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Edmund Fitzgerald Exhibit


I was born in Michigan and recall back in November, 1975, when the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a violent storm in Lake Superior. All hands were lost during the sinking and no bodies were ever recovered because the ship sank so suddenly. The sinking was about 15 miles from Whitefish Point where the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum currently resides.

In September of 2018, I was in Northern Michigan on business. I had some time to kill and decided to visit the museum. After crossing the Mackinaw Bridge, I began the 1 1/2 drive the museum. What once a sunny and warm day had turned cold, gray, and rainy. I experienced uneasy feelings as I drove the desolate upper peninsula roads. I could not understand why, but I dismissed the feelings to overwork and stress.

I finally arrived at the museum in a downpour. I ran inside and paid the admission fee to a friendly middle aged woman. I was the only one there. The museum was laid out well with exhibits and artifacts; from shipwrecks starting in the 1800's and ending with the Edmund Fitzgerald. By the time I reached the Fitzgerald exhibit, I learned very little was recovered from the shipwreck because it sank so quickly. However, a lifeboat broke free during the sinking and was recovered the following day. With the lifeboat was a case which included a flare gun, lantern, first aid kit, and other items. Those items were displayed in a glass case. As I studied the items, the earlier feelings of anxiety returned. Within seconds, anxiety turned to fear and after that turned to pure terror. I was so light headed, I thought I was fainting. I was able to collect myself and bolted for the exit. I went right by the front desk where the lady was and went back outside. My heart was racing, my breath was short, and I thought my head would explode. I soon collected myself and asked, "What just happened?"

I decided to go back inside to confront what just occurred. I walked right past the lady again and into the museum. Within seconds the same emotions of anxiety, fear, and terror swept over me. There was no negotiation and I exited the museum again with no intention of returning. I spoke with the lady and told her I just had a paranormal experience by the Fitzgerald exhibit. She admitted to being a sensitive herself and said the museum is highly active. She also said once or twice a week, visitors will have an experience similar to mine, or see apparitions, or even hear voices calling for help. This was reassuring because I thought I was going nuts. I have had my share of psychic or paranormal experiences in my life but this by far the most intense.

During the drive back to my motel, I thought about the anxiety, fear, and terror I experienced and realized that is what those doomed crew members felt. Anxiety during the storm, fear when the ship was losing control, and terror when they realized it was sinking.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, JamesF, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

JamesF (2 stories) (7 posts)
5 years ago (2019-06-14)
Your story does not suprise in the least bit. No doubt the Roman Coliseum has a ton of residual spiritual energy. Being a child, I see how you were lightening rod to spirtual energy that day. From my own experiences and people I talk to who believe, I found the majority of us had experiences when we were young, usually before age 15 or so. I had so many experiences when I was kid, but I gave up telling my parents or siblings because, "You we're imagining things" or "You had a bad dream". Or "You didn't see that". It is a good thing people are more open these days because I never discount a story involving the other side.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-25)
Wow, your account really got to me! I have experienced something very similar before. According to my hobbled together way of viewing the world (not trying to push this on anyone, just explain where I'm coming from if I can 🤔) I think we are "called to" by the past/the "other side" in several different ways. First through our blood heritage, then from past lives and then from the deep sympathies wrought in us by either of the above and/or our own life experiences. For some, one calling or another may be stronger - while others may consciously feel little to nothing at all. So that's my perspective - given that, though my family heritage is very strongly Scotts-Irish and French, I have always had a bone-deep attraction to ancient Rome. During one of my first visits as a child of 11, the center of the Colosseum was still accessible via wooden walkways. My father had disappeared somewhere but I wasn't worried as I had never felt alone or frightened in that part of the city - more like I was invisible to the other people walking around while seen by *other* eyes. I wandered in a bit of a daze out into the middle of the walkway across what would have been the arena floor. When I reached the center, I stopped dead and the hot Mediterranean summer afternoon suddenly terribly felt cold. I could hear a roaring noise in my ears like thousands of voices in tumult. I felt large strong hands on my shoulders - they gripped me firmly but not painfully - as a voice spoke in my head beseaching me to go from that place and never return, that I should not be there, that they would always miss me but that they didn't want me to see them that way in that awful place of death. I felt physically sick with dread and grief. I quickly did as I was told but it was several hours before I was fully back to myself.

In my line of thinking you were either reached via the empathy you felt or possibly a past life. I hope for the dead that being able to vent and share their emotions has at least some measure of the catharsis it holds for the living.

As the ballad was one of my favorites growing up in spite of its sadness, I'm posting a link to the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot. Https://
JamesF (2 stories) (7 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-22)
Thanks for your response Whitesheet. I never felt I was a full blown sensitive. The incidents I experienced were always unexpected and spontaneous, like the Fitzgerald exhibit. I have visited the battlefields at Gettysburg, Antietem, Bull Run, and Vicksburg. I have also visited Savannah, Georgia a number of times. Each one of these locations was full of death and destruction but I never experienced one paranormal incident at any of these places. I never sought spirits in the form of a ghost hunt or seance either.
With that said, my first incident occurred when I was five. Once a year, my family would tend to the graves of my grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents by cleaning up the gravesites and planting flowers. One year, I wandered over to a fresh grave, still covered with flowers and a few teddy bears. I was suddenly overwelmed with sadness and grief and cried uncontrollably. I fell to the ground in the fetal position while my family ran over to me. My dad tried to calm me but to no avail. He picked me up and carried me to the back seat of our station wagon. I eventually came around but I was emotionally and mentally drained. In the days that followed, my parents pressed me as to what happened but I was too young to comprehend why I had a breakdown and could not explain anything.
I later learned the grave was of a young boy whom was hit by a car and died just a few days before. It was not until I was older did I realize I experienced all the sadness that surrounded the boy's death. At the time, I was too young to comprehend death and the residual sadness, but it hit me like a tidal wave that day. Keeping with family tradition, I still visit the cemetery and the boy's grave but never experienced anything close like that day when I was five.
whitesheet (7 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-22)
hi james f,

Ive only had one frightening experience and that was in the witchcraft museum in boscastle, cornwall, england in the 1980s.

I wasn't bothered about going in, as id never really taking witchcraft seriously... But it was a wet day, so in we went.

My experience was similar to yours... I thought I was coming down with some kind of stomach bug.

More than that... I got the feeling that I shouldnt be there in the sense that it was wrong to be there... I just had to leave, but then I felt better

I knew that boscastle had been one of the centres of witchcraft in cornwall, but I have since found out that many sensitives can't stand to be in the town, let alone the museum... Luckily I was ok when I was outside... I have got a friend who iis very sensitive to locations... For example we once visited someone we didn't know very well and, when she touched the front door she recoiled in horror as she felt a burning sensation and felt almost choked by the smell of smoke... It was only later that we learned that there had been a big, fatal fire on the site.

Have you ever had these kind of experiences before... Mine at the museum was the only time
JamesF (2 stories) (7 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-13)
This was the first shipwreck museum I visited. After my experience, I googled the museum and learned the building is highly active. I have had my share of paranormal experiences in my life but I always viewed each experience with skepticism first. I never believed in spirit attachment of physical items but this time I truly believe I that is what I experienced while viewing the items recovered from the lifeboat. The sensations and emotions I felt were not controlled by me, they just happened.
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-09)
Hello JamesF,

I remember when the Edmund Fitzgerald went down, the whole Country made the song that told of the disaster, a No. 1 hit (Gordon Lightfoot). Not long ago we watched a short show on the History channel that had real video of the captain and crew of the other ship that was following so close, during that horrible storm. It was said they were there, right in their view, but in the next minute, they were not.

Any event that brutal, many young crew members, and the experienced, life loss that brutal, has to leave some type of imprint.

While I have never been to the museum you speak of, I have been to other exhibits and places, where I simply had to wait outside for the others I had come with.

I believe when unfinished with life and gone too soon, there are times when something is left behind. Perhaps, if you are sensitive to this and saddened by it, then somehow they will know, and be modestly grateful.

Cuddlebear (4 stories) (173 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-08)
JamesF ~ Welcome to YGS!

As a veteran of the USCG I have a deep interest in attending museums that feature shipwrecks. I've been to the Great Lakes museum as well as many others. I don't know whether you experienced "ghosts" or just had a great deal of empathy the men who were lost. Have you attended other shipwreck museums? If so did you have the same experience there? Was it just the Fitzgerald's property that effected you?

I'm sorry you didn't get to enjoy your visit there, it is a worthwhile location with lots of information as I recall. Her (EF) Bell is there as I remember.

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