A week from tomorrow will be 119 years since the sinking of the Thomas Hume. The schooner was returning to its home port in Muskegon, Michigan when it vanished on May 21, 1891. Many rumors were caused by the ship's disappearance and the lack of any witnessed wreckage washing ashore following its disappearance. Some even theorized that the schooner's captain had stolen the vessel for himself, disguising it with a new paint job. However, the wreck of the Thomas Hume was discovered at the Southern end of Lake Michigan in 2005.
The Thomas Hume is one of a number of vessels at the bottom of the Great Lakes that are said to have fallen victim to the supernatural beast known as the Black Dog of Lake Erie. Legend has it that the Black Dog was the result of an incident that occurred in the Welland Canal. The story goes that a Newfoundland dog that served as a ship's mascot fell overboard while travelling through the canal. In some versions of the tale the sailors mocked the dog as it swam, desperately trying to catch up with its ship. The poor animal was crushed to death when one of the canal lock gates came down. It had the effect of trapping the ship inside the lock as the gate could not completely close. Once the sailors were able to free the large furry corpse from the gate mechanism, they were able to continue on their way. However, the story goes, they found themselves haunted by the vengeful spirit of the dead Newfie. They had begun a curse that would result in the sinking of many ships in the Great Lakes. It is said that on occasion a large black dog will appear on one side of a ship, run across the deck and leap from the other side. Soon after, the ship will run into trouble. When the Issac G. Jenkins sank in Lake Ontario on November of 1875, a farmer claimed to have witnessed a large black dog swim to shore and drag itself onto land, vanishing into the darkness.
Click here to learn more about the Black Dog, the legend of Jenny Greenteeth and the monster of Lake Erie.