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Old Whitey: A Look Back at a Beloved Horse

The SS Kamloops, a freighter that sank in Lake Superior in 1927, is known for its eerie history and ghostly encounters. The shipwreck is home to the preserved corpse of a crewman, who is said to haunt the ship and the divers who explore it. This crewman is known as “Old Whitey,” and his story has become a local legend.

Despite its tragic past, the SS Kamloops remains a popular destination for divers seeking to explore the shipwreck and the mysteries that surround it. The exact cause of the ship’s sinking remains a mystery, but the presence of Old Whitey’s preserved corpse adds to the intrigue and ghostly lore of the site. Many divers have reported feeling the touch of Old Whitey’s ghostly hand during their explorations, adding to the shipwreck’s reputation as one of the most haunted in the Great Lakes region.

Overall, the story of Old Whitey and the SS Kamloops is a fascinating one that continues to capture the imagination of locals and visitors alike. The preserved corpse of this long-dead crewman serves as a reminder of the ship’s tragic past and the mysteries that still surround it.

Historical Significance

Old Whitey has a rich history and holds a significant place in American history. As a presidential mount, Old Whitey served as a symbol of power and prestige during the presidency of Zachary Taylor.

Presidential Mount

Belonging to President Zachary Taylor, Old Whitey was described as a “compact, hardy, well-proportioned animal, less of a battle-steed in appearance, than of the style usually defined by the phrase ‘family horse,’ slightly knock-kneed, but with a broad chest, a well-arched neck, and a head of fine proportions.” Old Whitey was ridden by General Zachary Taylor during the Mexican War and was pictured on his 1848 campaign posters.

Symbolic Representation

Old Whitey’s significance goes beyond his status as a presidential mount. He also represents the resilience and endurance of the American spirit. Despite facing numerous challenges, Old Whitey remained steadfast and loyal to his country. Old Whitey’s story is a testament to the strength of the American people and their ability to overcome adversity.

In conclusion, Old Whitey’s historical significance cannot be overstated. As a presidential mount and a symbol of American resilience, Old Whitey holds a special place in American history.

Physical Description

Breed Characteristics

Old Whitey is a well-preserved corpse of a crew member who perished in the Kamloops shipwreck, which occurred in 1927. The corpse has been underwater for almost a century, and as a result, it has undergone a process called adipocere, which transformed the flesh into a bright, pure white waxy substance.

Notable Features

Old Whitey’s body is in an incredible state of preservation, given that it has been underwater for almost a century. The body is said to have a waxy appearance, and the facial features are still visible, albeit distorted. The corpse has been nicknamed Old Whitey by divers who explored the shipwreck, and it is considered to be one of the most well-preserved corpses ever found.

The corpse is said to be wearing a blue shirt and brown pants, which are still intact. The hair on the head is also visible, and it is said to be a dark color. The facial features are distorted due to the process of adipocere, which has caused the face to appear bloated and swollen.

In conclusion, Old Whitey’s physical appearance is remarkable, given that it has been underwater for almost a century. The body has undergone a process of adipocere, which has transformed the flesh into a bright, pure white waxy substance. Despite the distortion of the facial features, the body is still recognizable, and it is considered to be one of the most well-preserved corpses ever found.

Cultural Impact

Literature and Lore

Old Whitey, the preserved corpse of the haunted Kamloops shipwreck, has become a popular subject of literature and lore. Many stories and legends have been created around the shipwreck and Old Whitey himself. Some people believe that the ghost of Old Whitey haunts the waters of Lake Superior, while others claim to have seen his ghostly figure walking on the shores of the lake.

In addition to the ghost stories, Old Whitey has also been the inspiration for several books and articles. Some of the most popular works include “The Wreck of the Kamloops” by James Raffan and “The Haunted Shipwreck of the Kamloops” by Mark Bourrie. These books provide a detailed account of the shipwreck and the events that led up to it, as well as the legends and stories that surround Old Whitey.

Artistic Depictions

Old Whitey has also been the subject of many artistic depictions, including paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Many artists have been inspired by the haunting beauty of the Kamloops shipwreck and the preserved corpse of Old Whitey. Some of the most notable works include “Old Whitey” by artist John W. Carlson and “The Ghost of Old Whitey” by sculptor Tom Rudd.

These artistic depictions have helped to keep the legend of Old Whitey alive and have contributed to his cultural impact. They provide a visual representation of the haunting beauty and mystery of the Kamloops shipwreck and the ghostly figure of Old Whitey, allowing people to experience the legend in a new and unique way.

Geographical Origins


Old Whitey, the well-preserved corpse found in the Kamloops shipwreck, was born in Canada’s Atlantic Provinces, primarily Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. These areas are known for their rich maritime history and have been home to many shipwrecks over the years.

Life Journey

Old Whitey’s life journey is shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that he was a crew member on the Kamloops, a cargo ship that sank in Lake Superior in 1927. The ship was carrying a load of wheat, machinery, and other goods when it went down, and Old Whitey’s body was one of the few that remained intact.

After nearly a century underwater, Old Whitey’s body underwent a process called adipocere, which turned his flesh into a bright, pure white waxy substance. Divers who explored the ship were amazed at how well-preserved it was, and even the food on board was found to be in incredible condition.

Today, Old Whitey’s body remains trapped in the downed ship, serving as a haunting reminder of the dangers of the sea and the fragility of human life.

Anecdotes and Stories

Old Whitey is a well-known figure in the Great Lakes region. The preserved corpse has been the subject of many stories and anecdotes, some of which are quite eerie. One such story is that of a group of divers who explored the sunken ship and encountered the ghostly figure of Old Whitey. The divers reported feeling a chill run down their spines as they gazed upon the well-preserved corpse.

Another anecdote involves a group of fishermen who were out on Lake Superior one evening. As they were making their way back to shore, they saw a ghostly figure floating in the water. They quickly realized that it was Old Whitey, the preserved corpse of the SS Kamloops shipwreck. The fishermen reported feeling a sense of unease as they passed by the ghostly figure.

Despite the eerie nature of these stories, Old Whitey has also become somewhat of a local legend. Many people in the Great Lakes region have heard of the preserved corpse and are fascinated by its history. Some even make a point to visit the site of the shipwreck and pay their respects to Old Whitey.

Overall, the stories and anecdotes surrounding Old Whitey serve as a reminder of the power and mystery of the Great Lakes. The region is home to many shipwrecks and other fascinating artifacts, and Old Whitey is just one example of the many mysteries that lie beneath the surface of these vast bodies of water.

Preservation Efforts

Old Whitey, a famous horse ridden by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, has been a significant part of American history. Its story has been passed down from generation to generation, and many have taken steps to preserve its memory.


Several memorials have been erected to honor Old Whitey. One of the most notable is the Old Whitey Memorial in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The monument depicts General Washington on horseback, with Old Whitey at his side. This statue serves as a reminder of the horse’s contribution to the war effort and its significance in American history.

Educational Programs

Educational programs have been created to teach children about the role Old Whitey played in the Revolutionary War. These programs use interactive exhibits and hands-on activities to engage children and make learning about history fun. By teaching children about Old Whitey, educators hope to instill a sense of patriotism and appreciation for American history.

In addition to educational programs, several books have been written about Old Whitey, including “Old Whitey: A Horse’s Tale of the Revolutionary War” by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk. These books provide a detailed account of the horse’s life and its role in the war.

Overall, the preservation efforts surrounding Old Whitey serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving history and honoring those who have contributed to our nation’s past.