The Jefferson Iowa News®


  Phantom Pirate Ship Mysteriously Reappears  At Goose Lake

Local resident Cletus Maynard was checking his trap lines at Goose Lake last Tuesday when what seemed to be an eighteenth-century galleon decked out in full pirate regalia suddenly appeared on the lake directly in front of him. While he stared in disbelief, the phantom ship faded back out of sight. Fortunately when it faded back into view a few moments later, he had his Polaroid camera ready and was able to take the snapshot seen at left.

The boat was clearly flying the jolly roger and he could hear a sea shanty being crudely sung by the crew. As he cowered in terror, the ship again faded from view and did not reappear. He reports that it left no wake or disturbance of any kind on the lake's surface. Unable to explain what he had witnessed, he presented yours truly with his account - along with the accompanying photograph.

Although incidents of this nature are rarely, if ever, covered by the local paper, we were able to dig up some interesting snippets of related incidents which have taken place over the last several generations. It seems that this ship has been haunting the waters of Goose Lake for a long time. It was recorded being seen as early as 1893, and more recently, was sighted in 1976, 1989, 1993, and 2001.

It has been suggested by some of the local citizens that Goose Lake may at one time have been attached by way of rivers to the Mississippi and thus to the port of New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico - a notorious pirate enclave in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is surmised that the crew of this vessel may have become lost, traveling farther and farther north, only to find themselves hopelessly stranded in the bleak and barren environment now called "Greene County". This scenario would indeed explain the crew's sad plaintive shanties.

Ghosts and apparitions have appeared in the area at times over the ages, but the legend of the lost pirates at sea on Goose Lake, sadly singing their sea shanties and longing for friendlier waters, must rank as the most interesting and perplexing of them all.


submitted by Rick Bland, city editor