Morro Castle


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SURVIVOR DIES: Herbert Saffir, an 18 year old Morro castle crew member survivor who, as an adult, was co-creator of the Saffir-Simpson scale of measuring hurricanes, has died.

This brings the number of known survivors down to 6. Ann Stemmermann, 15 in 1934, passed away during the summer of 2006, leaving only two of the liner's teenage passengers unaccounted for as either dead or alive.
 
George....if you read the article I sent you last night, there is a 1934 interview I sent you in which she talks about trying to save, and failing to save, a child named Arthur Sheridan. If you go to www.garemaritime.com, click on The Morro Castle The Mohawk and the End of the Ward Line, and read the chapter titled "I Won't Die! I Won't!" you'll find the almost complete text of Dolly's final interview.
 
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George....if you read the article I sent you last night, there is a 1934 interview I sent you in which she talks about trying to save, and failing to save, a child named Arthur Sheridan.

I haven't read the whole Article yet Jim. It's been a crazy day at the Office. I did get it though and plan reading it soon.

I came across this interview while web surfing for any info about the Morro Castle or anything else I needed for my story and on a lark posted this link to the interview. Sorry.
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Duh George. My brain is cooking right now any ways with all the facts I gotta keep strait.​
 
From The Asbury Park Press:

From the ship to shore
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It's the stuff that makes great drama. A giant luxury liner's captain is murdered. The ship ignites at sea and hundreds of lives are lost.

As the station manager of a 500-watt radio station at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean relays the story to listeners, he watches in horror, as the ship, torn from its moorings by gale winds, starts down the shoreline headed directly for the studio.

Fiction? Hardly. It happened to Thomas F. Burley Jr., executive secretary of the city's Chamber and station manager of WCAP – Wonder City of Asbury Park – right here in Convention Hall, when the Morro Castle disaster made headlines on Sept. 8, 1934.
Full story at http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080831/ENT/808310314/1031/ent

Comment: I'll leave the dissection of any inaccuracies to Jim Kalafus since he's the resident expert on the subject. One thing though: Was the Captain in fact murdered?​
 
Captain Willmott was a portly, middle aged man. Investigators later found empty bottles of alcohol in his office safe.

He had been acting glum; sluggish and lethargic, for several days before his death.

His last meal, taken in his cabin, consisted of finnan haddie (fish) and melon.

His last words, delivered by telephone, were the immortal "Send me up an enema."

When the steward with the thankless task of helping to purge the captain arrived, he found Willmott with his pants and underpants around his ankles, artfully draped over the side of the bath tub. He had a 'horrible' expression on his face; had turned blue, and was non-responsive. He seemed to have been in the process of rising from the toilet when The Reaper struck.

Several doctors traveling aboard the ship were discretely called in to reenforce what the ship's doctor had already decreed: heart attack.

Although Van Zile, the Morro Castle's doctor, broke his neck jumping from the ship wearing a life jacket, there is absolutely no ambiguity about his diagnosis, since notes were recovered from his pocket stating 'heart attack.'

Now, one can either choose to believe the elaborate conspiracy theory, or one can interpret this as being a middle aged man who was overweight and who drank, who was constipated for several glum, lethargic, days, and then died of a heart attack while trying to force a bowel movement.
 
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Now, one can either choose to believe the elaborate conspiracy theory, or one can interpret this as being a middle aged man who was overweight and who drank, who was constipated for several glum, lethargic, days, and then died of a heart attack while trying to force a bowel movement.

Sounds like an open and shut case to me. I tried to lode the link Michael posted but my computer hasn't having any of it. Is it more of Rogers set the <font color="ff6000">Fire nonsense.
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I hope not.
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>>or one can interpret this as being a middle aged man who was overweight and who drank, who was constipated for several glum, lethargic, days, and then died of a heart attack while trying to force a bowel movement.<<

Occam's Razor for me. I've always found elaborate conspiracy theories to be fatally flawed on some level, usually by their being excessively complex. Besides, with all the players in the game, if somebody really wanted to take out the skipper, they would have done something a lot more obvious then whacking him on the toilet. Especially if they were "sending a message" and wanted everybody to know it.
 
Well, the 'Captain Willmott was poisoned' theory falls apart because it reduces the number of probable suspects down to exactly one- the steward who served Willmott his last meal.

The finnan haddie was not a custom order- it was on the menu that night. That eliminates the chefs from the conspiracy, since no one chef could have known that the portion he was preparing was destined for the captain.

Once the destination of that order was known, then the assassin would have to be standing at JUST the right spot to learn that the tray was being sent up to the captain, and would have had to have been both very fast AND very lucky to poison the food unobserved.

The only person known to have been alone with the food for any amount of time was the steward who carried it from the kitchen to the captain's cabin.

Might he have been part of a conspiracy? Possible, but not likely.

If it wasn't for the enema request, I'd place the fish itself high on the list of suspects. The effects of food poisoning can be particularly catastrophic on an older person. But because he was apparently...uhhh...blocked, rather than the opposite, that can be eliminated.
 
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'Captain Willmott was poisoned'
Just more hokum. Although if they, "the saboteurs" wanted to create confusion a slow acting poison that would take effect on or around a certain time would be ideal. Although even this theory is pretty chancy.​
 
I don't know much about poisons but I would think that somebody trying to go the "slow poison" route would run into some insurmountable problems. Arsenic would do the trick but you would have to have consistant and long term access to whatever the skipper was eating and drinking to pull it off. I just don't see that happening.

Besides, wasn't arsenic detectable by this time?

Still sticking with Occam's Razor on this. Heart attack.
 
>Still sticking with Occam's Razor on this. Heart attack.

Still...

...have we contemplated Murder by Roughage?

Here is how the assasin struck: In the weeks leading up to the voyage, Willmott was given increasing amounts of fiber and what people who love to discuss constipation at the top of their lungs in restaurants refer to as 'binders.'

At the same time his food was overly-salted, and he was slipped diuretics. Subsequently, he was always slightly dehydrated.

Finally, on the September 1 voyage, the assasin struck. Willmott, his system already low on water, is fed an all-roughage, all-binder meal, with copious amount of salt and beer, and very few refills on the drinking water.

With frightening speed, a brick-like blockage is formed.

On the night of the fire, Willmott is still horrifically impacted. He is served tainted finnan haddie; when his body's natural defenses kick in, the down rushing food hits the blockage and, Bingo!, Willmott topples into the bathtub, felled by a silent but deadly assasin.

Hmmmm...well...improbable, but less so than the Rogers theory, if one lays them out side by side.
 
>>Hmmmm...well...improbable, but less so than the Rogers theory, if one lays them out side by side.<<

Still the problem of constant access. Besides, were any potentially available assisins even able to think things out that much? Most hatchet men, then and now, were throwaways and not renowned for their brilliance.
 
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