Morro Castle


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Dan Lieb

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I am interested in the wreck of the MORRO CASTLE and its relative position to the wreck site of the NEW ERA. Is there someone in this group that is knowledgeable about the MORRO CASTLE?

Dan Lieb
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Jan 7, 2002
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The Morro castle tale was a tragic one- certainly arson. Isnt it odd how the capt died of food poisoning, and immediatly afterwards the ship caught fire.....
someone killed him and torched the ship to cover their tracks..
tarn
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Here are a couple of Morro Castle snapshots I picked up a while back.



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Jim Kalafus

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About the possible murder of Captain Wilmott. The "legend" says food poisoning, or intentional homicidal poisoning but what little evidence there is from which to draw ANY conclusion indicates natural causes- a heart attack. Wilmott had sent for his evening meal (some said Finnan Haddie, others steak) but there is no evidence as to whether or not he ate it. Within minutes of its arrival he phoned Dr Van Zile and spoke what were to be his last words: "I am having a little stomach trouble. Would you make up an enema and bring it up to me?" When the enema was delivered (Van Zile died and there is no evidence as to how long it took to make it and deliver it) Wilmott was found with "his pants around his ankles" or, more demurely "partially dressed" slumped over into his bathtub, blue faced. Three Doctors (passengers) who survived (Phelps, Cochrane, Vosseler) as well as Van Zile (who stated this in a letter recovered from his body) all agreed that it was a heart attack. No autopsy was performed, the body being cremated in the fire, but it seems more likely that he died while trying to force a bowel movement than of homicide. Severe constipation would also explain his unusually glum demeanor during the return leg of the final voyage more logically than most of the other theories.
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Nov 23, 1996
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After posting my Queen Elizabeth / Maiden voyage photographs I have had a few private requests to see the Morro Castle Images. This will be the first of seven images of her.

IMO but I might be biased, these are some of the best photographs of her I have ever seen as they are the closest and clearest as you can read her name and make out the blistered and burned paint in great detail.

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Nov 23, 1996
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Now for a clearer image, taken from the Jetty/Breakwater just in front of her bow.

Note the name can be seen clearly on the bow.

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Nov 23, 1996
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It must be low tide now so we can walk further out on the breakwater to get this image.

These image's were hidden in a shoe box for over 60 years and were obtained durning an estate sale.

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Jim Kalafus

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Great photos, Steven! I assume that you collect MC photos as well. My favorite in your series was post #51- a classic image. Here are a few more of mine.
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Nov 23, 1996
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Jim:

I tend to collect postcards, but when photographs come along, I will take them for the collection.

As for pre-disaster postcards of the Morro Castle I have only run across four in my travels, and tons of disaster image postcard.

I will find them and scan them also. I don't mind sharing the images but when I did this with several rarer Aquitania and Olympic images I bought they just ended up on others web-sites.

Many of the postcards I have in my collection are one off real photo's were the actual photograph was produced and used as a the postcard.

New American Turbo Electric Liners - Morro Castle - Oriente (Ward Line published)

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Nov 23, 1996
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To the best of my knowledge there have been only three books published about the Morro Castle Disaster:

Burton, Hal, "The Morro Castle: Tragedy at Sea", The Vicking Press, New York, NY, USA, 1973 LOC:670-48960-3

Gallagher, Thomas, "Fire at Sea (The story of the Morro Castle)", Rinehart & Company, Inc., New York, NY, USA, 1959, LOC: 59-6452

Thomas, Gordon & Witt, Max Morgan, "Shipwreck the strange fate of the Morro Castle", Dell Publishing Co., New York, NY, USA, 1972

I have heard that there were a couple of new books in the works over the last few years. But have yet to see them or add them to the collection. If anyone knows of any other books published on the "Morro Castle" disaster please inform the list.

Ward Line American Turbo Electric Liners Morro Castle - Oriente (Ward Line/Lumitone Photoprint, NY)




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