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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Shipwreck Foreseen in a Dream


"Mrs. Murphy came over to our house first thing in the morning, and she says to my father, 'Hitch up the horses and take me to town. I seen my son Mike in a dream,' she says, 'standing at the foot of my bed when I wake up in the night, and he screams to me I should help him.'"

It was the morning of Sept. 8, 1860. A few hours earlier, at 2:00 a.m., the steamer Lady Elgin, returning from Chicago to Milwaukee, had sunk off Waukegan, Illinois, and Mrs. Murphy's son Mike had gone down with hundreds of other Milwaukee residents in one of Wisconsin's worst disasters.

The story of the Lady Elgin is told in this 1892 article, and you can see contemporary pictures of her at Wisconsin Historical Images. You can see more images of historic ships from the Society's collections at the Great Lakes Maritime History Project, and you can follow the work of our underwater archaeologists at the Wisconsin's Maritime Trails site.

But none of those excellent resources can explain Mrs. Murphy's chilling midnight apparition...


:: Posted in Bizarre Events on August 7, 2008

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