“Old Whitey” Continues To Haunt Lake Superior Divers
Apparently the line from the Gordon Lightfoot song is true. "The lake, it is said, never gives up its dead". Nope, it keeps them fully preserved. Yikes!
The cold waters of Lake Superior keeps its dead intact because it's too cold for bacteria to live in, and thus they never "bloat and float" as bodies in warmer climates would, as the gases that cause the bloat are the result of bacterial action.
Living, or should I say non-living, proof of this scientific fact is evident aboard the shipwreck of the USS Kamloops, which wrecked in Lake Superior carrying farm equipment on the way to Canada back in a frigid winter storm in December of 1927.
The wreck occurred off the coast of Isle Royale, Michigan's National Park, and while most of the crew's bodies were found because they froze trying to swim from the point of the wreck, or died later, having made it to shore on Isle Royale and succumbed to the harsh conditions (more on that later), the captain of the Kamloops stayed at the helm and went down with his ship, and is still there today.
The ship sits in 280 feet of water, not too far from the Isle Royale shore. It has attracted the attention of only the most experienced divers, those who don't mind a cold, dark dive.
And there they have been haunted to find one lone soul remaining on the ship. Whether it is the captain has never been determined, but he still sits in the ship, almost perfectly preserved.
"Old Whitey", as he became known to divers, stands guard over equally well preserved food supplies from the journey. Divers say he sits alone, having turned a ghastly white color from the fats of his lifeless body leeching to the surface, forming a soapy wax over him.
Only one photo exists of the body, and its taken from an angle, so you can't see his features, out of respect to the deceased.
But the story doesn't end there. According to AstonishingLegends, One of the stewardesses aboard the Kamloops was Alice Bettridge, and her life boat made it to Isle Royale, where she wrote a message and placed it in a bottle, in hopes that someone on the Canadian shore might find it and rescue her from the harsh conditions.
The bottle was found by a trapper along the Agawa River a year later, too late to help, but in the note, Alice seemed resigned to her fate.
“I am the last one left alive, freezing and starving to death on Isle Royale. I just want mom and dad to know my fate.” ...Al, who is dead.”