Ghost Ships, Airplanes, and UFOs
The Great Lakes Triangle & Worldwide

The Caleuche Ghost Ship
Chris Capps

When we think of ghost ships, we’re supposed to imagine them as rare and transient vessels depicting a tragedy that befell the crew of a vessel a long time ago. Or else we imagine a derelict devoid of intelligence and holding a mystery on-board with all of the ship’s passengers missing. But one story from the long and rich history of Chiloe Island (the second largest island in Chile), suggests that one ghost ship, the Caleuche, could be so much more than a typical ghost ship. And the fact that the legend also suggests that it is seen by someone somewhere every night is no small matter either.

It’s said witnesses who observe the distant ship will note the sounds of merriment and music on-board as the lurching behemoth glows with its mournful chorus all around it both fascinating and chilling those who witness its approach. The people on-board are said to be gloriously happy as though everything – including death – were somehow cast away into the distant inky blackness of night with only the warmth and happiness of the moment remaining. And that’s precisely, according to the legend, what has happened to them. It’s said the crew on-board the ship are the undiscovered lost souls of the sea who have been brought back to life by the mythical mermaids who tend to the missing and bring them to the Caleuche so that their existence need not be one of loneliness tumbled by the harsh and unforgiving waves of the ocean forever.

But not all of those on-board the ship are necessarily good. The mysterious and ancient warlocks of Chilote lore are also able to make their way onto the vessel by means of a massive horse capable of galloping over water. The sorcerers, despite their evil nature however, are welcomed with open arms aboard the ship where the festivities continue.

But not necessarily treated so well are the kidnapped fishermen who are dragged screaming aboard the vessel and must live out the rest of their existence performing the duties of the ship and maintaining the ever growing party. These fishermen have been said to occasionally come into conflict with the vessel itself, though the “guests” of the party are generally not interested in fighting. Rather the Caleuche acts as a sentient being in itself which ensures the fishermen perform its duties, although how is a matter that changes from story to story. Some say it has the ability to control the minds of fishermen while others suggest it could have something to do with another mysterious group of entities on-board who rise up from the bilge only on the rare occasions when a mutiny seems certain.

The legend of the Caleuche is one of the more bizarre stories of a ghost ship, but it is also one of the more interesting ones. Where could such an artifact have come from in the minds of the storyteller? Is it deeply symbolic of some aspect of their existence? Or is there perhaps something else behind it lurking and yet to be revealed – something suggesting it could be more than just a story?


October, 01, 2011 Chicago, Montrose Yacht Harbor UFO
Witness Report: My boyfriend and I were out for a late night stroll along the lakeshore, it was about 11:30 and we were headed back home along the Montrose Beach waterfront. As we headed toward the tunnel that leads us under Lake Shore Drive and our condo, a bright light caught our attention and we stopped and walked off the path toward the lake shore. There about 200 yards from shore was a green glowing disc, it looked like a discus that you use during track and field events, except it was slowly oscillating and glowing green. If I had to estimate, the object was roughly 40-60 feet across and maybe 12-15 feet in height, the object was totally silent and effortlessly hovered about 6-10 feet above the water. As we watched, the object slowly drifted to the east for about 30 feet, again totally silent. As we watched this object drifted over, a bright light began to emanate from the water and to our utter amazement/horror, a SECOND object arose out of the water!! Both objects hovered above the water for about 45 seconds, then both objects suddenly changed color to a burnt orange and then suddenly shot off to the west, they both rose suddenly and were out of sight within a few seconds. My boyfriend and I were both left there with our jaws on the floor, we stared out over the water for about a minute, before we both looked at each other and tried to make heads or tails of what just happened. We both sat down at a nearby bench and talked about what we had both seen, my boyfriend telling me about a couple of UFO sightings he had as a child, eventually we made our way to our condo. Ever since, I catch myself looking out over the lake from our living room window, hoping to catch a glimpse of something again.

September 11, 2011 Michigan UFO
Witness Report: Red cylinder-shaped objects were witnessed hovering “so low the barn was glowing” and were similar to another report from the same date, according to September 12, 2011, testimony from the Mutual UFO Network. Earlier reports were covered in: Multiple cylinder UFOs cross Michigan skies. A witness reported watching multiple vertically-positioned, cylinder-shaped flaming objects that crossed the sky slowly “just above the tree tops” from the southwest to the northeast on September 11, 2011 in MUFON Case # 31768. The witness stated. “I was facing east in the direction of Lake Erie’s western/southern bank. I observed a star-like object that slowly began to ascend after a minute, and slowly ascended through a small wispy cloud and shortly after rising through the cloud, the light disappeared. The sky was clear except for a few small whispy clouds. It appeared as though it left a trail as it ascended. Sept. 10, 2011 100s of yellow orbs were seen passing over Michigan, then vanished into thin air.

Lake Michigan St. Joseph, March 5, 2007
UFO Over Lake Michigan near the water treatment plant in St. Joseph, moved from north to south very slowly and the rest just hovered until they vanished. I saw 3 very bright objects over Lake Michigan, two hovered until they vanished while a 3rd moved in a southerly direction. They had very bright red and white lights. I saw planes also and these lights were nothing like them. When they vanished it was more like winking off.

Chicago O’Hare Airport May 22, 2000
O’Hare Intl. Airport Air Traffic Control Report Ghost Planes on radar. For the past five weeks in May 2000, air traffic controllers at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois have been seeing images of “ghost planes” on their radar sets, usually in the skies of the Lake Michigan Triangle. The Triangle is an area of Lake Michigan which runs from Ludington, Michigan south to Benton Harbor, Mich., then across the lake to Manitowoc, Wisconsin and then back to Ludington.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “False radar images have been popping up on the screens of O’Hare International Airport’s air traffic controllers, forcing pilots to take sudden turns unnecessarily.” “At least a dozen ‘ghost planes’ have been reported during the last few weeks, the newspaper said, citing documents from the Terminal Radar Approach Control Center in Elgin, Illinois (population 78,000).”

“Controllers said that at least a few times they have ordered pilots to take sudden turns to avoid what appeared to be planes on their radar, potentially putting passengers at risk.” “‘The ghosting is a complete terror for air traffic controllers,’ said Charles Bunting, president of the Elgin local the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.” Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Tony Molinaro “said there have been 13 ghost images in the last five weeks rather than the usual eight or nine the FA would normally expect in this time period., ‘meaning we shall need to look into them.'”

“But Mike Egan, vice president of the controller’s union at Elgin, accused the FAA of playing down the problem. ‘Maybe 130, but not 13,’ Egan said Friday (May 19, 2000). ‘We had a couple of them today, as a matter of fact. They know there’s a problem.'” This all adds to the mythology of the lake, which is not prone to reveal its secrets. Lake Michigan is a treacherous lake and continues to be a source of fascination and inspiration for our collective imaginations.

Chicago O’Ohare What was sighted over the airport during rush hour?

Chicago Tribune Colbert Report “Monday night with Stephen Colbert, Leslie Kean mentioned the original Tribune story, which with 1.6 million page views to date remains the single most popular story or column in the history of In fact, by Tuesday evening, it had climbed atop the current list of most-viewed stories on the Web site. After that story originally appeared, the FAA explained away the UFO spotting as a “weather phenomenon. “This thing was hovering over Chicago O’Hare airport at rush hour,” Kean said. “Lots of people saw it, (but) the U.S. government never said a word.”

Lake Superior Power Plant Sept. 27, 2010
Low-Flying Triangle Witnessed over Lake Superior Power Plant. Witness report: My girlfriend and I were sitting on our couch in the living room of our home. We were looking out the bay window overlooking lower harbor on Lake Superior. We both noticed this very large and bright, almost fog light-looking craft going at a 45 degree angle towards the power plant. It was moving unbelievably fast towards the ground. We both thought it was going to crash. Then, as it got really close to the ground, it slowed down to almost nothing and leveled out. It seemed to slow down like it hit a pillow. It slowed to almost a stop, and slowly cruised along the shore line. It was very low to the ground. It had a huge, bright spotlight on the front that was being shone all over the shoreline as it passed over.

It looked like a flying wedge of cheese. It was a flat looking black, almost gun-metal. It had a smooth look to it. I could see no seams or edges to it. It had a row of lights along the outsides of it running towards the back. It was moving so slowly and completely quiet. If it was any thing normal, it would have fallen right out of the sky. My home from the shoreline where it flew over is about 3 blocks or so. We could see it very well, and that it was extremely large.

While moving with the shoreline, it passed behind the larger of the two smoke stacks on the power plant at South Beach. It was lower than the taller stack, but above the shorter one. I have been told that the taller stack is approximately 300 feet tall. That thing was about 280 feet up or so. As soon as it passed the second smoke stack, it turned towards the ski hill or airport at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base. It was still moving very slowly. The thing that got me about when it turned, was that it turned perfectly 90 degrees without banking or slowing leaning or anything. IT went parallel to Hampton Street, which is only two over from mine. It was very low, it was flying up hill. Once it got to the peak of the hill side, it flashed off at ungodly speed towards the airport. It made no noise when it went from maybe a mile or two an hour to infinity in a blink of the eye. I have seen what I feel is a flying triangle the size of a football field in length go right by. We were in such awe that we couldn’t look away in fear of missing something.

Lake Michigan Mid Day UFO May 22, 2005
Witness Report: A group of 3 of us, myself – a manufacturing business owner, my brother a Firefighter/Paramedic, and a family friend were traveling from Saugatuck, MI on a 38′ Chris Craft yacht, crossing Lake Michigan on the way to our marina just south of Chicago in Burnham, IL ( This was a 15 hour ride and we were about 6 hours into the trip when we were circled by an F4 jet several times at very low altitude. This jet was so close we could clearly see the pilot in the cockpit (about 40 feet over the water). I do not know if this is related to what happened 30 minutes later but we all found it very odd to see an Air Force jet in that area taking a closer look at us. Of all times I’ve been on the lake I’ve never seen a fighter jet or anything odd, and I’ve been out there since 1994.

Eventually the jet vanished and was never to be seen again. About 30 minutes later we noticed an odd looking object to our starboard side (we were traveling SSW at the time). This object was nothing any of us had ever seen and didn’t look like the commonly known UFO either. It was not a cigar or disc and it was not a triangle. It was the strangest looking thing. It was completely black and almost looked like a bunch of legos a child threw together, where the long rectangular shape had odd ends like steps but completely uneven. It’s very hard to describe. There were no lights, no sounds. Just complete silence. We idled down and proceeded to the bow to observe this thing. It was hovering above the water, about 10 feet above the 1′ wave caps. It was about 500 feet wide, almost like a large building on it’s side floating over the water. We were about 6 blocks to 1 mile away.

After about 10 minutes of watching this thing it began to move our way, and we were all getting a bit nervous being that we were in deep waters and all alone. Outside of cellular range and poor chances of a good VHF distress call, our feelings were becoming uneasy quickly. I guess we just feared this object because we didn’t know what it was or why it was even there. I hopped back inside the cabin to take the helm and threw her port & starboard engines in forward at idle to get ready to start moving out of there. I wanted to know what I was seeing but I was way to nervous to see what would happen if I let it come close. At that moment I myself, along with our family friend and my brother, observed this crazy looking thing move across the water from our starboard side to directly in front of our bow (keeping the same 6 blocks or so away from us and holding the same 10′ hover over the water). What really shocked us was the speed of the object. It traveled an estimated 10 nautical miles in about 2 seconds. There was just a long black streak across the horizon and then it stopped and just sat there in front of us. I dropped the vessel back to neutral and just sat there as we all discussed what the heck was happening. Seconds later it jumped right back to our starboard side where it was before and again just hovered over the water. That was enough, we throttled up and began heading SSW again, constantly observing the object as we moved on. Eventually we lost the object in the distance and never saw it again.

The date was, for sure, May 22nd, 2005. That’s the only time we ever made this trip.We had no cameras, have no photos, but it happened. The trip was being made for a single purpose, to move a boat I bought at Tower Marine in Douglas, MI to my local marina. It wasn’t a pleasure cruise. In June of this year I am returning to the GPS coordinates where this happened, still saved on my GPS. I’ll be going back with a couple friends and possibly my brother again if he can make it. My hope is to see this again, although it’s been 5 years now, ya never know. This time we’re bringing camcorders and cameras.


Lake Michigan Mantiowoc Vanished Boat August 23, 1999
An excursion boat vanished ten miles east of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The Coast Guard swept the lake bottom with sonar but there was no sign of wreckage. Manitowoc is a port city on Lake Michigan approximately 84 miles north of Milwaukee and is reputed to be another corner of the Lake Michigan Triangle. Among the mysterious events listed in this port were the disappearance of an airliner in June 1950, and the disappearance of the steamship Alpena in 1880.

Lake Michigan Traverse Bay July 14, 1998
Witness Report: “As we were taking the pictures, we noticed a few small Orbs hovering in the distance, so we took a few more photos. Then they just vanished; big amber-colored Orb appeared almost directly in front of the middle of the bay, the Orb’s appearance change to a very bright white and it remained the same intensity most of the time.”

July 3, 1998 Twin Lake Michigan Object
A strange object was reported that resembled a ‘metal gray flashlight with a nose bigger than the back end’, flying a ‘straight horizontal line’ west towards Lake Michigan.

June 9, 1998 Lake Michigan UFO
Witness Report: Waukegan, IL “A very faint light, high in the sky, was getting brighter and then fading to a very dim light– the entire object would get brighter and then dim. The intensity varied slowly, and it was regular.

June 13, 1998 Port Washington, WI
Witness Report: A fast moving flashing bright orange light, very high in the sky directly overhead. It was very bright, heading due north on the same heading, and virtually along the same path were five black helicopters.

June 10, 1997 Lake Michigan, Door County Peninsula, Sturgeon Bay Metallic Object
Witness Report: Rev. Billy Dee was driving home “leaving the outskirts of the city of Sturgeon Bay.” when he looked up “into the clear blue sky,” and saw “a metallic object that was brightly illuminated by the sun but also threw off its own light. Although small, about the size of a hen’s egg, it was clear and vivid, a classic saucer-shaped craft.” It was dazzling and beautiful, and mind- boggling!

Sturgeon Bay is said to be a nexus of the Lake Michigan Triangle. Two schooners vanished just east of this Lake Michigan port–the Ottawa in 1911 and the Rouse Simmons in 1913.

June 14, 1997 Lake Michigan, Milwaukee LIght
Witness Report: William and his friend were “sitting outside on their friends porch in the city of Milwaukee when they spotted something strange in the sky over Lake Michigan — an erratic bright yellow/orange light doing crazy spirals then it slowed down a little and dropped out of the sky.

October 26, 1997 Lake Michigan, Porter, IN UFO
Witness Report: Video footage shot of a UFO sighting south of Chicago recorded images of a a “white dot being trailed by flames streaking across the sky.”

March 8, 1994 Lake Michigan Object
Radar tracked a group of 24 objects approaching the west coast on a course for Lake Michigan. At about the same time, a group of 14 objects approached from the the south east and an additional group of 24 objects approached from the north. They were observed at Loring AFB. All the groups converged at a point approximately 52,000 feet above the north central portion of Lake Michigan! See The 1994 Flap of Lake Michigan

August 1977 Lake Michigan, Michigan City Indiana Moving Lights
I was 28 at the time with my new wife and 1 child. I was walking our dog (a black lab bird dog..Kahlua) as usual, at about 10:00 pm on a warm August night. I always took her to a sandy dune entrance path to the beach that was just across the street from our corner apartment building. I looked down at her by my side and she had stopped and pointed with 1 front paw up and tail extended – to the beach opening of our path. I looked and saw a fuzzy glow beyond the dune there at the beach end. I figured it was a few of my neighbors having another one of their weekend bonfire parties. We quickly walked out to see if we knew the people ..but when we reached the beach was dark and desolate in front of us and to the East. I then looked West..and could not believe what I was seeing. 3 spheres of light were slowly moving towards our spot, just above the small shoreline waves. (It was a breezy wind off the lake but the waves were fairly small, just barely lapping onto the sand. The breeze was blowing my long hair back.) The 3 spheres were in an echelon formation. I would guess they were each 3 to 5 feet across. There was 1 out front, with each of the other 2, to the left and right rear of the front sphere. They were only seperated by a few feet distance from each other. They were a yellowish pink with the pink being static fingers of light moving around the surface and the yellow coming from the sphere itself. They were very colorful but had a soft light (like a flourescent bulb light.) They were not real bright. They were fuzzy looking. They then glided in front of us at about 80 to 100 feet distance, at the water’s edge. I could make out the small foam waves lapping up on the brown sand below the one closest to us. I believe the other one was over the shallow water and the front one over sand and waves. It was a faint even glow on the sand and water. They looked to be about 1 foot over the water/sand at this point. They seemed to slow but I am not sure. I looked down at my dog and her hair was standing up on her back and her head was following the objects as she watched them. I looked at them again and they were slowly moving down shore at the same position above the small waves/sand and they quickly moved East and disappeared as a single light source due to the distance. I went inside and told my wife, Vicki, and see noted I was very shook up over the incident. I called the Michigan City police the next morning and told them I saw lights along the shore ..but they laughed and said it was airplane lights & hung up on me. I later sent a sighting report to Dr. J. Allen Hynek at Northwestern University in Chicago.I included a rough sketch of the sighting. Exact date I wrote him is forgotten.

June 23, 1950 Lake Michigan Northwest Airlines Flight 2501
A Northwest Airline Douglas DC-4 with four propellor engines, took off from New York City on its way to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Flying the DC-4 was Capt. Robert C. Lind. To his right was co-pilot Verne F. Wolfe. In the passenger section were stewardess (flight attendant) Bonnie A. Feldman and 55 passengers.” As the DC-4 “Air Coach” passed over Battle Creek, Michigan, Capt. Lind notified Air Traffic Control by radio, “Northwest 2501, Battle Creek at 37 past the hour. Estimating Milwaukee at 51. Level 3,500. (3,500 feet above sea level or 1,100 meters). Hoping to avoid thunderstorms on Lake Michigan just north of Chicago, Illinois, Capt. Lind changed course between Battle Creek and the Lake Michigan shore. The plane headed in a northwesterly direction and began crossing the lake at a point between South Haven and Ludington.The aircraft and all 58 people aboard were never seen again.The U.S. Coast Guard began a search of Lake Michigan at 2 a.m. on Saturday, June 24, 1950. “An air-sea search for the giant DC-4 air coach was concentrated about 12 miles northwest of St. Joseph, Mich. when a Coast Guard lifeboat from South Haven recovered items from the plane.” Their were blankets with the markings ‘NW’ flanked by wings, a log book and a maintenance chart. Hope was virtually abandoned for any survivors after the discovery of the wreckage and fragments of bodies, making it the worst tragedy (up until 1950) of American commercial aviation.

In last year’s Valujet and TWA Flight 800 cases, both of which went down over water, there were easily identifiable “debris fields.” In the case of TWA 800, the debris fields floated on the ocean for weeks after the crash.

There was no debris field in the case of Northwest 2501, merely a handful of items recovered and a few “fragments of bodies.” At 2 a.m. on June 24, 1950, “two White Fish Bay, Wis. (Wisconsin) policemen were disturbed by what they saw hovering in the sky above Lake Michigan. The men noticed the object several miles out on the lake east-southeast of their position. They watched the eerie red object glowing for ten minutes. Then it disappeared.” The UFO report from White Fish Bay, a suburb of Milwaukee, came just two hours after Capt. Lind’s last call to Air Traffic Control. What happened to Northwest 2501 that night over Lake Michigan is still a mystery.

April 28, 1937 Lake Michigan Pt. Washington, WI Missing Person
The strange disappearance of Captain George R. Donner from his locked stateroom aboard the coal ship O.M. McFarland, he was never seen again.

The Airship flap of 1897

April 11, 1897 – Benton Harbor, Michigan – For 15 minutes, people watched “a huge ball of fire” in the sky.

April 11, 1897 – Galesburg, Michigan – Two men reported seeing a quickly-moving cigar-shaped object that was “illuminated at both ends.” There was a dull explosion in the sky, and the object vanished.

April 11, 1897 – Watervliet, Michigan – Two men reported seeing “the mysterious airship” flying away from the town in a northwesterly direction.

April 12, 1897 – Benton Harbor, Michigan – Three eyewitnesses reported seeing a rapidly moving aerial object with blue, red and green lights. The UFO was headed in a northwesterly direction.

April 12, 1897 – Niles, Michigan – Several people reported “a bright electric light” flying over the town, followed by two colored lights, one red, the other green.

April 12, 1897 – New Troy, Michigan – A “mystery airship” approached a group of people in the town and hovered in place for several minutes.

April 12, 1897 – Kalamazoo, Michigan – A dozen people, including the editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette, watched a mysterious bright light fly over the center of the city at an estimated speed of 45 to 60 miles per hour. The UFO was described as “a reddish-green light of great intensity that was six times larger than any star in the sky. It was about a half mile(2,600 feet) high and was moving in a northerly direction.

April l4, 1897 – Constantine, Michigan – Several people saw a “mysterious light, one quarter the size of the full moon, heading north with a zigzag motion. One witness estimated its speed at 60 miles per hour.

April 15, 1897 – Schoolcraft, Michigan – People saw a mysterious object fly over the town.

April 17, 1897 – Three Rivers, Michigan – A number of people saw an aerial object flying past the outskirts of town heading north.

Ludington, Michigan is reputed to be the nexus of the Lake Michigan Triangle.

Buoys & Ghouls Chicago Ghost Ships
There is a triangle in Lake Michigan between Chicago, Manitowoc and Ludington that is similar to the Bermuda Triangle, where there are repeated episodes of planes and boats disappearing
and sometimes reappearing. People report seeing ghost ships, and boaters have picked up people from the water who say their ship sunk, and then the people disappear!

Mysterious Stone Circle 40′ Deep
Under Lake Michigan