In Episode 2 of Podenstein’s Lab, your intrepid, insipid journaleasts bring you stories about how A 70’s Babe Dodged a Date with Death on the Dating Game; Bomb Sniffing Spinach Sending Email: and the 100th Anniversary of Finding the Cat- But Where’s the Crew? J.E., Shelby, and Mark dig these up from the digital trough, along with real headlines that are real weird. Need talk fodder to make a conversation uncomfortable? Find the words to suit your weird here, in Podenstein’s Lab.
Real Headlines from the Interwebosphere:
Name a cockroach after your ex and watch it get eaten for Valentine’s Day
Mentally deranged son kills mother, roasts chicken on her pyre in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum
Student Tries To Get In Touch With His Professor Online, Only To Learn That He’s Been Dead Two Years
And now…THE NEWS!!!
70’s Babe Dodges Date with Death on the Dating Game
-J. E. Petersen
Bomb Sniffing Spinach Can Send You Email
100th Anniversary of Finding the Cat- But Where’s the Crew?
-Mark L. Groves
Sure, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first sports radio broadcast (the Ray- Dundee boxing match). Aaand Chanel Number 5 was first released 100 years ago. Even the first Lowe’s opened in 1921 in North Carolina.
A more macabre 100 year anniversary passed quietly on January 31st, 2021. This marked a century since a weary, emaciated polydactic cat was found to be the only crew left on the mystery-shrouded decks of the Carroll A. Deering.
The setting: North Carolina’s Outer Banks, off of Cape Hatteras. This area of ocean is nicknamed the Graveyard of the Atlantic. It’s exposed to the worst of oceanic storms- hurricanes, typhoons, nor’ easters, all the ship killers. Heavy seas and vicious winds drive ships ashore to be pounded to pieces by the surf.
Added to that, the warm waters from the Gulf come north and meet the frigid waters from the Labrador Current, which creates unpredictable currents of surprising power, and sometimes fog of surprising- and deadly- density.
But wait. North Carolina has what are called the “barrier islands”, 30 miles out from the mainland and hard to navigate. Let’s add to that Diamond Shoals, a ceaselessly-shifting maize of underwater sandbars extending eight miles out, but not very deep, from Cape Hatteras.
They all lie right in the coastal trade route. Depending on where you seek your info, over 5000 ships had gone to Davey Jones in-sink-erator here, since records were kept starting in the early 1500’s. Two well-known notables that sank in the vicinity- Blackbeard’s flagship “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” and the Civil War ironclad “Monitor.” Not all wrecks came from natural-ish disaster. Many came from u-boats and submarines during both world wars.
In other words, this is the perfect place for a ghost ship mystery. 100 years ago, on January 31st, 1921, the Carroll A. Deering was sighted stranded out on the Diamond Shoals. Due to bad weather, it took about four days before boats could reach the ship. Of the ten person and one animal crew, only the cat seems to have survived. Of the rest…nothing was found. Ever.
The ship had left Norfolk, Virginia, headed for Rio de Janeiro on August 22nd, 1920. The captain fell ill a few days later, and was replaced. The ship delivered its cargo of coal, and set sail to return in December.
On January 29th, 1921, a lightship keeper aboard the Cape Lookout Lightship in North Carolina reported seeing the Carroll A. Deering. The Deering hailed the lightship, and a crewperson- no one knows who- reported that they’d lost their anchors. Captain Jacobson of the lightship tried to report it, but his radio wasn’t working. He later testified that the Deering’s crew was suspiciously “milling around” on the fore deck of the schooner.
Two days later, the ship was spotted as having run aground. Its sails were set…but the life boats were missing. February 4th rescuers reached the ship- and it was abandoned.
Missing along with the crew were all the personal belongings, some key navigational equipment, papers and the anchors. The FBI got involved, but no trace of the crew or the ship logs have ever been recovered.
What happened? Rumors and theories are rampant.
In one article I found, it describes the crew as suspect from the git-go. The first mate was jailed in Barbados, drunk, and was heard to threaten the skipper.
The biggest part of the crew were Danish, which the new captain described as unruly in a letter he had written to his home.
The boatswain – the officer in charge of equipment and the crew- was a Finn, which at the time was a red flag, pardon the pun, as they were suspect of being Bolsheviks.
Perhaps the crew didn’t like the new captain and mutinied. Maybe rum runners took the ship. Or pirates raided it. Or the Bolshevik seized it for the glory of his newly communist master Russia.
The problem with any of those: why was a perfectly good ship abandoned between 1/29 and 1/31…and where the hell did they go?
Only the six-toed cat knew…and he didn’t say, because nobody likes a rat. ESPECIALLY a cat.