Black Eyed Children of Galloo Island

Lighthouse on Galloo Island

The following account of a BEK encounter was emailed to us by Bruce from Adams Center, NY.

In the 1970s, my parents purchased several acres of land on Galloo Island in Lake Ontario, about twelve miles off the coast of Sackets Harbor, with the intention of building a summer cottage.  Although my father never had a chance to build the cottage, several times each summer we would sail to the island and spend a weekend camping on the northern end.  The camping trips usually consisted of my father, me, and my two brothers, Rich and Timothy.  My mother and my sister, who was just a baby at the time, never accompanied us on these excursions, since my mother wasn't the "seafaring" type.  The men of the family, however, loved going to Galloo Island.

When I was in high school I joined my older brother Rich and his girlfriend Julia on a camping trip to the island.  It was August of 1975 and we were anxious to explore the lighthouse on the southern tip of the island, which for years had been off limits.  The Coast Guard had installed an automated light system a year earlier, which allowed the lighthouse to be operated from a location off-shore.  This meant that we could finally poke around the lighthouse and the crumbling outbuildings, after so many years of curiosity.

That evening, after setting up out tents, the three of us fired up my dad's old kerosene lantern and hiked to the lighthouse.  As we neared the southern tip of the island we stood a bit of a distance away and watched as the light of the lighthouse began to flicker and dim.  Seconds later, a weak but steady rain began to fall.  As thunder rumbled through the dark skies above Rich suggested that we seek shelter, so we ran to the nearest building, which was the tiny red brick fog signal house, which looked like a one-room schoolhouse from the 19th century, fallen to ruin and long abandoned.  We could see that some of the windows were busted and the wooden door was wide open.  As we got to within twenty feet of the building we heard loud scraping noises, like fingernails clawing at the lid of a cheap pine coffin.

Fog signal house on Galloo Island

"I'll go check it out," said Rich with much bravado, probably attempting to impress his girlfriend, who was quite alarmed by the scraping sounds.  He got to within a foot or two of the door and raised the lantern.  "All clear," said Rich after a few seconds.  "Must've been a rat or something".  We rushed inside the brick building and waited out the downpour and something outside the window caught my attention.  It was the lighthouse.  Or, to be more precise, it was the figure of a human being walking up the side of the lighthouse.
A small child appeared to be walking up the side of the structure.  Not climbing, not crawling, but literally walking upright, up the side of the lighthouse with as much casual ease as someone strolling down a sidewalk.  The child's skin was chalky white, with hair to match.  The child's hair was cut in one of those old-fashioned Prince Valiant "pageboy" haircuts, so it was impossible to tell whether it was a boy or a girl, but the strange creature couldn't have been more than four or five years old.  The child's clothing was quite unusual, like something my great-grandparents might have worn when they were young.  "Are you seeing this?" I asked my brother, who just stood there and nodded, not knowing what to say.  "What?  What's out there?" asked Julia, growing increasingly frightened.

"Oh, it's nothing," my brother finally muttered, but Julia pushed him out of the way so she could see what the two of us had been staring at.  By the time she made it to the window, the child was gone.  "I don't see anything," she said.  

"Go away!" came a whisper from out of nowhere.  It seemed to emanate from neither inside the brick building nor outside.  Suddenly, we heard the voice of another child- a girl this time- asking "Who's there?  What do they want?"  The sound a baby's giggling could also be heard, making for three distinct children's voices.  The giggling continued for a few seconds and then gradually faded, as if the three children were walking away.

Just then we heard a pop and lantern went dark.  At the exact same time the dim bulb of the lighthouse flared up to an intense level of brightness and then died back down again.  By this time the three of us were sprinting out of the brick building and running back toward the campsite.  Julia tripped over a boulder and I helped her to her feet. 

"What the hell is that?" she asked, rising to her feet and pointing to a figure standing atop the tiny building we had just left.  It was the child that my brother and I had seen climbing up the lighthouse just seconds before.  The child stood there completely motionless and stared at us, and that's when we noticed the eyes, which were coal black and almond-shaped.  They appeared to be dead and lifeless, yet threatening and sinister at the same time.

"Go away," instructed the hissing voice again, from a location that was neither near nor far away.  I distinctly remember watching the black-eyed child when we heard those words, but the child's lips weren't moving.  The light atop the lighthouse became to flicker rapidly and then we heard something of enormous size splashing in the waters off the shoreline.  By this time we were all so scared that we didn't stick around long enough to investigate; we hightailed it across the island without any light from our dead lantern, slipping and falling on wet rocks along the way. 

Galloo Island is about four miles in length and, being that our campsite was on the other end of the island, it wasn't until sunrise when we made it back to camp.  We had no desire to catch up on sleep, so the three of us packed our equipment, got into the boat, and went back to Sackets Harbor.  Although Rich and Julia ended up getting married and moved into a house across the street from the home I now share with my wife, none of us have ever spoken a word about what we saw to this very day. 

After receiving this story from Bruce, we did some investigating and turned up some startling facts.  One of the worst shipwrecks in the recorded history of Lake Ontario took place on May 29, 1889, involving a steam barge known as the D.D. Calvin, of Kingston, Ontario, which was towing three schooners loaded with timber when the ship was struck by a gale.  One of the schooners, the Bavaria, crashed into Galloo Island, killing nineteen- including nine young children.

According to newspaper reports which appeared the following day:

The worst disaster that has occurred on Lake Ontario in many years took place yesterday.  the steam barge D.D. Calvin of Kingston, with a tow of three schooners with timber from St. Ignacc, was struck by a gale off Long Point.  The tow line parted and the Norway, Valencia and Bavaria were in the trough of the sea.  The two former managed to come to anchor after being water-logged and were picked up by the Calvin and Armenia and brought here.  The crews were perched on cabin tops for twenty-four hours without food and with the waves washing over them, and suffered terribly.

The Bavaria went ashore on Galloo island, sixty miles from here, and the crew were all lost.  They were: Capt. John marshall, wife and three children, of Kingston; First Mate Felix Campau, wife and six children, of Garden island; Second Mate John Snell leaves a widowed mother; William McGarrity, of Garden island; Sandy Berry, Pittsburg; Archy Borley and Elias Borley, of St. Paul's Bay, all seaman and single, and Bella Hartman, cook.