Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tragedy on the S.S. Governor

The Admiralty Inlet near Puget Sound, Washington was the site of a tragic shipwreck on April 1, 1921. Despite clear weather, the pilot of the S.S. Governor confused the running lights of the S.S. West Hartland as the fixed lights of nearby Marrowstone Point and preceded forward. It turned out to be a fatal mistake as the West Hartland rammed the Governor at the center of its onboard side, ripping a 10-foot gash into its side that immediately began to take on water.

Onboard the Governor was the Washbourne family who were asleep in their room with the father and mother (Harry and Lucy) on one-side of the cabin and their two daughters on the other. Their cabin was located at the site of impact and the bow of the S.S. Hartland sliced through the walls and divided the room, separating the family. Harry was severely injured, but Lucy was able to seek aid. Rescuers quickly descended and freed Harry from the wreckage, but the two young girls were completely trapped and there was no way to free them. The crew had little choice but to leave them and forcefully removed their now-hysterical mother. Once the crew had the injured husband and grieving mother topside, they moved immediately to transfer Harry over to the West Hartland with the rest of the passengers fleeing the sinking ship. As they were distracted, Lucy broke free from her rescuers and ran back into the ship to be with her children. She was never seen again.

The S.S. Governor sunk within 20 minutes of impact, taking only eight lives with it - including Lucy Washbourne and her two children. In close proximity to the wreckage is the Point Wilson Lighthouse, whose keeper that night witnessed the tragic accident. Today, members of the United States Coast Guard have reported seeing the apparition of a woman wearing a nightgown wandering the property as if searching for something before entering the lighthouse itself and completely disappearing. It is presumed the alleged spirit is that of Lucy Washbourne, still seeking her children all these years later. It is also only one of the many stories of paranormal encounters at the Point Wilson Lighthouse.

Read more on the history and encounters of the Point Wilson Lighthouse.

-Casey H.

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