The Maitland Daily Mercury Wednesday, October 23, 1895


This article is titled:  Strange Stories of the Sea.


In February 1876, the Marie Celeste, an American merchant vessel, put out from New York for Villefranche, having on board thirteen passengers, including the captain's wife and daughter. Sometime afterward she was sighted off Gibraltar by a French steamer. The French captain surveyed her through his glass but could discern no signs of life on her. He, therefore, sent a boat out.  A search was made, but not a soul was found on board.  On the cabin table was a half-finished meal; a piece of needlework was found unfinished. The captain's watch and compasses lay upon his room table, and there was a plentiful supply of water on board, but as to why and where the crow had gone was an inscrutable mystery. With considerable difficulty, a crow was mustered to convoy to the craft to her destination. The consuls at every port were informed of the circumstance, but, though 19 years have elapsed, during which diligent inquiry has been instituted, no clue has been discovered as to the whereabouts of the crew of the Marie Celeste.


An old sea captain tells the following curious story about a mysterious warning he once received : —  I was chief mate on board the Panmure, of Dundee. We were running towards Cape Town, expecting to sight the rocks,  Diego Ramirez next morning. At eight o'clock in the morning I took charge of the deck. The captain, before going below, ordered me to clew up and furl the royals. I went to the poop to give the necessary order, when a mysterious voice somewhere above me in her air said very distinctly, 'Don't clew up the royals until ten o'clock.' I walked back again, determined that I would obey what I certainly regarded as a warning voice.  At ten o'clock, I gave the order to clew up the Royals. The men who went aloft to furl the fore royal had hardly got the word when they reported land right ahead. We had just time to haul the ship close to the wind on the port tack. Another few minutes and she would have struck, and in all probability would never have been heard of again, At the time there was a slight mist hanging about the horizon, -which had prevented the rocks from being seen from the deck. But the man aloft had been able to look over it.


One of this most curious coincidences in connection with the sea was in relation to the wreck of the Kent. The main portion of the passengers on board when the vessel caught fire in the Bay of Biscay consisted of troops, Colonel McGregor being in command, and the 'youngest amongst the saved was the gallant colonel's infant son, who afterward became the famous' Rob Roy.' Almost immediately before leaving the sinking ship Colonel McGregor, in the event of no other tidings reaching land, wrote a brief message of the disaster and enclosing it in a bottle, cast the letter into the sea, The gallant officer, however, with the majority of those on board, were amongst the saved, and shortly afterward received an appointment in the West Indies, Nearly four years later, whilst taking a walk upon the beach near Jamaica, he noticed a bottle being washed ashore, and when at length he secured it and broke it, his surprise may be imagined to find that it contained the identical message which he had written onboard the Kent, and cast into the Bay of Biscay.



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