Stirring the Cauldron
Frankenstein Day passed on Monday without incident. All Hallows Eve came Tuesday. The official “Days of the Dead” on Wednesday and Thursday. So, where do we go from here? We need a draw Mohammed contest or something in Texas to bring balance to the force. LSP, can you step up and organize it for us? It’s been done before in the Lone Star State, and things worked out.
** “Several female competitors dropped out of a jiu-jitsu tournament last weekend out of fear for their safety. The women were being forced to fight against transgender women. Including men in the women’s competition made the women feel scared and unsafe during the matches.”
** In London: Met police are tearing down posters of the Israelis kidnapped by Hamas so as not to “flare racial tensions.” Meanwhile across the capital Palestinian flags fly from lampposts.” – riddle me that one.
** None of the countries that voted in favor of a UN resolution pushing a ceasefire have offered to take in any Gazan/Palestinian civilians. None have called for Hamas to surrender to Israel, which would end the conflict immediately. (note: Russia could take in the 2 million Gazan Palestinians and repurpose them as soldiers on the Ukrainian front.)
Hamas displays the height of cynicism. It’s like the man who kills his parents and throws himself at the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.
From the Days of Fighting Sail
Because it’s Freaky Friday…
The case of the Mignonette
In 1844, an Australian lawyer John Henry Want, eager to impress his fellow sailors back home, bought an aging but primarily British yacht named Mignonette in England. There he found a crew to sail the ship from Southampton to Sydney, inadvertently securing the fate of four men: Thomas Dudley, Edwin Stephens, Edmund Brooks and Richard Parker.
Sketch of English Yacht Mignonette by Tom Dudley (1853-1900)
As the Mignonette sailed towards the Cape of Good Hope, a fierce storm blew up. The yacht, built of rotten wood, sank within minutes. In their haste, the four sailors took refuge in a four-metre long dinghy with two cans of turnips but no water. The dinghy drifted westwards, towards South America, some 3,000 kilometres away. But without water, the continent offered little salvation. Days turned into weeks, and the men grew weaker and weaker. In such desperate situations, sailors invoke the seafaring custom of casting lots to decide who will be sacrificed for food so that their comrades can survive.
Rather than leave it to chance, Captain Dudley and his first mate Stephens decided that Parker, a 17-year-old orphan and Cabin Boy who had become delirious after drinking seawater, was the obvious choice. Dudley stabbed Parker to death, and the three remaining men feasted on the young man’s flesh. Only four days later, the German Bark Montezuma rescued the survivors.
Back in England, Dudley and Stephens were convicted of murder, although they were not the first sailors to resort to cannibalism. What set them apart, however, was that they departed from the customs of the sea by deciding for themselves which man should be killed and eaten – a presumptuous decision that Victorian England considered too encroaching and against all ethics and morals. But the survivors’ story of desperation and the fact that Parker would probably have died anyway eventually aroused public sympathy, and Dudley and Stephens were spared the death penalty. They only had to serve six months in prison for killing the teenager.
What happened to Dudley and Stephens was enshrined in an infamous precedent in England that the taking of a life can never be justified – even if it is to save one’s own life – and since then, compulsory cannibalism at sea has also been punishable – because it need not always be the case that the victim had already died before being eaten. A fact that had always been disregarded in other cases at the time and the people involved had therefore always been acquitted.
The Flying Dutchman
The Ghost ship is one of the most prevasive legends of the sea and one of the famous ones is The Flying Dutchman. According to legend, the Flying Dutchman is a phantom ship doomed to sail the open seas and oceans for infinity, never being able to return home. The myth can be traced back to 17th-century nautical folklore that was heavily nurtured by superstitious beliefs of all sorts among sailors. Early written accounts of the Flying Dutchman are dated to the 18th century and alleged sighting of this otherworldly vessel was well reported through most of the 19th and 20th centuries, too.
The Flying Dutchman by Charles Temple Dix
To what extent the Flying Dutchman is a myth, a legend or literary material can hardly be defined. Above all, the tradition of the legend can hardly be separated from its literary interpretation. It is assumed that the legend is rooted in the oral tradition of seafarers and thus represents a kind of sailor’s yarn.
At the core of the legend is a captain who, through his own fault, carries a curse on himself. This forces him to continue sailing until the Day of Judgement if he does not find redemption by some special circumstance. There is often little distinction between the figure of the captain and the ship, so it is unclear whether the captain is called the Flying Dutchman or whether it is the name of the ship.
The Flying Dutchman, by Robert Cruikshank for Edward Fitzballs “The Flying Dutchman; or The Phantom Ship
The Flying Dutchman takes on a concrete form as Hendrik Vanderdecken (Van der Decken) in 1641. He was captain of the East India Company and was just on his way from Holland to the Cape of Good Hope. Then according to nautical folklore, a great storm arose and the captain scoffed at the tempest and blasphemed. Suddenly a cloud opened up and a celestical figure descended on the deck. The captain fired a gun at apparition, which put a terrible curse on him – to wander the oceans ceaselessly with neither rest or fine weather, the sight of his ship bringing misfortune to all who see it. There are later extensions to the legend that he is allowed to come ashore for a day every few years (sometimes 5, sometimes 10) and if he then found a woman who truly loved him, he would be redeemed.
It is said the he visits passing ships. Sometimes he send letters on board and if the captain reads them he is lost; he goes mad and his ship dances in the air, then pitches violently before sinking. Vanderdecken also leads ships on to the rocks, turns wine into vingear and rots food aboard. The Flying Dutchman is a master of disguise, changing six times a day so as not ot be recognised. Sometimes it is a heavy Dutch Vessel, at other times a light corsair.
The supposed truth content is again based on sightings, and these have existed since the 17th century, as already mentioned.
The Flying Dutchman, wood engraving, late 19th century
Prominent amongst these reports of sightings is the one seen by the HMS Bacchante, a British Royal Naval vessel, in the year 1881. Prince George V, who was serving as a midshipman as a part of the vessel crew, is said to have sighted the ghost ship in the Australian waters at around 4’o clock in the morning. And, while the Prince did not encounter any fatality, the seafarer who had first reported about the ghost vessel sighting, met his end after falling down from the top-mast, lending further credibility about the ominous sighting of the vessel among the seafarers of yore. This sighing of Flying Dutchman can reportedly be found in the Admiralty’s official publications in The Cruise of H.M.S. Bacchante.
In another incident, a British vessel came near having a collision with the so-called ghost ship on a stormy night of 1835, when the vessel was approaching under full sail, but vanished suddenly. The other popular incident occurred in 1939 when a group of people at Glencairn Beach in Cape Town reported seeing the haunted vessel sailing toward shore under full sail, before disappearing soon. The latest sighting of the vessel was reported during World War ll. According to reports, a German submarine boat, under the command of Nazi admiral Karl Dönitz, sighted the Flying Dutchman during their voyage through the east of Suez. However, at present, the oceanic realm seems to be quiet with respect to the sighting of the Dutchman though its allure has not lessened in any manner whatsoever.
Concept art of the Dutchman by Jeremy Love
Now legends have a spark of truth and it could be that this legend is based on a 17th century Frisian-born Dutch captain named Bernard Fokke, who sailed the seas for the Dutch East India Company. He was known for the incredible speed with which he completed his voyages from the Dutch ports to Java, Indonesia. In one case in 1678, he allegedly covered this distance in no more than 3 months and 10 days to deliver a supply of letters to the Dutch governor. Such fast journeys made some people suspect that the captain was helped by the devil.
A 19th century book illustration, showing grossly misleading fictional versions of superior mirages. Actual mirages can never be that far above the horizon, and a superior mirage can never increase the length of an object as shown on the right
What exactly is behind it cannot be said but this legend has inspired many people including Marryat and Disney. There is a lot of speculation about what it might be and one possible explanation why everyone sees the ship flying or suddenly disappearing, is a mirage.
Identify the Armor (be specific)