Saturday, March 20

The Mystery Of The Disappearing River Boat Iron Mountain

There are many legends which have developed over the years of planes, boats and the like simply disappearing without trace. Sometimes, however, they may not be quite what they seem.

Take the case of the Iron Mountain Mississippi river boat.

The legend has it that in June 1872 the Iron Mountain (though some writers refer to it as the Iron Maiden) set off with 52 passengers and a cargo of cotton bales. It was also towing a string of barges full of molasses and cotton.

A couple of hours later another riverboat, Iroquois Chief, rounded a bend near Vicksburg and very nearly went headlong into a fleet of barges.

It turned out that the barges were from the Iron Mountain and and the tow rope had been cut - but there was no trace of the Iron Mountain herself.

The legend has it that there was no sight of the riverboat or her passengers and cargo ever again.

Researchers say they found no trace of the Iron Mountain, the riverboat had simply vanished. No explanation was ever found.

But ...

If you are like me you'll probably love to hear of such stories but there is another version of events not quite so well known. It's one the sceptics of anything mysterious will be nodding their heads to in agreement.

The other story tells how the Iron Mountain was at a place called Stumpy Point where she hit an obstacle, that caused a big hole - and the boat sank. The passengers and crew scrambled onto the barges and were all saved except for one unfortunate woman trapped below deck. Her body was found the next day.

Ah but ...

The full wreckage was never found, a few small items were recovered but not the complete wreckage. So, even with this version of events, there is still a bit of a mystery.

You pay your money and take your choice: a mystery or an unfortunate accident?

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  1. Louis L'Amour wrote about the Iron Mountain and many other mysteries in his book the Haunted Mesa.