Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Captain Still Commands The 'Occidental'

The following strange account was published in the San Francisco Call on November 27, 1896:

There is a haunted vessel in Oakland Creek. The watchman asserts that the ghost is harmless, but those who have been on the vessel for several trips say that the "spook" comes along as regularly as Thanksgiving. Some years ago the vessel was in Honolulu, and at that time the Hawaiian Star said: "The men in the forecastle see the ghost of Captain Williams frequently. Off Molokai the night before the Occidental was towed to the Pacific Mail dock there was a great commotion forward. The man on watch and two other men who hurried above when he called declare they saw Captain Williams on deck. They give a perfect description of the dead man. They say he looked ahead intently for several seconds, turned as if to give orders, uttered a short agonizing groan, staggered amidships and disappeared. Every man forward corroborates this account."

Captain Williams is the restless spirit and he was murdered on the forward deck of the Occidental nearly nine years ago. The vessel was on her way from Liverpool to a South American port with a mixed crew. There was trouble almost from the start and the captain had to be constantly on the watch. One moonlight night when everybody was below, or supposed to be, Captain Williams went forward to see if everything was snug for the night. One of his men who thought he had been abused thrust a knife into his back as the captain turned to go forward. The blade pierced his heart, and Williams, after casting an agonizing glance around, dropped dead. His murderer is now serving a life sentence in San Quentin. He and some of his accomplices were turned over to the American Consul at Callao and sent to San Francisco. Their trial resulted in the acquittal of all except the man who is now in the State prison. In spite of the ghost the Occidental has been one of the most successful vessels trading in and out of the Golden Gate. Latterly there have been no charters in sight and she has been tied up in Oakland Creek.

Watchmen pooh-pooh the idea of a ghost, but, nevertheless, those who know assert that about Thanksgiving time the ghost of Captain Williams appears on the forward deck and the scene of the killing is again enacted. The Occidental is one of the staunchest vessels in the American marine. She has been for years on the coast. Many of the old pilots and sea captains remember Captain Williams as one of the brightest and best of the old-time skippers.

I'm not positive that there was an actual 'ghost' of Captain John Williams, but it is true that he died on the Occidental:

The Daily Morning Republican, Fresno, California, May 4, 1888––The jury in the case of John Johnson, the seaman charged with the murder of Captain John Williams on the ship Occidental in March 1887, found him guilty of manslaughter today. The jury returned a verdict after six hours’ deliberation. Johnson will be sentenced Monday.

I found an entry in AMERICAN MERCHANT SHIPS 1850-1900, SERIES ONE AND TWO (2 volumes) that referenced Captain Williams' final voyage:

TIME-LIFE Mysteries of the Unknown: Inside the World of the Strange and Unexplained

Pirates: The Complete History From 1300 Bc To The Present Day

Ghosts: A Natural History: 500 Years of Searching for Proof

Shipwrecks, Monsters, and Mysteries of the Great Lakes


The Messengers: Owls, Synchronicity and the UFO Abductee

Stories from the Messengers: Owls, UFOs and a Deeper Reality

Impossible Realities: The Science Behind Energy Healing, Telepathy, Reincarnation, Precognition, and Other Black Swan Phenomena

I Am the Word: A Guide to the Consciousness of Man's Self in a Transitioning Time

Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook

Astonishing Encounters: Pennsylvania's Unknown Creatures, Casebook 3

Encounters with Flying Humanoids: Mothman, Manbirds, Gargoyles & Other Winged Beasts

Monsters of Texas

Don't Look Behind You: Following Ghost Roads Into the Unknown

Beyond the Seventh Gate: Exploring Toad Road, The Seven Gates of Hell, and Other Strangeness in York, Lancaster, and Adams Counties

Bigfoot in Pennsylvania: A History of Wild-Men, Gorillas, and Other Hairy Monsters in the Keystone State

Wood Knocks Volume 1: A Journal of Sasquatch Research

Wood Knocks Volume 2: A Journal of Sasquatch Research

Wood Knocks Volume 3: Journal of Sasquatch Research

The Black Eyed Children

Strange Intruders

The Essential Guide to Bigfoot

The Lake Michigan Mothman: High Strangeness in the Midwest

Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah

The Monster Book: Creatures, Beasts and Fiends of Nature

A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts: Encounters with Cryptid Creatures

The Mothman Prophecies: A True Story

The Time Before the Secret Words: On the path of Remote Viewing, High Strangeness and Zen

The Zozo Phenomenon

The Djinn Connection: The Hidden Links Between Djinn, Shadow People, ETs, Nephilim, Archons, Reptilians and Other Entities

Beyond the Seventh Gate: Exploring Toad Road, The Seven Gates of Hell, and Other Strangeness in York, Lancaster, and Adams Counties

The Beast of Boggy Creek: The True Story of the Fouke Monster

Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster

Momo: The Strange Case of the Missouri Monster

Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of the Southern Sasquatch

The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin's Werewolf

Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America

Monsters Among Us: An Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and Odd Phenomena

The Royal Arch of Enoch

The Real Men In Black: Evidence, Famous Cases, and True Stories of These Mysterious Men and their Connection to UFO Phenomena

The Van Meter Visitor: A True and Mysterious Encounter with the Unknown

Monsters of West Virginia: Mysterious Creatures in the Mountain State

Venus Rising: A Concise History of the Second Planet

Final Countdown: Rockets to Venus

Cosmic Ray's Excellent Venus Adventure

The Brimstone Deceit: An In-Depth Examination of Supernatural Scents, Otherworldly Odors, and Monstrous Miasmas

Thieves in the Night: A Brief History of Supernatural Child Abductions

Voices From the Cosmos

Humanoid Encounters Series - Albert S. Rosales

Monsterland: Encounters with UFOs, Bigfoot and Orange Orbs

The Chilling, True Terror of the Black-Eyed Kids: A Monster Compilation

Beasts of Britain

Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens

Passport to the Cosmos

Weird Winged Wonders: The Twilight World Of Cryptid Creatures

Fingerprints of the Gods

Into The Fringe: A True Story of Alien Abduction

The Candle and the Crossroads: A Book of Appalachian Conjure and Southern Root-Work

Creole Religions of the Caribbean: An Introduction from Vodou and Santeria to Obeah and Espiritismo, Second Edition (Religion, Race, and Ethnicity)

Slenderman: From Fiction to Fact

The Starchild Skull -- Genetic Enigma or Human-Alien Hybrid?

Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers

Grimoire for the Green Witch: A Complete Book of Shadows

The Lost City of the Exodus: The Archaeological Evidence behind the Journey Out of Egypt

Moses and Akhenaten: Brothers in Alms

The Crystal Bible

Encyclopedia of Crystals, Revised and Expanded

Winged Cryptids: Humanoids, Monsters & Anomalous Creatures Casebook

Alien Disclosure: Experiencers Expose Reality

Mothman Dynasty: Chicago's Winged Humanoids

Haunted Rock & Roll: Ghostly Tales Of Musical Legends

Angel Medicine

Toward the Light: Rescuing Spirits, Trapped Souls, and Earthbound Ghosts

Light the Way: A Guide to Becoming a Rescue Medium

Owl Medicine

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure

Pow-Wows, or Long Lost Friend: A Collection of Mysterious and Invaluable Arts and Remedies, for Man as Well as Animals

Energy Essentials for Witches and Spellcasters

Powwowing Among the Pennsylvania Dutch: A Traditional Medical Practice in the Modern World (Pennsylvania German History and Culture)

The Mothman Prophecies: A True Story

Operation Trojan Horse: The Classic Breakthrough Study of UFOs

The Eighth Tower: On Ultraterrestrials and the Superspectrum

Our Haunted Planet

Strange Creatures From Time and Space