About Orkney
 About the Site
 Search Site 
  The Sorcerous Finfolk

The Eynhallow riddle

Mythical Island: 3D Graphics by Sigurd Towrie

On Saturday, July 14, 1990, an outing, organised by the Orkney Heritage Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, landed a number of ferry passengers on the uninhabited island of Eynhallow for a short visit.

As usual the crew counted the number of passengers upon disembarking. Eighty-eight visitors stepped from the boat and onto the soil of the once magical island.

According to the evidence from the crew, only 86 returned.

These two missing passengers sparked off a massive air and sea search. Men from the local police and coastguard scoured the island as well as the coastlines of the islands nearby.

To no avail. In the air a helicopter dispatched by the Shetland Coastguard swept the area with their heat-sensing equipment but nothing was found.

Needless to say the whole incident was blamed on the ferry crew miscounting the number of passengers but at the time the Chief Inspector of the Kirkwall Police was not so sure. "We have corroborative statements from the crew Members...it's a strange one." he said.

As you will see elsewhere on this site, the island of Eynhallow was once thought to be the ancestral summer home of the Finfolk before they were forced from it by farmer from Evie. Thereafter the island was named "Eynhallow" from the Old Norse for "Holy Island".

The Eyhallow incident had some of the older Orcadian folk murmuring about the old ways and whether the missing "tourists" might actually be none other than Finmen returning to their ancient home.

Others sat together and discussed whether the missing passengers had perhaps been stolen away by the sea dwellers, for as they knew already, a Finwife was destined to grow old and repulsive unless she could obtain a human husband. The husband did not necessarily have to be a willing partner.

The mystery was never solved.

But whatever happened, the Eynhallow incident served to prove that although it may seem that the people of Orkney have been swamped by the modern magic of television, radio, cinema and video, the islands' ancient lore remains - bubbling just out of sight beneath the surface of everyday life.

There, it is remembered and, to a certain extent, still feared.

Section Contents
The Finfolk

See Also

Back a page