The first documented sighting was in 1786. It occured at Sea Cow Head Lighthouse. The keeper, in horror, saw a three-masted schooner, sails full and swollen by the terrible winds of a northeast gale, drove in closer and closer to the treacherous rocks at the base of the cliffs. Just as it seemed utterly hopeless, the ship turned into the storm and was lost to sight in the rain squall.
Another sightiang took place in January of 1988. A burning ship was spotted just off Borden from the ferry. The ship's radar was directed at the vision, but it was not detected on the instruments.
Captain Angus Brown of Wood Islands remembered that he and a crew had taken the ferry Prince Nova out from Wood Islands one night to help a ship that appeared to be burning. As they approached, it suddenly vanished. The same night, a couple near Glengarry saw the buring full-rigged ship from their bedroon window. It was sailing northward at impossible speed. They didn't raise alarm as they knew what it was, but they were able to watch it for more then an hour.
Many boatsmen have set out to the ship, either with the intention to rescue, or to solve the mystery of the shiop. A fisheries' patrol vessel sighted it off the west end of the Island, but even with the speed of modern vessels, it couldn't catch the elusive ship.
One time a group of men, including the late John P. MacLean, were working at their jobs in the port of Charlottetown, when word was received of a ship in peril in the Charlottetown Harbour. It was a large three-masted sailing vessel which was ablaze from bow to stern. The crew were seen frantically running from one side to the other in efforts to stop the many blazes on the vessel. A rescue boat began rowing to the scene in hopes of saving the men, but before they could arrive, must engulfed the burning ship and she was never seen again although a thorough search was made.
There is no explanation for the phantom ship, just numerous theories as to how she came to be. The most common is that a pirate made a pact with the Devil to protect and hide his treasure from discovery. In return, the captain and his crew were to sail forever on the buring ship. It is said that the pact was made when the ship, which had been fired upon, was burning to the waterline and would sink to the bottom taking all hands and the treasure in her holds. Thier fate was, many felt, just revenge for the terrible deeds they had done in their days of piracy on the high seas.