927 would still be intact. Has anyone else heard about this legend? Can't find much info on it and it seems like it might just be an urban legend.


#2    glorybebe

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 05:15 PM

Scary For Kids on Feb 6 2008, 09:00 AM, said:

I came across an interesting story recently that circulates among diving enthusiasts. It involves a ship called The SS Kamloops that sank in 1927 off Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Some mystery surrounds the sinking of the ship. It was thought that there were no survivors, but six months later bodies were found on a nearby island. Apparently, survivors had starved to death waiting for rescue even though nobody was looking for them.

Divers say they hear stories from fellow divers about a body that is still trapped in the engine room of the wreck. The story goes that in a fresh water lake, at that depth, there are no fish to eat the remains and the temperature is so low all year round, that a body won't decompose. Also, it is too dangerous to recover a body trapped that far down. So the unfortunate crewman, nicknamed "Whitey" or "Grandpa" by locals, just floats there in the engine room, perfectly preserved.

Divers who have been down to the wreck have reported strange encounters such as being followed by the body or being surprised suddenly by the body floating towards them. They say the body is ghostly white and still has it's wedding ring on it's finger.

Seems odd to me that a body from 1927 would still be intact. Has anyone else heard about this legend? Can't find much info on it and it seems like it might just be an urban legend.


LOL, the temperature part I might buy, might, but the no fish part at that depth is so wrong.  There are bottom feeders in all lakes, unless the pollution has killed them off, and at the time of the sinking, there would not have been the pollution in the Lake that there is now.

Otherwise, a creepy little story.

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#3    savvygirl

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 12:49 AM

glorybebe on Feb 6 2008, 06:15 PM, said:

LOL, the temperature part I might buy, might, but the no fish part at that depth is so wrong.  There are bottom feeders in all lakes, unless the pollution has killed them off, and at the time of the sinking, there would not have been the pollution in the Lake that there is now.

Otherwise, a creepy little story.

I find it a little hard to swallow the body still being in tack too. blink.gif


#4    glorybebe

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 12:53 AM

savvygirl on Feb 8 2008, 04:49 PM, said:

I find it a little hard to swallow the body still being in tack too. blink.gif


I guess it spurs the imagination better if the body is supposedly whole, LOL

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#5    xCrimsonx

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:01 AM

Well. sounds interesting. Althought there might not have been fish to munch old Whitey away, but what about the microscopic bactieria that I would think after neary 100 years would have made a bit of damage over time.

He would of had to have been frozen to still be in tact.

Its a little bit like makeing Ox tail stew, no matter what the temperatures the meat is still gunna fall of the  bone at some stage.  Sorry bad pun! te he wink2.gif

Another thing, if divers had been down there, then why didnt they bring him up for Identification, burial, history and medical science then?
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#6    LizFL

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 03:19 AM

Well, I have heard before that a body will not decompose underwater, but I always assumed that was false... Also, aside from fish and crabs and all, what about microbes and alge? Would they possibly "eat" a body? For that matter, I have seen decomposing fish and and turtles in the river, but that is brachish...


#7    Scary For Kids

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:24 AM

LizFL on Feb 9 2008, 03:19 AM, said:

Well, I have heard before that a body will not decompose underwater, but I always assumed that was false... Also, aside from fish and crabs and all, what about microbes and alge? Would they possibly "eat" a body? For that matter, I have seen decomposing fish and and turtles in the river, but that is brachish...


Actually I did a bit of research on this. Found out that something strange can happen with bodies that are immersed in water for long periods. Layers of fat come to the surface of the skin, forming a chalky/soapy substance that hardens around the outside. Effectively protecting the skin from decomposition. I guess it's like a natural form of mummification.


#8    Undeadskeptic

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:39 AM

Imagine diving down there and having the body scream underwater at you.

Holy f**k that gives me shivers, I am now traumatised for several weeks. Several sleepless weeks.

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#9    Evangium

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 12:22 PM

SS Kamloops story elements are probably real (except for the body swimming around).

Since she's down at 80m, I'm not sure what the risks of recovery are, especially if the wreck is safe for diving.  We need someone who's a SAR Diver to clear up that one hmm.gif

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#10    Undeadskeptic

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:00 PM

Doesn't even mention the stories, so I assume they are just made up.

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#11    Evangium

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:21 PM

Undeadskeptic on Feb 9 2008, 11:00 PM, said:

Doesn't even mention the stories, so I assume they are just made up.

Story Elements, my dear Watsit original.gif It mentions the bodies being discovered in spring 1928 on the Island.  It doesn't mention the body in the engine room though wink2.gif

The only thing I can't verify is the difficulty of the dive.  I know that below 40m, divers have to use a different gas mix and I know that the record for a scuba dive was 270m, but apart from that, we need someone with some diving credentials (and probably some familarity with that area of the Lakes) to tell us how bunk recreationally diving the wreck would be.

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#12    Undeadskeptic

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:31 PM

Ah, very true my australian companion, very true.

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#13    vef3oh

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:00 PM

If the divers went to the wreckage, why couldn't they take the body with them?


#14    Elfstone810

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:34 PM

It sounds to me like a mixture of history (the true story of the wreck) and fiction.  The bit about the body following the divers around reminds me very much of a short story called "Dead Men On Parade".  I don't remember who wrote it, but it's in one of the Alfred Hitchcock story collections and I read it several times when I was a kid.  It's about a diver who is (for some reason) diving on a wrecked ship.  There are several bodies there -- in the story it's not an old wreck -- and as he moves through the ship he stirs the water and the bodies of the drowned sailors are drawn into his wake and move along behind him.

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#15    russelllindsey

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 02:53 AM

I haven't heard this one.  However, I love learning about the Edmund Fitzgerald.  I'm from Michigan, so that's kinda natural.

Actually, there is supposedly a body on the Edmund Fitzgerald; however, I've also heard reports that say the body they found on that dive had the wrong clothes for the time period
(ie - the body was from another wreck).

There is a legend that Lake Superior doesn't give up her dead; it's due to the cold, like you said.  Fascinating stuff.


Scary For Kids on Feb 6 2008, 12:00 PM, said:

I came across an interesting story recently that circulates among diving enthusiasts. It involves a ship called The SS Kamloops that sank in 1927 off Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Some mystery surrounds the sinking of the ship. It was thought that there were no survivors, but six months later bodies were found on a nearby island. Apparently, survivors had starved to death waiting for rescue even though nobody was looking for them.

Divers say they hear stories from fellow divers about a body that is still trapped in the engine room of the wreck. The story goes that in a fresh water lake, at that depth, there are no fish to eat the remains and the temperature is so low all year round, that a body won't decompose. Also, it is too dangerous to recover a body trapped that far down. So the unfortunate crewman, nicknamed "Whitey" or "Grandpa" by locals, just floats there in the engine room, perfectly preserved.

Divers who have been down to the wreck have reported strange encounters such as being followed by the body or being surprised suddenly by the body floating towards them. They say the body is ghostly white and still has it's wedding ring on it's finger.

Seems odd to me that a body from 1927 would still be intact. Has anyone else heard about this legend? Can't find much info on it and it seems like it might just be an urban legend.


Edited by russelllindsey, 12 February 2008 - 02:55 AM.

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