One of my more rewarding hobbies is trolling for signs of the Mythos in actual historical events. We may be comforted by the idea that the world is a rational, logical place, but in reality it's filled with things that defy explanation. Unless, of course, one accepts that not everything Lovecraft wrote was fiction.
I bring your attention to the Daily East Oregonian of June 21, 1921. The headline story concerns the disappearance of five ships in a matter of months from the same area off the east coast. Read on and you'll see that even more ships were actually involved. In addition to the sulfur carriers Hewitt, Sabine, and Texas the steamer William O'Brien, British cargo ship Albyan, and Russian barque Yuto all vanished into thin air. A seventh ship, the Carroll A. Deering, was discovered run aground on the shore with no sign of the crew to be found. The only clue to their fate was a note alleging they were taken prisoner by an oil-burning pirate ship. That would later turn out to be a hoax.
What really happened? Localized, violent storms? Ships suddenly sinking because of a methane bubble release from the sea floor? Or a colony of Deep Ones off the coast of Hatteras looking for some new blood? Who can say. But if you're playing "Call of Cthulhu" this is a perfect adventure hook for investigators.
Right click on the newspaper and open the link in a new tab to get the low-resolution image. You can download the high resolution PDF of the page over here.