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 Post subject: The Lake Erie 'Storm Hag', demonic siren of the Great Lakes
Unread postPosted: April 18, 2009, 9:57 pm 
Since first explored in the 1600’s the Great Lakes have earned a reputation as being a treacherous and unforgiving waterway. Extremely violent storms seem to appear out of nowhere taking both vessel and crew to a watery grave.

In 1977 author Jay Gourley’s “The Great Lakes Triangle” proposed there were some sinister forces behind all of these mysterious disappearances. But many sailors on Lake Erie at least, have had a theory for centuries on the unexplainable storms and the shipwrecks that plague the fresh water lake.

The Storm Hag.

According to legend the Storm Hag lives at the bottom of the lake, close to Presque Isle Peninsula . She is a hideous she demon, her yellow eyes shine in the dark like those of a cat, her skin is a pale shade green. Her teeth are sharp and pointed as a shark, able to tear the skin off of her victims. They are also green, which gives her another less common name, Jenny Greenteeth. Her hands have long pointed nails like talons that have a poison with which she can paralyze a poor soul with just one small prick. Her arms are long and strong, and they wrap around her victims making it impossible for them to escape her flesh hungry attack.

The old legend tells that like a siren before she attacks she sings a quiet song over the waves that few have survived to retell. Traditionally the song she sings is:

“Come into the water, love,
Dance beneath the waves,
Where dwell the bones of sailor lads
Inside my saffron caves.”

And as soon as the seafarer hears this song the Storm Hag attacks. She calls up a violent storm that tosses the crew of the vessel around so she can lurch up from the water and grab them with her long arms. Others tell that she waits the storm out and when the sailors believe all is calm she rises from the waves, spitting lightning and winds with such force the entire vessel sinks in a few seconds.

Local history has it that on a fall evening in 1782 an owler ship was caught in a bad storm on the lake and desperately tried to make it back to port at Presque Isle. It was tossed to and fro violently for more than an hour and when it was in site of land the storm abruptly stopped.

The clouds dissipated and the moonlight from the full moon illuminated the water, and the sailors could see they were less than a mile from the northern edge of the Peninsula and home.

Without warning the water next to the boat foamed and the Storm Hag burst forth from the surface. She spewed venom and attacked the crew unleashing her furry upon them.

Within seconds the ship and its crew were taken beneath the waves to their doom.

Witnesses on shore apparently heard the screams of the sailors echoing across the lake just before the vessel disappeared.

To this day some of those who sail the lake near Presque Isle claim to hear phantom screams of the victims who were taken long ago.

Now these legends seem the work of over imaginative sailors until one looks at some very disturbing incidents documented within the last century.

On December 1942 the oil tanker Clevco was being escorted with towline by the tugboat Admiral. They had left port at Toledo and were traveling east when just off the coast of Cleveland when something strange happened. At 4am the Clevco radioed that the Admiral had disappeared without incident. The crew noted that the towline was no longer attached to the tugboat but it was at a sharp angle into the waves, as if the tugboat had somehow sunk to the bottom of the lake without a sound.

The Clevco immediately stopped and radioed the Coast Guard and two cutters and a few motorboats were dispatched to the coordinates. However arriving on scene they found nothing.

Both ships had vanished.

The next morning the Civil Air Patrol joined the search, and pilot Clara Livingston spotted the Clevco 15 miles south from its original location. As soon as she reported the location to the Coast Guard her radio went dead and she saw the ship disappear as a cloud of snow fell upon the ship from out of nowhere. Since her radio had died she returned to base. The Coast Guard again went to the location and found nothing. They widened the search and the hunt continued.

Strangely, later in the day the cutter Ossipee spotted the tanker and when almost in range to board her, once again the snow storm phenomena appeared and the vessel once again disappeared.

Then at 3:30 amazingly the Clevco once again was in radio contact with the Coast Guard. They told them the ship was adrift and they were unable to steer her. While in contact with them for over an hour the authorities told them to dump their oil so the rescuers could more readily find them. But at 4:30 the contact with the Clevco ceased and it was never heard from nor seen again.

Early the next morning bodies of two crew members of the Clevco washed ashore near Cleveland, their lifejackets covered in oil. No other crew members were found, living or dead.

Then there is the mysterious disappearance of Captain George Donner.

In April of 1937 the freighter O.M. McFarland left Presque Isle for Port Washington, Wisconsin. The Captain retired to his cabin for the evening and instructed the first mate to notify him when they were nearing their destination.

According to the Cleveland Press of April 29th 1937,

"At 1:15 a.m. (April 29, 1937--J.T.) as the McFarland neared Port Washington, the mate, as instructed, descended to the captain's room to summon him. There was no response to his knocking on the door, so the second officer opened it and peered in, assuming that the captain was merely sleeping heavily. But Captain Donner was not in the bed or anywhere else in sight."

"On the possibility that the captain had walked aft to get coffee or partake of the night lunch, the mate hurried back to the galley, but except for a couple of off-duty firemen finishing a midnight snack, it was deserted. Quickly summoning the other mate and the chief engineer, he organized a thorough search of the McFarland, crew members combing every nook and cranny of the thirty-four year-old vessel. Without a doubt, Captain Donner had disappeared!"
"Ships along the McFarland's route were asked to keep a watch for Donner's body, and the same request was passed on to communities along the shore."

CaptainDonner's body was never found, it was as if he was snatched off the face of the earth.

Was Donner a victim of the Strom Hag?

His disappearance does fit the tradition of the legend.

Is there a demonic entity that lurks at the bottom of Lake Erie near Presque Isle which takes the unwary navigator to their death?

Surely the number of shipwrecks on the lake within recorded history gives one pause.

Are they victims of odd meteorological phenomena or a sinister paranormal entity that holds sway over the area?

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