Ghost ships the Queen Mary

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The Queen Mary

    Bigger than the Titanic, The Queen Mary was the pride of the Cunard Lines.  She carried many distinguished guests, and during WWII was converted to carry troops to the front.  It was during one of these troop carrying missions that one of the most horrific episodes of her history occurred.  On October 2, 1942 the Queen Mary was rounding Ireland on the last leg of her journey.  At this time, she was joined by the HMS Curacoa and 6 destroyers as she was within Luftwaffe range.  The Queen Mary was zig zagging in her course to make it difficult for U-boats in the area to target her.  Because of the zig zag pattern, the Curacoa and the destroyers were told to stay ahead of the Queen Mary.  The turbulence from all of the ships made a heavy wash and forced the ships to make minor adjustments in their courses.

    Down in engine and fire rooms of the Queen Mary, a slight bump was felt.  No one thought anything of it as the ship was unscathed and kept on its course.  The "bump" was the HMS Curacoa.  The slight change in course caused the Queen Mary to nudge the Curacoa's stern, sending the ship into the path of the massive ocean liner.  Because the orders were to continue on no matter what, the Queen Mary did not stop and snapped the HMS Curacoa in two.  Of 439 men aboard 338 were lost.

    In October of 1967, The Queen Mary made her way to Long Beach, CA where she was going to be converted into a floating hotel.  During the transition between ship and hotel, strange things began happening. 

    A secretary was walking passed the engine room when she heard a clanging noise as if a worker was in there doing some repairs.  She went in to investigate and the noise immediately stopped.  The woman went on her way and the noise started again.  As she started to enter the engine room again, the noise stopped.  The woman fled the area.

     Another incident occurred in the area of the boat which housed the swimming pool.  No one was allowed in that area of the ship, and the pool was completely drained.  However, next to the pool was a woman dressed in a one piece bathing suit that looked to be from the early 1950's.  The woman was about ready to dive into the empty pool.  The crewmember yelled for the woman to stop and she disappeared.  Later, while checking the ship's records, the crewmember discovered that a woman had drowned in the swimming pool.

    And yet another story comes from watertight door number 13.  A guard was patrolling that area with his dog when he heard a noise coming from door number 13.  The dog stopped and refused to move any further.  They searched the area but found nothing.  Archives show that a man by the name of John Pedder was crushed and killed by watertight door number 13.  Several years later, a guide felt a presence behind her.  She turned and saw a young man standing there behind her.  The apparition was there only a few seconds before disappearing.  The guide later picked John Pedder's photo out of a line up.  She was not aware of the tragic death occurring at door 13.

    Many unexplained things happen aboard The Queen Mary.  Hatches and doors open by themselves in the hours after midnight, sounds are heard in various areas of the ship, wet footprints have appeared along the empty pool, and the ship's first captain who died aboard the ship is seen pacing the bridge.

    Most spine chilling is an incident that occurred during the trip into California.  A marine engineer aboard was in the bow below deck when he heard the voices of panicked men screaming in horror.  Then he heard the sound of crunching metal being ripped apart and the sound of rushing water.  The same noises have been heard occasionally since the ship has been permanently berthed.  Is this the accident of the Curacoa being relived again?

    Skeptical?  The Queen Mary is now a floating hotel complete with onsite ghost tours.  Go check it out.

Mary Celeste

    Launched in 1860 under the name Amazon, the Mary Celeste started her ill fated life.  In the 10 years before she was to become the Mary Celeste, the ship was involved in several accidents and went through several owners.  She was sent to the New York salvage auction where she was purchased for $3,000.  After extensive repairs, she was christened Mary Celeste.

    The new captain Benjamin Briggs, his wife, and young daughter, along with 8 crew members departed New York on November 7, 1872 bound for Genoa, Italy.  The cargo consisted of 1700 barrels of raw American alcohol.

    On December 5, 1872, the ship Dei Gratia came upon the Mary Celeste floundering on the sea.  The captain of the Dei Gratia knew Captain Briggs and was surprised to see the ship derelict as Briggs had a reputation as an excellent captain.  Men from the Dei Gratia boarded the abandoned Mary Celeste to determine what was going on.

    The ship was found in good seaworthy condition.  It appeared as though the crew had left in a great hurry.  They discovered that the chronometer and sextant were missing.  There was water between the decks and the Galley was in bad shape.  The stove was knocked out of place and cooking utensils were strewn about.  There were no lifeboats aboard the ship and everything was soaked.  A rope was found hanging over the side of the ship trailing in the water.

    The crew from the Dei Gratia managed to get the Mary Celeste into port.  When the cargo was unloaded, they found 9 of the barrels of alcohol empty.

    What happened to the crew of the Mary Celeste?  Some feel that the cargo became unstable and that the captain decided to trail behind the ship in the lifeboat until such time that it was safe to board.  However, for some reason, the ship outdistanced the lifeboat leaving the crew helpless on the sea. 

    Another theory involves foul play.  However, no evidence was ever found to prove that.  Still others think that the ship was caught in the middle of a seaquake.  And still others claim the crew was eaten by sharks during a swim.

    Whatever the reason, the story of the Mary Celeste stills fascinates people.  Something about the image of a ship sailing alone, the crew and captain missing..... without a trace.

Wreck of the Titan

    On April 14, 1912, the huge "unsinkable" ship the Titanic was steaming across the Atlantic towards New York.  This was the Titanic's maiden voyage, and her captain was encouraged to break the record for speed while making the voyage. As most people know, after striking an iceberg, the unsinkable ship went down in only a matter of hours.  Out of the 2,201 passengers, only 711 were saved.   Since then, there have been many books and movies about the Titanic

    There was one fictional story written by a merchant seaman by the name of Morgan Robertson.  Robertson's book was about an unsinkable passenger liner that sank while carrying the elite people of the time.  The ship in Robertson's story was called the Titan and the book was titled The Wreck of the Titan.  Even though the book is fictitious, the events in the story parallel the events of the Titanic.  Both ships were built to be unsinkable.  Both ships sank after striking an iceberg.  Both ships were on their maiden voyage.  The most well to do famous people were on the Titan and Titanic.  Only one third of the passengers on each ship survived.  Both ships had an inadequate number of lifeboats.  Both ships were encouraged to break speed records during their voyage. 

    Robertson's book The Wreck of the Titan was never published.  Each time it was rejected by editors, they told him the same thing.  The story was unbelievable.  Surely the events he wrote of could not possibly happen to an unsinkable ship.

    The book, The Wreck of the Titan was written in 1898, fourteen years before the Titanic hit an iceberg and settled on the bottom of the northern Atlantic.

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