|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; and other unusual happenings.
George R. Donner
One well-known and oft-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.
Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501
On June 23, 1950, a Northwest Airlines DC-4 aircraft carrying 55 passengers and three crew members was lost in the area of the Michigan triangle. This Flight 2501 had departed from New York City and was due to land at Minneapolis. The last radio contact recorded with the plane indicated 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 because of bad weather near Chicago. Later, considerable light debris, upholstery, and human body fragments were found floating on the surface of the lake, but divers never located the plane's wreckage.
Soviet trainer jet disappears during air show
On July 3, 1998, 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 pilot and passenger on board were never found.