Lake Michigan Triangle Shipwrecks: Le Griffon

underwater shipwreck

A triangular section of Lake Michigan has been home to sunken ships, crews that vanish, and missing aircraft for centuries. While the many stories are enough to scare both seasoned sailors and inexperienced travelers, the Lake Michigan Triangle is also known for numerous UFO sightings and unexplained lights.

The Lake Michigan Triangle stretches from Ludington, Michigan to Benton Harbor, Michigan, and Manitowoc (Wisconsin), and countless stories of missing boats have originated here. However, it is the disappearance of a ship named Le Griffon hundreds of years ago that likely began the mystery surrounding the Lake Michigan Triangle.

Le Griffon Disappears Without a Trace

One of the most intriguing stories is about the Great Lakes’ oldest shipwrecks. Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, a French explorer, oversaw construction of Le Griffon. This massive ship, designed for fur hauling, left Niagara on its way to Michilimackinac – an outpost in the Straits of Mackinaw – in August 1679.

According to historians, however, the ship was pursuing greater a greater purpose, something bigger than just going to the outpost. It wanted to find a northwest passage to China. Le Griffon never saw land again, lost to what would later become the Lake Michigan Triangle.

Steve Libert, a researcher, discovered what he claimed was Le Griffon’s bowsprit beneath the waters of Lake Michigan in 2001. The spar was intricately designed and featured sculptures of mythical creatures that were half lion and half eagle. Libert’s discovery has not been confirmed to be remains of Le Griffon, and nothing else has been found since.

The stories of the Lake Michigan Triangle are still being told today. Although most ships can navigate the Great Lakes today without any problems, the legend still brings an uneasiness to the minds of many superstitious travelers and sailors navigating these treacherous waters.