happyworld - Divers Discover Decades Long Shipwreck That Is Still Clouded With Mystery And Superstitions

What lies at the bottom of the sea is something that has always intrigued many researchers. We do not know exactly what exists deep under the sea as our equipment often fails to dig deeper. Sailors and fishermen have always been exposed to incredibly threatening and unexpected experiences while at sea. Before modern technology, people used to rely solely on the myths and superstitions to explain what goes on underwater. But this ship and its crew members had a firsthand experience that life at sea can indeed be unpredictable…

After 90 Years

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Back in the year 1928, a steamboat disappeared after meeting with a heavy storm while transporting passengers and goods on Lake Huron. This was a mystery looming over the locals head for so many decades now. But this ship was discovered 90 years later after shipwreck hunters found the doomed ship on the bottom of the lake. However, this was not all there was to it…

Meant For Speed


So what was the history of this steamboat? Well, it was back in June of 1888, when the S.S. Macassa arrived in Hamilton, Ontario. This steamboat had been built that very same year by William Hamilton & Co. in Glasgow, Scotland. This was supposed to be a different steamboat that had been specially made to be quite speedy and can reach a huge amount of distance in a short span of time.

Meant For People

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Well, to understand what the steamboat looked like, here is the dimensions of the body. This steamboat was originally 155 feet long and just 24.1 feet wide. It was not mean to carry just goods and supplies, there was another use meant for this boat. Since it was specially built to transport people, the ship had been made to be able to travel very fast.

A Summertime Ferry


So after months of carefully shaping this boat to be what it became, the company that built it were done with its construction. And soon after reaching Ontario, the Hamilton Steamboat Company put the ship into service. They could hardly wait to see how the boat would perform as they had high hopes for it. This boat was meant for the summertime.

Useful For So Many

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So pretty soon, the boat started to function and would be used to carry people. The S.S. Macassa functioned as a ferry that traveled on Lake Ontario transporting vacationers, picking them up in Hamilton and taking them to Burlington Beach. This ferry was used throughout the summer months and was indeed a useful means of transport for a lot of people during its time.

Years Of Service


So just as expected and anticipated, the S.S. Macassa successfully transported a lot of folks through the sea at high speed. In the following few decades, the S.S. Macassa would go on to successfully serve as a ferry for vacationers at the same time carrying cargo between Toronto and Hamilton. It was making a lot of money and proved to be very popular.

Adding More Space

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The ship continued to serve as a powerful means of transport. For many decades it became one of the most prominent ways people traveled from Toronto and Hamilton. There was also a point in time when the ship was rebuilt for additional length so that even more passengers and cargo could be added and transported. It was indeed useful.

Changing Ownership


Since the steamboat was able to house so many people and goods and transport them quicker than most of the boats during that time, it was truly sought after by many. And so, over 39 years, the S.S. Macassa had been owned and operated by the Hamilton Steamboat Company. This company made a lot of profit by transporting people and cargo. But then a change came…

Some More Changes

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Even though the S.S. Macassa was at the height of its popularity, a change came soon. By the time the year 1928 came, the S.S. Macassa was sold by the Hamilton Steamboat Company. So who ended up buying it? Well, the ship went to the Owen Sound Transportation Company. They decided to give the boat a new name and rebrand a little…

Getting Another Name


And so, after being bought by the new owners, the Owen Sound Transportation Company decided to make a few changes of their own with the ship. And so after the change in ownership, the ship was renamed the S.S. Manasoo. After this, the steamboat was soon transported from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron. There were other changes that followed too…

New Territories

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So when the ship was taken to Lake Huron, the Manasoo was given a brand new responsibility. What was the new job? Well, the ship was now made to do daily runs on Lake Huron between Manitoulin Island and the Sault Ste. Marie area, which was also named ‘The Soo.’ This was a brand new journey for the ship that had been in service for over 3 decades now…

A New Lake


And so if you were curious to know why the ship was given this name, well, there is a perfectly good explanation. The ship’s new name actually has meaning behind it. You see, the name ‘Manasoo’ was a combination of the two new destinations it would travel across. The owners thought the name fits the ship better than its previous one.

An Exciting Time

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And so, after being taken over by the new owners, the ship had a brand new name and a brand new destination. “When new owners moved the vessel to Lake Huron from Lake Ontario in early 1928, they changed the name to Manasoo,” maritime historian Cris Kohl had revealed in a statement he gave when he was interviewed. It was an exciting time for the ship indeed.

A Successful Year


And so when the ownership changed, it was a time when the Manasoo was having so many things to look forward to. There even higher hopes for the ship than there was in its previous years of being in service. As expected, during the first season of its service under new ownership, the ship indeed enjoyed great success. Everything was looking up for the ship.

Good Luck Flips

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But even though the so much success was tasted in its first season of service, the ship soon caught up with dark times. Something terrible happened to the ship while on a trip in early September of 1928. When the records were checked, the ship was supposed to be traveling from Canada’s Manitoulin Island to ship a huge amount of cargo.

The Final Voyage


The ship was experiencing such an exciting time where so much success followed. It was on high demand getting so many tourists and travelers plus shipping cargo back and forth. This ship was, at that time, 178-foot ship and had been carrying 21 crew members and passengers. Little did the crew know that it would be the final voyage…

More Weight

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And, to add to all that was carried already, the ship also carried a cargo of 116 cattle and a pristine 1927 Chevrolet Coupe. The ship was used to carry all these and was estimated to have taken very little time to get to its destination. And so all in all, the cargo that the ship had on board was estimated to weigh about 60 tons. This was a heavy load indeed.

Valuable Cargo


And so for a ship meant to transport people and cargo, it was a little different to carry livestock on board. So who was the owner of the cargo of cattle and the Chevrolet Coupe? Well, all these belonged to Donald Wallace. He was one of the passengers on the ship that trip. He was business who had made quite the plan for himself and his business.

His Reason And Plan

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So what was his plan and what was he shipping the cattle? Well, after buying the cattle, Wallace made a plan to transport the herd from Manitoulin to the mainland. And when he reached the mainland, he was planning to sell the cattle for a profit. He knew that the livestock he bought was of a superior kind, so he knew they would be easily sold like hot cakes. 

A Small Fortune


So what Wallace did was quite a huge risk. He had literally spent most of his money in the hopes that the cattle would help him make a profit. “In all, he bought about $5,600 worth, and had only about $300 left in his pocket at the end of the buying spree,” an account of what happened on the fateful day trouble struck had written.

Poorly Maintained

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The way the cattle had been loaded on the ship was indeed poorly planned. The cows he had taken with him were loaded onto the main deck into four pens. There was enough space for these cows to turn around which was a terrible thing to do. They had not made sure the cows were properly maintained. Hence, there was bound to be an accident.

Wrong Assumptions


And also, even though you might be thinking that Wallace was wrong to have taken such poor care of his cattle, how was he to know? His trip on the Manasoo was the first time he had ever shipped cattle on a ship which basically means that Wallace was not at all equipped to do so. “This was Wallace’s first experience to transport cattle by boat,” the account revealed.

The Details Regarding Wallace

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The account further explained, “He noticed that unlike transport by railway box cars where the bedding was hay, bedding on the Manasoo was sawdust, pen slats were not nailed to posts, they were tied and knotted with rope to metal stanchions, and pens had two plank slats instead of four or five. He said nothing as he figured the crew knew what they were doing.”

Tragic Storm


So as the time came for the ship to start its voyage, no one expected things to go wrong. They all assumed that the journey would go smooth. Then, the Manasoo and the precious cargo left Manitoulin Island as of September 14, 1928. The ship was on its way towards Owen Sound, but unfortunately, the ship met with a raging storm.

Quickly Sinking

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And this was not a petty storm. It was unfortunate that the ship had an encounter with a harsh storm which was a sign that trouble was up ahead. And the condition was such that gusty winds and large waves were hitting the boat. This resulted in the ship starting to lean too far to one side and immediately sank at 2 am on September 15.

Final-Ditch Effort


Since the crew was not prepared to have encountered such a bad storm, everything started to fall apart. And so Captain John McKay began to realize what was happening. He had to act quick so he headed toward a nearby island in a desperate attempt to save everyone. Unfortunately, the ship sank even before it could get close to the island.

On The Local Newspaper

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And so there was no chance for the captain to have been able to save the ship as the sinking was so immediate. “The events that followed happened within approximately three minutes; firstly the captain realizing that something was very wrong, sent the first mate below to find out what was happening,” a local newspaper had posted regarding the ship in 1928.

Out Of Hope


This was such a devastating time for the people on board as there was certainty whether they would make it or not. The captain tried his best to come up with a plan to save everyone on board. “Before the mate got back on the bridge, the captain had swung the wheel towards land, hoping to beach the ship on the island,” the article later explained.

The Harrowing Details

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But nothing seemed to have made a difference to fix the problem. Everything came crashing down in a matter of minute. “Before any headway was made, however, the engines stopped, water pouring into the engine room had put out the fires. The mate, on getting back on deck after seeing that the ship was doomed, ordered the lifeboats lowered,” the article described.

The Survivors

And before the crew could do anything, the damage was done was already too much. They were able to tower just one lifeboat. Since the ship sank within just 3 minutes, they could only get one lifeboat. So in the end, the crew was not able to save everyone and everything on board. So who survived? The captain, four sailors, and one passenger, Donald Wallace were the only ones left alive…

Another Death

And after the terrible accident took place, the group had to be forced to drift in the life raft for 60 hours before they could be helped. They were fortunate because they were finally saved by a passing steamboat. But during this time, there was yet another tragedy that struck. One of the survivors, chief engineer Thomas McCutcheon, passed away due to exposure to the elements.

The Rescue Mission


The sinking of the Manasoo was indeed a tragic moment of grave proportions. There were quite a few rescue teams that went to look for survivors. “No quest devoted to the saving of human lives was … ever carried out more unselfishly and more faithfully,” a local historian William Fox had stated regarding this incident in 1952. “To the deep regret of all who were engaged in it, not another survivor of the disaster was found.”

After 90 Years


There have been countless superstition on the topic of this unfortunate happening. The location of this sunken ship was also a mystery for a long time too. In 2018, Maritime historian Cris Kohl and shipwreck hunters Ken Merryman and Jerry Eliason found the ship 200 feet underwater. In the past 90 years, the ship had remained untouched at the bottom of Lake Huron off the coast of Griffith Island in Ontario.

A Unique Discovery


The discoverers the found the car covered in mussels but there was absolutely no sign of animal or human remains. “It is very rare to see a car, an automobile, on a shipwreck,” Kohl explained. “The very unique thing about the wreck of the Manasoo is that it sits on the lake bottom at the very same dramatic angle at which it sank,” Merryman further stated, “The stern is embedded up to its railing in the soft bottom, while the bow points up towards the surface, rising high above the lake bottom.”

Was It Cursed?


Man theories rose regarding the reason behind the ship sinking. The first being that Manasoo was under a curse after having new owners. “There is a long-held superstition among sailors that if someone changes the name of a ship, that person and/or that ship will encounter bad luck,” the shipwreck hunters were quoted, “Under its new name, the vessel lasted less than one year before sinking with tragic results in September 1928. The Manasoo proved to be a classic example of the bad luck that will plague a vessel after its name has been changed.”

Some Compromising

Another reasonable explanation for the ship to sink was that the extension made the ship unsteady after being added to the ship. Hence, when the ship met with the harsh winds and strong currents, it ended up leaning and leaned too far making the cattle shift the weight on deck to one side. This second theory is more widely accepted but no one knows for sure what became of the ship and why it sank so quickly…

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