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|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2008)|
The Michigan Triangle is an area of Lake Michigan where unexplained phenomena have reportedly occurred.
According to author Linda S. Godfrey in her book Weird Michigan (2006), the Michigan Triangle is located over central Lake Michigan. One side stretches from the town of Ludington to Benton Harbor in Michigan; another links from Benton Harbor to Manitowoc, Wisconsin; the final side connects Manitowoc back to Ludington.
There are numerous stories of the supposed appearance of strange creatures, unexplained vanishings, time standing still, slowing to a crawl, or speeding up, or other unusual happenings.
One well-known and often repeated case is that of Captain George R. Donner, who commanded the Great Lakes freighter O.S. McFarland. While on a journey back from Erie, Pennsylvania after picking up 9,800 tons of coal, the ship made course westward through the lakes. It was slow going due to late-spring ice floes, but the ship was making steady progress toward its destination, Port Washington, Wisconsin, when Donner disappeared.
On the night of April 28, 1937, the captain took to his cabin, with instructions to be awakened as the ship drew near to port. About three hours later, with Port Washington growing close, the second mate appeared at the captain's cabin, prepared to awaken him, but found no one. He and the crew searched the ship, but the captain was nowhere to be seen. The mate reported that the cabin door was locked from the inside, adding to the mystery of the triangle. Reportedly, the McFarland was 30 mi (48 km) northwest of Ludington, Michigan at the time of Donner's disappearance; Ludington is reputed to be the nexus of the Lake Michigan Triangle.
Another disappearance took place on June 23, 1950, and involved a Northwest Airlines DC-4 aircraft carrying fifty-five passengers and three crew members. This flight 2501 had departed from New York City and was due to land at Minneapolis. The last radio contact recorded with the plane was that it was 3,500 ft (1,100 m) over Battle Creek, Michigan and was going to change its course to a northwesterly path over Lake Michigan, due to bad weather near Chicago. After this, the plane disappeared and could not be raised by radio. Considerable light debris, upholstery, and human body fragments were found floating on the surface, but divers were unable to locate the plane's wreckage.
Once again, the aircraft was in the center of the supposed triangle when it disappeared.
On July 3, 1998, at 1845 eastern daylight time (edt), an Aero Vodochody L-39C, N7868M, operated by a commercial pilot, was reported missing over Lake Michigan, in the vicinity west- northwest of Traverse City, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. There was no flight plan on file. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger on board have not been found. The local flight departed from the Cherry Capital Airport, Traverse City, Michigan, at 1831 edt.