Friday, June 13, 2008

Partial text of recovered captain's log, circa 1750

Called all hands on deck to address fanciful talk arising from previously noted sudden sightings and inexplicable disappearances of what some in the crew are calling a "phantom ship".

Interrupted by lookout's sighting of upper masts in fog bank about a half mile off starboard, due north. Called crew to quarters. Damn poor timing!

All quiet at two bells after sighting. Set course north by northwest to avail ourselves of the cover of another fog bank and put distance between us and first, but it's moving away from us as fast as the first seems to be trailing. We are exposed with fog all about. Crew increasingly uneasy.

Engaged enemy man o' war at seven bells. Her position in fog cover no more than a hundred yards off revealed only after we received her broadside. Two guns disabled. Hull breached astern. Mainsail rent by chain shot. Devastating gunnery!

No crew visible on deck of enemy ship, which is of no design I recognize. Magazine set afire. Forced to pull remaining gunnery crew to fight it.

Had to strike sails from and cut loose damaged mizzen. Rudder seized. Gave order to prepare to repel boarders. First mate gone missing. Enemy maintaining distance, giving no signal. Still no man visible on her deck.

Panic seizing crew. Had to subdue boatswain gone mad with fear.

Taking on water fore and aft.

Listing badly to port. Situation hopeless. Gave order to abandon ship. Remaining on board.

Enemy turning away. She flies no flag. Caught first sight of the name on her stern, fading into the fog as she disappeared. It read:

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