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The Daily News Perth, WA Saturday, April 22, 1899

 

This article is titled:  Crew Saved By A Ghost

 

Many strange incidents occur at sea, but none more so than that which befell Captain Benner, of the brig Mohawk, a small vessel engaged in the West Indies trade.

 

After leaving Saint Thomas, her last port of call, on one voyage the brig was steering a north-westerly course, homeward bound, beating up under short canvas against high winds and heavy seas following in the wake of a hurricane which had traversed the tropics five or six days before. Her captain, who had been some hours on deck, went below at midnight after directing the first officer, who was on watch to keep the course then steered, and to call him in case of any change for the worse in the weather. He lay down upon a sofa in the main cabin, but as the brig's bell struck twice, became conscious of the figure of a man, wearing a green sou'-wester, standing beside him in the dim light of the cabin lamp. Then he heard the words — "Change your course to southwest, captain." Captain Beuner got up and went on deck, where he found that the weather had moderated and that the brig was carrying more sail and making better head way. He asked the mate on duty why he had sent down to call him, to which that officer replied that he had not done so.

 

The captain, fancying that he had been dreaming, went back to the cabin, but he was disturbed soon again by a second visit from the man in the green sou' wester, who repeated his previous order and vanished up the companionway. The captain, now thoroughly aroused, jumped up and pursued the retreating figure, but saw no one until he met the mate on Watch, who insisted that he had not sent any messenger below. Mystified and perplexed, Captain Benner returned to the cabin only to see his singular visitor reappear, to hear him repeat the order to change the course to southwest, with the added warning — "If you do not it will soon be too late and to see him disappear as before.  Going on deck he gave the necessary orders for the change of the ship's, course to south-west. The officers of the brig were not only surprised, but also indignant, and finally determined to seize their captain and put him into irons, when, soon after daybreak, the lookout forward reported some object dead ahead. As the vessel kept on, it was made out to be a ship's boat.  As it ranged abeam it was seen to contain four men lying under its thwarts, one of whom wore a green sou'-wester. The Mohawk was promptly hove to, a boat lowered, and the castaways taken in.

 

The castaways proved to be the captain and three men, the only survivors of the crew of a vessel which had gone down in the hurricane, and they had been drifting helplessly without food for six days. The green sou'-wester was the property of the rescued captain.  A few days later, when he had recovered sufficiently to be able to leave his berth, he was sitting one day in the main cabin of the brig with Captain Benner. He suddenly asked his host whether he believed in dreams.  "Since I have been here," he continued, "I have been thinking how familiar this cabin looks. I think that I have been here before. In the night before you picked me up, I dreamed that I came to you here in this cabin and told you to change your course to southwest. The first time you took no notice of me, and I came the second time in vain, but the third time you changed your course, and I woke to find your ship alongside of us."

 

Then, Captain Benner, who had noticed the resemblance of the speaker to his mysterious visitor, told his own story of that night.