Many stories have been told by young and old about this “Phanthom ship” of the Baie des Chaleurs. The burning ship if you were unlucky enough to see it, was to bring you bad luck.
In 1875, and again 5 years later, a wall of fire or what was then called a “fire storm” was spotted off the shores of Grand Anse NB, (just below Bathurst). It burned on the waters for over 2 hours. It was also seen by thousands of people in nearby Caraquet.
In 1887 it is said to have been spotted again, by a sea captain, a burning ship, but with no men this time.
I beleive it was in 1919 or 20 that it was seen again near Grand Anse and the next morning some fishing boats off Miscou Island were caught in a storm and many who were from Caraquet lost their lives.
In 1924, a large Schooner was seen on the Baie des Chaleurs in daylight, it was floating among some ice and seemed to be sending distress signals. A few phone calls were made, some local ships went out trying to help but with the heavy ice couldn’t get out to her, and the ice is supposed to have carried it out of the Bay. No one ever could find records of a ship that was supposed to be in this area and none was expected. Could it have been the Phanthom?
In 1838 a ship called “Lady Colbourne” was wrecked off the Gaspe coast shores and many blame her for the sitings of the “Phanthom”.
The “Lady Coulbourne” was out of England and carried gold, spices, wine, silver etc..it carried little over 50 people and there were very few survivors (7 only). It carried people such as James Elliot Hudson (he survived along with the eldest daughter), Lady Hudson (her body was washed up on the shores of Caraquet) and their 11 children, W.M.Walker, Joseph Jones Ackinson (Acteson) (also a survivor) and many others .
Winds carried the wreck across the bay to New Brunswick along with its cargo and debris. Some of the cargo was recovered but a lot of the gold and wine never made it to its destination. It is said there was a huge cargo of gold which was destined to pay for salaries of British troops in Quebec. Could the Chaleur Phanthom be the ghost of the “Lady Coulbourne”?
Other tales tell of a pirate ship which had taken an indian maiden prisoner and she cast a spell on it. It would have later burned in the Bay and those who have seen the burning “Phanthom” on the river or bay, swear they saw people on this ship, some jumping off the ship, others screaming loudly.
Some men of Jacquet River are to have seen this burning ship on the water, with men running all over the deck and a woman in the front with extended arms.
It was spotted, by a group of people, off Petit Rocher and again just down river from Bathurst. On both occasions, it was a burning ship with sailors and women on deck going about their business.
One ship captain reports having seen the burning ship with men with blue uniforms on it.