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.
to the evidence from the crew, only 86 returned.
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
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.
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".
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.
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.
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
There, it is remembered and, to a certain extent, still