The Most Haunted Liner in the World

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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I keep thinking "Ergot...ergot...ergot..." as I ponder the Ivan Vassili.

I also keep thinking "Fiction...fiction...fiction..."

Or "Tall tale...tall tale...tall tale" along the lines of Lord Dufferin's favorite post-dinner tall tale that, inevitibly, someone took at face value and reprinted. "Room for one more?"

Good luck digging, Inger.

How about the "Phantom Porthole" on the Windsor Castle?
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The "Watertown" phantom heads?

Mate of the Squando?

So much debunking, so little time....
 
May 27, 2007
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Let us know what you find out Inger about the deserting crewmen. Let me know when y'all start talking about missing ships of the Bermuda Triangle and The Great Lakes. Knowing my luck it will probably be when I'm in Brookfield.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>We are told that after sailing from Hong Kong, she arrived in Sydney

RED LIGHT! The Ivan Vassili story always appeared in books published in either New York or London. Convenient that the ports definitely named in the narrrative were, literally, on the far side of the globe. Making it difficult (pre internet) to easily fact check, if one was skeptical. Unless, of course, a reader in Sydney or Hong Kong took it upon him or herself to head off to the archives for a bit of digging. Which leads to...

SECOND RED LIGHT! The dates are so vague, and so too are the names, when compared to other details in the narrative. Some accounts are hyper-specific about certain things (The force first made itself known 5 days into the voyage....the first to fall victim on that particular voyage was the second mate....etc) while failing to contain a single detail that can be verified through research.

Will endeavor, in my limitless free time, to learn when this story first appeared in print.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Let me know when y'all start talking about missing ships of the Bermuda Triangle

Mystery solved ca. 1975 by Lawrence Kusche in his excellent Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved! Quite an eye opener, and required reading for literally everyone in the universe. It highlights the danger of taking things at face value without doing one's own research. 99% of the disappearances A) had a logical explanation, B)did not happen at all, or C) took place, in certain cases, hundreds of miles from "The Triangle" and, in one case, in a different ocean. The 1% of the cases that have no explanation fall within an acceptable 'real world' range, and are not at all mysterious in that context.
 
May 27, 2007
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Thanks for the Info on the book Jim. The Mighty Sage has spoken.
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Jim the Scifi and History Channels will hunt you down when they find you foiling their ever present scheme for more mindless junk and higher ratings.
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Yes Halloween is coming and George must be mischievous.
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Jim Kalafus

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>History Channels will hunt you down when they find you foiling their ever present scheme for more mindless junk and higher ratings.

Does this mean I am going to be confronted by an angry "Miss Cleo, TV Psychic?" who predicts naught but disaster for me?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3ABE3wvxzA
and, will I return home from work to discover all of my spoons mysteriously and maliciously bent? Will an EAL Flight Engineer taunt me from within my oven? Will the phantom "Iron Mountain Lady" change her tune and shout accusations at me next time I cross the Mississippi? All very real possibilities....
 
May 27, 2007
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Miss Cleo
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quote:

Does this mean I am going to be confronted by an angry "Miss Cleo, TV Psychic?" who predicts naught but disaster for me?

Could be.
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But I think they will settle for never having you on their shows. Could be a good thing or not.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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You know, the whole Titanic disaster ~ nay, ANY shipping disaster, could have been completely averted if passengers had just remembered to give Miss Cleo a call beforehand. So simple, and only 99 cents per minute! What a steal of a deal!
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I bet Miss Cleo channels her ghost contacts on the Queen Mary and other liners for information. What's she gonna do when de ole liners is all gone man?
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Admiral Tryon's ghost is one of my favourite, much-anthologised yarns that has been demolished in recent years. Although I'm sure it will continue to be regurgitated - I'd like to see how many references to it have appeared since it was comprehensively dealt with - it's certainly still roaming the net, just as the Great Eastern's ghost refuses to be silenced, and still taps away in defiance of the fact it has been thoroughly debunked.

Those Red Lights are good flags, Jim - just enough detail to give it an air of veracity, while lacking enough material to make fact checking easy. I've always rather fancied trying my hand at getting to the bottom one of these stories. The problem is you'd have to work outwards from 1903 for a couple of years to be thorough.

What I find remarkable is not only how writers repeat the same stories without any effort at fact checking, but also how they often add more details to the original story when they use it!

Has the Squando's ghost been skeptically dealt with yet?
 

Jim Kalafus

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Ah, Admiral Tryon. His dramatic walk-through of the ballroom...the wet fingerprint on the globe near Tripoli...seems so plausible that I am stunned to learn that it is not.
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Break it to me gently...have I been covering the oven window with black duct tape all these years for naught? Has my refusal to buy first class seats in L-1011s since 1974 been more neurotic than cautious? Can THAT story be a fraud, too?

>The problem is you'd have to work outwards from 1903 for a couple of years to be thorough.

And in every port city from Vladivostok to Sydney. I'm going to content myself by trying to trace the story back as far as the first time it appeared in a book. Seems like I just don't get to Vladivostok as frequently as I'd like to!
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As I typed that, I just thought of someone! Arnie Gandy! Remember him? Featured on Alfred Hitchcock's list of ten greatest mysteries? As you may or may not recall, the story's various permutations went like this: Arnie was a crewman aboard the Dollar Lines President Coolidge. His mother received a phone call in the dead of night~ she could hear blowing wind, several voices in the background, including that of her son, and the man who made the call, who taunted her with the news that her son had been in an accident. She was notified some time later that, in fact, her son had been fatally injured, at a point before she received the call. Or so it was said. Mr. Hitchcock always seemed to have tongue-in-cheek when he told such tales, a fine point that those who have recycled this yarn over the yers conveniently ignore. BUT, here is the cool thing. Unlike editors in the 1960s and 1970s, I can hie on over to Ancestry.com RIGHT NOW and read through the President Coolidge crew lists to see if A) There WAS an Arnie Gandy, and if so B) Did he die aboard the ship.

That tales was featured in the must-read book "Phoen Calls From the Dead" that came out just as I was heading from true believer to sneering skeptic. It helped push me over the line to the latter camp.
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Now, off for my meeting on Ancestry with Arnie Gandy.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Hi, Jason!

>>I bet Miss Cleo channels her ghost contacts on the Queen Mary and other liners for information. What's she gonna do when de ole liners is all gone man?

"Miss Cleo" - minus her on-again-off-again "accent," and before she was "gifted" with psychic powers - tried to make a go of it in Seattle as a legitimate stage actress. When that career didn't go anywhere worth mentioning, she recast herself as a shlock media personality. Shlock sells.

Roy
 

Jim Kalafus

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>What's she gonna do when de ole liners is all gone man?

Miss Cleo she gonna send you back to church! You be dressed in rags while your man is walkin' around all G.Q.!
 

Jim Kalafus

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I'm back. Arnie Gandy stood me up! I tried every posssible combination of Arnie, Arne, Arnold, A. and Gandy, Gande, using the Dollar Line ports and the with or without the names President Coolidge and President Hoover. Failing that, I tried all those names with NO ship or port. No dice. Either the name was changed, or the story is fiction. Or both.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>You be dressed in rags

That was my favorite Cleo quote until "the trap" was closing, and she did that apocalyptic spot with the weird lighting and an angry Cleo saying "They want to shut Miss Cleo down! But you can't let them!" to her followers.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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No ship named Ivan Vassili entered the US via the West Coast during the timeline established by the story....
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>10 cents a minute is cheap to let you know the future.

Okay, I'm sold. Where do I send my credit card information? Wasn't there "Club Cleo" where you could pre-pay and have unlimited Cleo access?

I have Empress of Ireland debris, and not a single 'psychic' has even come close. So few realise that Candadian Pacific Railroad, in THIS case, refers to a ship!
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