Connect with us

Fact or fiction

Don’t Mock the Mummy: Lessons in Risk Assessment from the Mary Celeste and the S.S. Amazon

Don’t Mock the Mummy: Lessons in Risk Assessment from the Mary Celeste and the S.S. Amazon 86

The central truth of most horror movies is that their protagonists behave as if they’ve never seen a horror movie, which is of course what made the Scary Movie franchise moderately amusing.  A dangerous liaison with a pretty girl in the woods at the abandoned summer camp known for suspicious deaths will inevitably end in impalement.  The monster you thought you just killed invariably will require an additional head shot to finish the job.  If local legend suggests the creepy mansion that hosted a murder spree is haunted, it’s probably haunted.  If the last six people who laughed at the mummy’s curse died horrible deaths, don’t mock the mummy.  The history of the human race vis-à-vis supernatural phenomena is the very definition of insanity as described by Albert Einstein i.e. “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  I imagine if irrational optimism when faced with improbably low survivability was not an innate human quality, wooly mammoth hunting would never have taken off the way that it did, but archaeological authorities assure me that the people who came up with the Clovis point couldn’t get a decent life insurance policy, so a certain lack of actuarial awareness on their part is forgivable, whereas modern man has the cultural advantage of casinos and online gambling to teach us about risk assessment, statistics, and probability.  Historically, when it comes to the paranormal, we don’t seem capable of internalizing the lesson.   We will merrily rebuild the suburban development on the Native American graveyard, even when the last folks were chased away by poltergeists.  Deals with the devil have never ended well, yet people keep making them.  While those who are ignorant of history may indeed be doomed to repeat it, apparently, even when we know the history, we are still doomed to repeat it.  For those of you who remember your standardized testing syllogisms, that means we are doomed regardless.  Just saying.  When it comes to avoiding recurrent, unnatural bad mojo we never seem to learn, and there are few better examples of this than the great maritime mystery of one of the world’s best known ghost ships, the Mary Celeste.

For those of us strange folks interested in things like ghost ships, the facts surrounding the Mary Celeste are fairly well known.  In 1872, the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company insured a cargo for the Mary Celeste, and reported the details of the incident.  The insurance company dismisses a few of the journalistic embellishments that were added to the story by over-enthusiastic reporters who couldn’t resist the notion of a modern Flying Dutchman, but can still offer no explanation why the well-captained, seaworthy Mary Celeste appeared floating aimlessly off the Straits of Gibraltar, one month after leaving New York, with no sign of crew or passengers, no missing cargo, and no indication of foul play (except of course the vanished crew who never were seen again).

In November 1872, this Company insured $3400 on Freight or Charter of the American Brigantine “Mary Celeste.” This vessel has been the subject of more attention at the hands of the imaginative school of writers than any other vessel known to maritime history. For those who are more interested in facts than conjectures, the following details taken from the Company’s own records and other authoritative sources will be of interest. The “Mary Celeste,” a brigantine of about 282 tons register (formerly a single-decked brig called the “Amazon”) was built in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia in May 1861. She sailed from New York on November 7, 1872 for Genoa, Italy with a cargo consisting of 1700 bbls. Alcohol, valued at $37,000, belonging to Meissner, Ackerman & Co. of 48 Beaver Street, New York City. The cargo was insured abroad but the Freight interest was covered by the Atlantic and other local companies. The vessel was owned in part by J. H. Winchester & Co. of this city and partly by her master, Capt. Benjamin S. Briggs of Marion, Mass., who was accompanied on this ill-fated voyage by his wife and two-year old daughter. On Dec. 4th in Lat 38° 20′ North and Long 17° 30′ West she was discovered out of control and with no one on board, by the Nova Scotian Brig “Dei Gratia” under the command of Capt. David Reed Morehouse, and taken to Gibraltar. The United States Consul at that port, Horatio L. Sprague, in his report made at the time to the State Department at Washington, thoroughly disposes of the uncertainty as to whether or not any boats were found on the deserted “Mary Celeste.” His communication reads as follows: “No ships papers were found on board except the log-book which has entries up to 22nd or 23rd ulto. (i. e., Nov. 22 or 23) nor were any boats found on board.” A number of writers in their efforts to create a dramatic situation deemed it necessary to cast aspersions on the character of Captain Briggs and his crew. For this reason, the ends of maritime justice may be served by quoting further from Consul Sprague’s report to the U. S. Government in which it is stated that Captain Briggs was “well-known” and “bore the highest character for seamanship and correctness.” Moreover, all the available information regarding Mate Richardson and the other members of the crew inspires confidence rather than otherwise. Various and ingenious have been the theories to account for the disappearance of the entire ship’s company, not one of whom, so far as is now known, survived to clear up this unfathomed mystery of the sea (Atlantic Mutual Insurance, 1932, p43-44).

Now, if you were paying attention, you’ll note that the American brigantine Mary Celeste, built in 1861, was formerly the British-Canadian S.S. Amazon, renamed when she was purchased by American investors in 1868.  I’m no salty sea-dog, but even in my unabashed land-lubberiness, I know that it’s considered a really bad idea to change the name of a ship, somewhat akin to poking a hungry tiger with a short stick.  Basically, every ship that is named, or so the superstition goes, gets its name written down in Neptune’s Ledger from the Deep.  Neptune doesn’t like to have incomplete records, and really hates to erase, thus changing the name of a ship is likely to incur the wrath of the sea god (and there are extensive rituals required to inform Neptune of your intentions, which one can assume if unobserved, do not presage a safe voyage).  Were this the only instance of tempting fate in the checkered history of the Mary Celeste, one would be inclined to ignore the breach, assuming that seasoned sailors took the proper precautions.  The entire history of the Mary Celeste is fraught with astonishingly bad luck, disasters, and deaths, suggesting that if ever there was a “cursed” vessel, this was it.  And that was even before she was rechristened and sailed off into maritime mythology as a spooky ghost ship.

The Mary Celeste began life in 1861 as the single-deck, 198 ton, 99 foot S.S. Amazon, the first large ship to be built at Nova Scotia’s Spencer’s Island Ship Yard.  Conflicting reports emerged from the day the ship was launched, many locals maintaining that she refused to budge for days when the shipyard first attempted to float her, comments particularly attributed to the son of the shipbuilder Joshua Dewis (who himself disputed the fact).  Spencer’s Island, actually a peninsula on the Bay of Fundy, had no shortage of nautical creepiness associated with it, including the ghost ship Baltimore that in 1735 mysteriously appeared in Chebogue Harbor, and remained there at anchor for many years.  We can’t assume that the historical presence of blood-soaked ghost boats in the neighborhood by default portended an unfortunate future for ship-building on the Bay of Fundy.  Or maybe, if we are keen on avoiding getting pimp-slapped by maritime phantoms, we can.

More than a century before Amazon was built, a similar brigantine had haunted Fundy waters.  In December of 1735, residents of Chebogue awoke one morning to find a silent ship anchored in their harbor.  For nearly the entire day, townsfolk stood on the shore watching for signs of life aboard the brig.  By that afternoon when a small boat was launched to investigate, locals were already speculating on the supernatural powers that had steered the empty vessel into their harbor.  The ship was called the Baltimore, and the men in the skiff soon discovered evidence to fuel their superstitious notions: the ship’s deck was awash with blood…the Baltimore soon came to be known as the “Death Ship”.  No one wanted to buy it, sail it, or even go aboard.  For seven years it swung at anchor in Chebogue Harbor, until Yarmouth County officials finally ordered it towed to sea and burned.  Later locals learned that the Baltimore was actually a prisoner ship that had sailed from Ireland.  The inmates had broken loose, killed the captain and crew, and then each other (Hicks, 2004, p21).

The early history of the Mary Celeste (nee S.S. Amazon) was rather disturbingly inauspicious, even before it elected to eat its passengers and crew in 1872.  The first captain, Robert McLellan, died of pneumonia nine days into the Amazon’s initial attempted voyage (the first of three captains who would die on the ship).  The next captain to take over, John Nutting Parker hulled the ship in a collision with a fishing boat and had to sail back to the shipyard, where of course an unexplained fire broke out on the ship.  Parker was dismissed.  On her first crossing of the Atlantic, the Amazon crashed into and sunk a two-master in the Straits of Dover, requiring extensive repairs and a new captain.  After a few unprofitable and reportedly uneventful years, in 1867 she ran aground off Cow Bay, Nova Scotia.  The Amazon was pulled off the rocks, salvaged, sold off to Richard Haines of New York at a bargain basement price of $1750, and re-registered as the American vessel Mary Celeste.  The ship was pretty heavily damaged after its wreck in Nova Scotia, and was subsequently rebuilt, emerging in 1868 as its new incarnation as a two-decked, 282 ton, 107 foot brigantine destined to sail for the Adriatic.  Sailing in the 19th century was not exactly a cakewalk, but this was an inordinate amount of misfortune to befall one ship.  The point is that someone should have noticed that Mary Celeste had a rather unpleasant habit of ruining the careers of its captains, losing money for its owners, spontaneously combusting, and participating in all manner of nautical disasters.

Call it a firm belief in American exceptionalism, but the new American owners of the Mary Celeste clearly surmised, despite the evidence, that Canadians just didn’t know how to sail, rather than the far more obvious assumption that the ship was evil and homicidal.  There is no clear record why the ship was named Mary Celeste, but given its track record, I think we have to assume that it was probably some unfortunate’s lost love, given that yet another major superstition when it comes to naming ships is that one should avoid naming it after an engaged woman, as this will make the ship jealous, and it will proceed to try to kill you.  Ignoring all the obvious warning signs, in November 1872, well-respected Captain Benjamin Briggs and an experienced crew of seven seamen set sail from Staten Island, New York with a cargo of alcohol earmarked for fortifying Italian wines in Genoa, Italy.  Let’s not fail to mention the further mocking of the fates, as Captain Briggs brought along his wife Sarah and daughter Sophia for the Mediterranean cruise.  Yet another superstition among the nautically inclined for a few hundred years is that women on board are bad luck.  Sexist, you say?  Don’t worry.  They felt the same way about priests.  So, given the fact that the Mary Celeste had spent the past eleven years trying to murder anybody who dared to sail her, a prudent recourse would have been to take preventative action, oh I don’t know, like hanging rabbits feet from every yardarm, stocking a cargo of holy water, or offering free passage to an exorcist.  The wise man does not kick Poseidon in the nuts and then go gallivanting off into the ocean blue without a care in the world.  Unless of course, you want to be remembered as that crazy crew that vanished without a trace.  And, of course, having learned nothing from a few hundred years of maritime tradition, things went badly for the crew of the Mary Celeste.  The Nova Scotian brigantine Dei Gratia (Good thinking on the name, boys, assuming you were hedging your bets) found the derelict Mary Celeste drifting off Gibraltar, mysteriously abandoned, on December 4th, 1872.

The vessel’s log, found in the cabin, would disclose both her name and her hailing port, New York. It was then about three o’clock. Making a thorough search of the vessel, they failed to find a single soul on board. There were no boats. The one ship’s boat, which, there was evidence to show, had lain across the main hatch, was missing. They found about three and a half feet of water in the hold, a quantity which was considerable in such a small vessel, but, with seventeen hundred barrels of alcohol in the hold, would not have been particularly noticed except by sounding the pumps. The forward-house was full of water up to the coaming, and there was a great deal of water between decks. Both the fore hatch and the lazarette hatch were off. The binnacle (which was a stand of wood for the compass to rest in) was knocked out of its place and injured; the compass was destroyed. The wheel was not lashed but was undamaged. Her jib and fore-topmast staysail were set on the starboard tack. Two of her sails—the fore-sail and upper fore-topsail —had been blown away; the lower fore-topsail was “hanging by the four corners”; the main-staysail had been hauled down and was lying loose on the forward-house. All the rest of the sails were furled. The standing rigging was all right, but some of the running rigging was carried away. The captain’s chronometer, sextant, navigation book, ship’s register and other papers were missing. The log book was found on the desk in the mate’s cabin, and the log slate was found on the cabin table. There was nothing to eat or drink in the cabin on the table, and there was no cooked food in the galley. There were six months’ provisions in the storeroom and plenty of drinking water (Fay, 1942, p40-41).

The Mary Celeste was brought back to America, where the father of the owner James Winchester died in a suspicious onboard accident.  Winchester wisely decided to sell the Mary Celeste at an enormous loss.  The ship changed hands between seventeen different owners for the thirteen years that followed, and was deliberately wrecked off Haiti in 1885 by the last owner and captain in an attempt to commit insurance fraud.  The pesky ship refused to break up when wrecked on a reef, and stayed intact even after it was burned.  The final captain was acquitted on the fraud charges, but went bankrupt and died three months later.  Obviously, you don’t mess with the Mary Celeste.  The fundamental caveat I’m trying to convey here is that you can scoff at superstitions, ignore patterns, and generally dangle your existence in front of the fates like bait, but at some point you just have to knuckle under and play the odds.  In the end we are all gambling, regardless of our philosophical perspective.  If you’re not gambling that god exists, you’re gambling that he doesn’t.  You’re gambling that there aren’t monsters lurking in the dark.  You’re gambling that extraterrestrials don’t find you sexy.  We just can’t help ourselves with all this existential gambling, for as poker ace Lou Kreiger remarked, “a gambler plays even when the odds are immutable and the odds are against him”.  But for god sakes people, use a little common sense, and don’t mock the mummy.

Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company. Ninety Years of Marine Insurance, 1842-1932. [New York: Printed by the Triggs Color Printing Corporation, 1932.
Fay, Charles Edey. Mary Celeste: the Odyssey of an Abandoned Ship. Salem [Mass.]: Peabody Museum, 1942.
Hicks, Brian.  Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew.  New York, NY: Random House, 2004.


Fact or fiction

Psychics from Poland and UK scare with catastrophic predictions for 2021

Psychics from Poland and UK scare with catastrophic predictions for 2021 99

Throughout September, October and November, a large part of Poland is in some panic, frustrated by the predictions of its famous psychic Krzysztof Jakowski. And now, to this mass of excited Poles, the British were added, who listened to what their favorite renowned parapsychologist was saying.

Krzysztof Jakowski for 2021

Early in the morning of November 20, 2020, an interview with the famous Polish clairvoyant Krzysztof Jakowski was posted on YouTube with his predictions for 2021. The video was made in collaboration with a famous Polish youtuber, who asks Krzysztof various questions about what will and what won’t. In particular, there will not be European Union that falls apart. But let us quote the Poles in order.

According to Mr. Jakovski, 2021 will not be an easy year. Although many people would like to rest after the difficulties and challenges that 2020 has put before us, the situation in Poland and in the world will only get worse. The clairvoyant reiterated that a serious armed conflict was inevitable, which would affect many European states. It will start before Catholic Christmas 2020 and everyone will experience “great fear.”

There will be some kind of impact on property around the world – everyone who has something will be in a panic, as states will sharply raise taxes on the rich and begin to take property. The world will see an attempt to restore the building of communism.

This will especially affect Poland, where the local ruling party Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) will completely lose fear and begin to tighten the screws. As a result, even the socialism of the times of the Warsaw Pact will seem to the Poles as a children’s matinee and they will rears. By the end of the year, the PiS party will be gone and its former members will be driven through the gateways, as Poles once ran with sticks after the famous commies. 

Naturally, communism and revolutions will also affect the rest of Europe, which will systematically plunge into devastation and chaos. Ultimately, the European Union, or rather, what will remain of it will be dismantled, which will begin by the end of next year.

However, the most unpleasant thing that awaits the world in 2021 is some kind of armed conflict that will not affect Poland in any way, but will terribly scare everyone and, ultimately, destroy the EU economy. Mr. Jakowski finds it difficult to name the exact date of this conflict, since it will not immediately become global and will develop gradually, but historically its beginning will be recorded at the end of 2020. 

In addition, the famous Polish parapsychologist literally says the following:

Bad times are coming. My visions show that this will continue until 2021 and beyond.  There will be many cataclysms in the world. Every year. But in some country where we do not quite expect this, which should be strong and safe, entire cities will burn down. It will be some kind of big country.

Nicholas Aujula for 2021

The psychic’s name is Nicholas Aujula, who as he himself reports, in a past life he lived in Ancient Egypt and was a local princess: In the current call, at the age of 17, the guy experienced a cool out-of-body experience, from which he returned a little out of his mind and now works as a hypnotherapist, specializing in hypnotic regression and people who also returned from the other world and now get along badly with the world around them, not understanding how they got here again.

Psychics from Poland and UK scare with catastrophic predictions for 2021 100

Nicholas Aujula

Well, among other things, as Nicholas claims, he has various visionary incidents. Sometimes these are even just words, which, if the medium tries to interpret reality, then do not correspond in any way. But, if Nicholas later sees in his diary, then he writes, then everything comes true.

In particular, in 2020, the coronavirus came true, which Nicholas called “the flu that will stop the world” and the riots in the United States came true, the essence of which Nicholas did not see, but said that there would be dark-skinned people to fight against fascism. At the end of 2020, according to him, the Third World War will have to begin (the prophecies were made in 2018!), But now, Nicholas has again been hit with a new vision and talking about 2021.

According to Nicholas, the world governments will be able to cope with the coronavirus by next spring and the topic will gradually begin to fade, but at that moment a new virus will appear, which will be much worse than the previous one and the panic will be terrible.

Something like the “great migration of peoples” will begin – Nicholas saw how airports and train stations storm the crowds with suitcases. Some huge hospital will catch fire, but here Nicholas specifies – this may be a symbolic indication of the collapse of world health due to a new virus. But where it will burn for sure – this is in New York, in the visions of Nicholas the whole city was on fire. There will be some kind of world summit, torn apart by some kind of sex scandal, after which ultra-right politicians will begin to come to power all over the world – especially in southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

There will be an eruption of some huge volcano, leading to unimaginable climatic changes and which, obviously, will just cause riots that will last another three years and migration. Some kind of death of the world’s political, football and other stars will begin.

Someone will have a “broken heart”, someone will devour pills just to speed up – and so on. But most of all the people will remember Meghan Markle, who will appear on TV and begin to read all the terrible secrets of the royal family.

There will also be an attempt on the life of some famous world leader. Nicholas did not name the politician, specifying only that this leader is a man and that an attempt to kill him would literally blow up the whole world.

We do not know how right this Nicholas is in his predictions, but we noticed that the British press calls him “outrageous”.

Continue Reading

Fact or fiction

The main predictions of Nostradamus for 2021, Deciphered

The main predictions of Nostradamus for 2021, Deciphered 101
Servants of the false prophet and antichrist, illustration to Dante's poem

Leap year 2020 brought with it a lot of troubles and problems. People around the world are waiting for the next year, 2021, to come, on which there are already high hopes. Humanity hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic will pass, that there will be no more squabbles between countries, that it will be possible to travel without restrictions, that people will stop killing and maiming each other due to differences in political views.

What awaits people in 2021? The answer to this question can be found in the forecasts of Nostradamus, who did not predict anything good. Nostradamus is perhaps the most famous clairvoyant in human history. His predictions are written in the form of quatrain verses (quatrains), and many of them have already come true. 

There have been many predictions about the future this year that are believed to belong to the great Nostradamus. All the trials for humanity are only ahead, and it is worth enjoying the minor troubles of the current leap year.

Zombie apocalypse

A Russian scientist will create a biological weapon-virus that can turn people into zombies. The end of humanity may be closer than we think.

If there is no worldwide uprising of the dead, then especially for skeptics there is a prediction about global hunger, earthquakes, diseases and epidemics. The Prophet reported that a catastrophe of this magnitude would throw the human race into the past, and most of them would not be able to survive this “curse.” In principle, a similar situation could be seen in 2020, so this prediction so far sounds like a logical continuation of events.

Biblical famine

Nostradamus predicts that the first signs of the end of the world will be hunger, earthquakes, various diseases and epidemics. They will happen more often.

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic marks the beginning of a series of adverse events that will affect populations around the world. A catastrophe of enormous proportions will return us to the past, and most of the world’s population will not be able to overcome this curse.

Muslims will take over Europe

Further, Nostradamus decided to go over sensitive political issues. Despite the fact that the soothsayer lived in the 16th century, his predictions contain references to the terrorist problem in Europe. The bright mind of that time wrote about a camel that drinks water from the Rhine.

He will get drunk on the Danube from the Rhine, the great Camel (and) will not repent of this. Rhone and the stronger from the Loire will shudder, and the Rooster will destroy him near the Alps, – wrote Nostradamus at the moment of the revelation that came from above.

The “camel” from the prophecies of Nostradamus is a symbol of the Arab population that floods all of Europe. It is unclear whether 2021 will see a new wave of emigration, or demographic projections of low fertility in Europe and large numbers of refugees will catalyze this change.

predictions of Nostradamus: what awaits humanity in 2021
Photo source:  – NASA / GSFC / SDO

Solar storms

In 2021, there will be powerful solar storms that can cause great damage to the planet. It is believed that Nostradamus warned:

“We will see how the water rises, and the earth hides under it.”

The harmful effects of climate change will lead to a multitude of wars and conflicts as the world competes for resources and massive migration ensues.

An asteroid will collide with the Earth or come close to it

“In the sky, a person will see fire and a long trail of sparks.”

It is impossible to start a single year without the threat of an asteroid falling to Earth. This can be interpreted as impending natural disasters, but according to other interpretations of this quatrain, we are talking about a large asteroid that will collide with Earth.

Once in the Earth’s atmosphere, the asteroid will heat up and will seem like a fire in the sky. Indeed, NASA has announced that there is a very real danger that asteroid 2009 KF1 will collide with Earth on May 6, 2021.

A terrible earthquake will destroy California

States should be especially careful in 2021. According to the interpretation of the quatrain written by Nostradamus, an extremely powerful earthquake will destroy California in 2021.

Nostradamus predicts that a massive earthquake will hit the New World (“western lands”), and California is the most obvious place where it could happen. Astrologers expressed solidarity with the forecasts of the forecaster, setting the disaster for November.

According to astrologers, the verse “Mercury in Sagittarius, Saturn is extinguished” indicates the next date when the planets Mars and Saturn will be in this position in the sky – November 25, 2021.

Microchips will be implanted into the heads of American soldiers

American soldiers will become the first human robots to save humanity. The chip implanted in his brain should give us the digital intelligence we need to go beyond biology.

Pope Francis will bring people closer to the church

No matter how many years Pope Francis remains the leader of the Catholic Church, he will leave a wonderful and impressive legacy in his wake. The church will become a lifeboat for more and more people.

Apparently, part of humanity will completely lose hope, so they will have no choice but to pray fervently for mercy?

Continue Reading

Fact or fiction

The Indian astrologer boy predicts a Covid comeback in the coming year

The Indian astrologer boy predicts a Covid comeback in the coming year 102

Abhigya Anand, now 14 years old, is an astrologer. He has repeatedly published his views on the future on YouTube. Among them, in a short film published in August 2019, he predicted that there will be a large-scale epidemic in the world from November 2019 to April 2020. Although he did not directly mention the virus, he made it clear that China “will be severely affected.”

In the latest short film released in early November 2020, Anand proposed predictions and solutions for the coming year.

He said that in the months since June 30, the epidemic and the economy of the whole world have improved. But Jupiter enters Capricorn in November, and the disaster will begin again. From November to April next year is the next dangerous period.

He mentioned that Jupiter and Saturn will meet around December 21 and this conjunction will affect the Earth. From wars, epidemics, the second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic to economic collapse, it can happen, and the vaccine that is being developed may also have problems.

He said that before February 2021, disasters caused by the meeting of multiple planets will appear. Until November 2021, when Jupiter enters Aquarius, most of the catastrophes caused by these celestial changes will gradually disappear.

In this short film, he proposed 7 ways to seek good and avoid evil. The first and most important one is faith in God. He urged people to love nature and help lives, including human and animal lives, so that they can gain the pity of heaven.

Anand was interviewed by a YouTuber in September to explain the current world and government. He said that according to the Vedas of India, the current world regards what was originally correct as wrong, while what was originally wrong is regarded as correct. People need to fight for the truth and need to expose the truth.

He pointed out that the so-called political elites may secretly plan some evil things. If they do, they will soon be retributed, because this is the law of nature. People should do their best to do good things and do things that are beneficial to all lives created by God, otherwise they will be punished by God.

Continue Reading