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Friday, April 28, 2006

Ghosts on Schooner Wawona? It's Possible

The talk of ghosts this week (Sunday, Tuesday) on the Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport got me to thinking about four deaths that I've documented on the schooner Wawona, which is now berthed at South Lake Union Park in Seattle. Here's the list: An unnamed second mate who drowned in early 1903; fisherman Maikel Maitak, a Russian immigrant who fell overboard in 1917; Capt. Charles Foss, who died at the wheel during a storm August 13 (yikes!), 1935; and fisherman Nick Field, who fell out of his fishing dory in spring, 1941. In the case of Field, his body was never recovered.

Could one of these men be haunting Wawona? I've worked in the old ship's forecastle and several times got a creepy feeling, but maybe it was the musty air and the dust motes dancing in the light. One time, however, I nearly broke my neck when I stepped into a hatch opening. At the very last second, I felt a heavy push on my hips, and I landed on my butt at the edge of the opening. An inch more to the left, and I would've fell down the hole. At the time, I attributed the safe landing to a piece of plywood, which blocked my way. But looking back on it, that push seems odd somehow and timed too well.

Could something else have happened? Maybe someone should investigate further. Those seaman loved that ship, and I've heard stories that spirits don't always like to leave places they love. What do you think?

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