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Episode 104: Anchored


The ocean is very good at taking things from us, but we are equally skilled at not forgetting. Still, no matter how many stories we tell about lost ships and vanished loved ones, it will never bring them back. At least, that’s what most people believe.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey there before we start today, I've got some cool news to share with you. I recently narrated my first fiction: audio books project, it's an original production of classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, who basically invented the horror category and its available for free apple books. This was a new kind of project for me and very, very proud of the work done over in this new genres, so check it out again. This audio books for and you can download Frankenstein right now, narrated by me only on apple books, go to apple that seo. Slash great first listens to get it today. That's apple. That ceo, Slash, great first listens and now on, with the show
The farmers around the lake had known about them for centuries. The stories they whispered. Word so unbelievable that they spread far and wide drawing in curious explorers and trophy hunters, but it was until nineteen twenty eight. When someone figured out how to reach them, they would simply have to drain the lake. It took a team of archaeologists and civil engineers and even a few men, Birds of the italian Navy, nearly three years to drain enough water from the lake, but when they were done, they had uncovered something mind boggling. It was a pair of enormous ships built entirely of cedar each one stretching the two hundred fifty feet in length granted. This was nineteen thirty. So the world had already seen larger ships. The titanic, for example,
sure over eight hundred feet long. So three of these wooden ships could have sat on her top deck when they were constructed, though there was nothing like them in the world, That's because they had been built during the reign of the roman emperor, Caligula, making them nearly two thousand years old and they are just large ships. They had internal plumbing that included hot and cold running water, mosaic tile floors and bathrooms. They were even decorated with gold and silver and Statues installed on ball, bearings that allowed them to rotate and operate mundane tasks. They were pleasure, barges fit for an emperor and then they sunk beneath the waves. That's the problem with ships each one a labour of love and the culmination of thousands of years of technological advancement and yet when their complete, replace them in the most. Unpredictable environment on the planet. The sea
Given enough time, the sea will demand payment, even if that payment is large or valuable or just too painful to bear every now and then, however, the rules get broken. The sea reaches out takes what it wants and then discovers that some things are just too hard to hold onto. Sometimes those ships come back, I'm Erin Mahnke and this is lore- As far back as the late, sixteen hundreds main has been a source of materials that shipbuilders need. We know, for example, that in sixteen ninety two masses
its governor, Sir William Phipps travelled north the main to oversee amasses shipment of timber. They would be loaded to a ship and transported back across the Atlantic to be used by the royal shipyards in their efforts to grow, the british Navy, the new world represented new research Says, and in an age before steel ocean liners, the vast forests of main were a gold mine for anyone interested in shipbuilding, but even after America, one independence from England, that legacy continued and as global trade. Celebrated more and more people alone, the coastline put their fortunes into shipping. while those ships remain did a lot of exporting that Strong old timber was needed in a lot of places, even south in the Caribbean, as trade and molasses and sugar increased, though ships began to bring goods back with an ever increasing urgency.
Some of that business in wealth poured back into coastal main. That was the world that the Porter brothers lived in back in the early eighties Hundreds, the porters were a large family of twelve brothers, most of whom were involved in some aspects of the shipping industry, and it was right there orders landing in free port mean that William Porter, along with master shipbuilder James Brewer, completed work on a brand new schooner. it was built for speed and agility, something that had become Creasy important the important as the war of eighteen, twelve crept, closer and closer to main and one of the side effects of that war was a british blockade that threatened their shipping busy. A fast and maneuverable ship was exactly what they needed to outrun the authorities and maintain their livelihood, and the ship was so fast that they gave it the world's most obvious name, the dash
The dash spent about a year doing exactly vat on the very first run, the crew of the dash sailed out of Portland Main, and South toward Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, New England, goods were traded for essentials like coffee in sugar, and then they headed back nor Along the way they encountered a british blockade who ordered the dash to surrender. Instead, they raise their sales and sped away out I mean a deadly british man of war, the time they arrived safely back in Portland Harbour. They were a legend in September, of eighteen. Fourteen that reputation earn them a job, offer the. U S, government wanted to I heard them as privateers sure it came with official orders and that made their actions. legal, at least from the american point of view, but it was centrally and offered to become something most of us have heard about all throughout our lives. Pirates permission was to hunt down and capture enemy there.
those whether they were serving duty as military ships are not what the crew did with those captured. Ships was entirely up to All the government wanted was for them to be removed from the board, so to speak, to be taken out of play. Most privateers would bring their captured ships at home and seldom off cargo in all making it a lucrative enterprise, and the dash was good at it. She was the nineteenth century version of the many Cooper in the film, the italian job light and quick and impossible to catch Thanks to some military provided guns, she could all sting when she had you, so the crew went hunting their first official catch was a british cruiser. after that they defeated the h m. Ass lasted Demonian, a massive thirty eight gun worship. Naturally, they took him back to Portland and those victories brought them to things fame,
and wealth. The dash had developed a reputation for being unstoppable, which was probably fund and encouraging for the crew, but also making money hand over fist between October of eighteen, fourteen in January of one thousand, eight hundred and fifteen just a four month span the dash managed to capture at least five enemy ships. by selling off their cargo at market rates. Her crew was to bring in a payday of around one hundred twenty thousand dollars in modern currency. That would be worth nearly two million today all told over the course of seven missions. as a privateer the dash, never let an enemy vessel get away and she was never shot financially She was one of the most successful privateer ships of the entire war, but she was also untouchable. No,
other shit manage to build such a spotless reputation over such a short amount of time. The dash was practically legendary, but every legend must come to an end and the dash was no. Exception, our world moves a lot faster than it used to at least that's how it feels in some ways. Things definitely have sped up. Communication is a great example of that today. We can send a text message to a friend across the country and they'll receive it in an instant, it's magical and so normal that we take it all for granted, but in one thousand eight hundred and fourteen things were different: There was no internet, no cellular network, not even a telephone. If you wanted to let the world know something, it took time
like setting an ice cube on the counter and waiting for it all to melt and, to be honest, there's a lot about that. That's attractive, slowing down can sometimes be a good thing other times, though, Can cause problems take the end of the war of eighteen, twelve, for example, on Christmas Eve of it. Fourteen represented from the United States and Britain gathered in Belgium to sign the Treaty of Ghent to end the war, and I was it on paper, the war, was over. A news still had to spread. so in early January of one thousand, eight hundred and fifteen, as Captain John Porter, was preparing the dash for another mission out into the Atlantic. He and his crew had no idea their job was over. So What about all the tasks involved in getting ready to set sail supplies were brought on board and the sailors made preparations for departure. It was a good crew that day, Captain Porter was just twenty two years old, but had a lifetime.
Experience under his belt. It was his family that had built the dash after all and while his wife was If at home and pregnant with their first child, family was close at hand, two of his brothers were serving on the ship twenty four year old, Ebenezer an eighteen year, call Jeremiah alongside them. We're does of other men, many of whom we're from the local free port area. When they were ready. They began to leave Portland harbour a narrow stew. of water, where the river meets the ocean, but before they could exit, they were approached by another ship and the New Comer held them down. It was the Champlain a newly commissioned pray tier who was joining their ranks to help fight the war. Well, that's what they assumed, but we ve already covered that heavily the crew of the jam plain had heard all the stories about the dash they had her. the tales of her untouched record of the massive fortune her crew had earned, and, of course of that, unlike actual speed that made it all possible and the jam plain
wanted to do something about it, they wanted a race. Cabin porter and his crew could have said no. They could have made it clear that they had This is to be and ships to steal. They could have thanked the crew of the jam plain for their kind words and welcomed them onto the team so to speak and then moved on but instead they took the challenge to heart sort of like Marty, Mcfly and back to the future. When presented with a challenge, the dash was always quick to accept it, The two ships sped north from Portland Harbour out into the dark cold waters of the Atlantic. Remember it was January so the wind would have been painfully cold, as both vessels raced across the waves over time. It became clear exactly why the dash had earned the reputation people whispered about it, pulled a head and then kept going. For long. The Champlain was so far behind that they simply gave up and start, but when they did, they noticed something alarming.
in all the excitement surrounding the race. They failed to notice They were sailing straight into a dark ominous storm coming down from the north, the crew. Champlain turn their ship around and began to head home looking back over their shoulders, though they could see the dash continuing north straight into the storm. No one knows for certain why Captain Porter fail to turn back ass. It was an error in judgments or Maybe it was his passionate desire to prove his ship superiority whenever His reason might have been kept them from returning home safely, most be assume the ship was puzzled by the massive storm it might have been the way. if that dinner, in reaching up from the sea to pull the dashed down into the depths, or it could have been the wind that ended driving the vessel to Far EAST, where it floundered off the coast of Nova Scotia. In the end, though, all we can do is guess.
The only thing that certain is that the dash never return home, no debris was ever found. No shipwreck ever responded and nobody's ever washed ashore. The dash and raced off toward the horizon and never came back most of the time, the things we lose never come back to us a slip into another realm and cease to exist. All were left with is a memory, perhaps an emotion or just a feeling on certain days of the year. Most things that are lost are never found. But I'm not so sure, that's the case with the dash, because in a year
the followed. Her tragic and mysterious disappearance stories began to spread story, about how the dash had come back, and it was the fishermen who noticed it. First. According to their tails. It only happened when a dense fog rolled into cask obey. They claimed that the legendary ship would sail into view cutting through the fog like a knife, and even though the sightings took place long after the ship was lost, they knew exam. We what they were looking at thanks to the name painted right on the side of the hall, the dash Others saw the ship as well, sometimes from shore. They say that the ghost ship always made the same journey. Had he north from cask obey straight into the long finger like islands that make up harps while sound its direction no sailor in their right mind would raise a schooner torn or risk of
in ground on one of the many jagged rocks there, and yet the ghostly dash never seem to care. The story spread out over the years as stories have a way of doing this, Jerry Dash might have been gone, but more and more people claim to see it from time to time and those claims in fired even more stories. That's how folklore works. After all its inorganic thing, alive and growing because of the people who whisper about it or maybe, in spite of them, One sixty six american poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, sat down and put the legend into verse in a poem he called the dead ship of harps. Well, took many of the common elements of the legend surrounding the dash and put them into the popular mind, helping the stories to spread. And farther. If you were alive in the northeast of United States in the late eighteen, hundreds chances were good. You heard the poem once or twice in your life.
One of the details that Whittier spread through his poem was the idea of a curse at the wives witness the dash first hand. soon learn that their husband had passed away. Become an omen of sorts privateer. To steal loved ones, rather than british supplies, Sure I believe in signs and omens, but there's no denying the power folklore Worries like this one rarely fade away, and that's what all of these were stories, Humans are very good at inventing tails to entertain and keep their memories alive. but one later event seems to call all of that into question what if the stories were true in eighteen for he too cask obey became home to a number of. U S. Navy vessels that word set to guard the coastline from axis invaders were war too, was in full swing and enemy ships were a constant threat
so much so that the Navy had set up a new electronic detection system to watch for them called radar life in cask, obey wasn't about to start for the navy. Fishermen had work to do. Schools had children to teach and businesses. Now to operate, but they did all of this with a new influx of neighbours who came along with the military presence, and at least one of those locals became a bit too friendly with one of those newcomers. homer grim, lived on the southern end of cask obey and had been having an affair with the wife of one of the Navy officers. A man named Bragton miss is Bragton was said to be a beautiful vivacious woman with a lot of time on her hands and homer and became her pastime of sorts, and they had a pretty complex arrangements, homer would roll out from his home in a small boats and pick MRS Bragton up near her own home, then the
would rule out to an island in the Bay Doc their boats and find a comfortable spot to. Well, you get the idea. It had gone on like this for some time, but one foggy night in August of nineteen forty two they hit a snag. They were safely hidden away on their little island when an explosion rocked the ground. One of the warships in the bay had fired and the projectile had struck a little too close to their hideout. Homer cautiously appeared out to sea what had happened, assuming that MRS Brachmans husband had finally caught on and what. using the might of his worship to exact revenge, and that's when he noticed the other ship. It was an old schooner, much smaller than the large naval vessel. Her sails were full and she was speeding northward through the water passing between worship and their island hideaway, and then he,
what is the name painted on the side of the ship. It was the dash. Do the navy, though it was in invading ship, the sounds of lasting horns and powerful guns filled. The air and the larger ship gave chase to the old wooden schooner scene says their chance to quietly slip away, homer MRS bragged incline back down to their skiff and pushed out into the bay hoping to row home before they got caught. but moments later. The noises that filled the bay died down in homer look, to see the dash had vanished. whatever it, was that the worship had been chasing. They had lost sight of it as if it had slip through the veil between this world and the next. The Navy ship did spot something else, though homer and his mistress their little skiff. Was promptly intercepted and the officers on duty began to question them about what they had seen frustrated to hear that
homer had seen the exact same thing is them the officers decided to send a crew too short to call The fears of the locals, who had heard the gunfire and also ask if they too, had seen anything out of the ordinary and many had apparently which left the navy with a very difficult problem on their hands. They had been tasked with protecting the coastline of main, but. Somehow ended up firing, expensive and deadly ammunition into the bay they needed to explain it. But in the end the truth was a lot less believable than it should have been. They had fired at a ghost ship. For as long as humans have been building ships and pushing out into the deep dark waters of our world, though, ships have been disappearing,
Some of the oldest shipwrecks, discovered by archaeologist, have been found in the Black Sea dating back over twenty four hundred years, but as humanity expanded toward the oceans and then beyond. Ocean born tragedy was bound to happen. Ships were expensive to build and they took a lot of time I'm an effort to get right so having one disappear into the waves of the cold Atlantic was a painful loss for any business with a stake in the game. In fact, one of the oldest insurance companies in the world Boys of London began, and in the sixteen eightys as a way to ensure ships, loss was always assumed. But the biggest tragedy of all is the loss of life. When the ship goes down, it takes dozens, perhaps hundreds of sailors with it, and each of them has a family.
back home, a community that will more in their loss and fight to remember them, because when a ship this appears so too does a part of us. So we try to hold on and that's where folklore comes in its an anchor that helps us stay. A little closer to what we lost to remind us of the lives that once played out around us and just how fragile they really are details we tell about the ocean are really stories about US stories like this one in nineteen. Seventy five SAM Smith took his mother out to lunch along the coast of cask obey. They enjoyed a bit of conversation, perhaps a bowl of clam chowder and had a normal lunch experience some point in the meal SAM's mother glanced out into the bay and went completely silent. Oh look, she said it's. The ghost ship of harps well
Hours later, he and his mother received a phone call, his father, had been working near the shore a little farther north and had some a massive fatal heart. Attack and as salmon his mother tried to process what had happened that day, of them were reminded of the poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, the dead ship of harps, well, a poem, The very same ship, his mother claim to see during lunch a poem about a cursed ship and the death it brings to those who witness it. So they pulled out their copy of warriors poems and turned to the correct page and began to read witty ears words. Even a century after they had been written, seem to vibrate with new meaning. And men shall sigh and women weep, whose dear ones pale and pine, and sadly sunset, sees await the ghostly sign
they know not that it sales are filled by pities tender breath. Nor see the angel at the helm, whose steers the ship of death. The story of the dead But hard swell is one of those perfect maritime go stories, but it's not the only one that still whispered about in Maine. I saved one more tale to share with you and I think you're going to love it stick around after the break to hear all about it. This episode was made possible by stamps tat come if you're, a small businesses You're busy enough as it is either have time to deal with the hassle of going to the post office with stamps dot com. You can skip the trip
never waste another dollar or minute steps that come with you print official postage right from your computer. So you can spend less time at post office and, more time running your business simply put stamps dot. Com saves time, money and stress for more than twenty years. Stamps that come here an indispensable for over one million businesses, giving you access to all the post office and you pay a shipping services. You need right from your computer and get discounts. You can't find anywhere else like up the forty percent off you S, p s rates and seventy six per se, Doc p s. All you need is a computer in a standard printer, no special supplies or equipment, you'll be up and running in minutes, printing official postage for any letter any package anywhere you want to send it. I've been happy Using stamps not come for years and as a business owner, it is a lifesaver say time and money. This year was stamped Stockholm sign up with a promo code. Lore for us
Special offer that includes a four week trial, free postage and a digital scale. No long term commitments or contracts just go to stamps dot, com click on the microphone at the top of the homepage and then type in the word lure that stamps dot com offer code lure stamps dot com, never go to the post office. Again, the Portland was a steamer. It was built. play one thousand eight hundred and eighty nine by the New England Shipbuilding Company in Bath Maine then delivered to a local client shortly after Ship was over two hundred eighty feet long and forty two feet wide, and it was this I'd we'll steamer with large paddle wheels on both sides of the ship that we're powered by the engines inside and it was a beauty to velvet carpet throughout and gold trim on the fixed
Yours and even though it had been built for shallow water, the ship owners used the Portland to transport past. Injures up and down the New England Coast between Portland Main and Boston to the south, unaware twenty six that eighteen, ninety eight, the Portland left, Boston, India, wharf and headed north. To make one of those routine trips, it would be an overnight journey delivering the passengers to Portland by morning, but as they pulled out of Boston CAP, Hollis Blanchard received a warning about the weather farther north, ignoring it the ship steamed ahead. no one is sure what happened that night as the Portland travelled north. But we know a lot of the storm it was actually to storm systems that happened to collide off the coast of New England with ferocious intensity When speeds reach ninety miles an hour in waves, recorded as high as forty feet farther north, where it was cold enough. Ten,
his of snow fell on land in just six hours, Stormy sea, though things were much darker over four hundred ships lost or wrecked that night, taking hundreds of innocent lives with them and among them were one hundred. Ninety passengers aboard the Portland. Even today, we don't know exactly what led to the ships to mine, because not a single person survived the wreckage and bodies washed ashore, helping to confer that the Portland would never returned home. Two main all told thirty bodies were recovered washed onto the rocky beach by the cold Atlantic waves. Of course, word about the wreck. Spread newspapers around the country he carried the news spreading the tragedy in pain to countless strangers in faraway places. It didn't help that the folks had begun.
refer to the Portland as the titanic of main. The loss of life was morbidly attractive to a lot of people, as was the mystery of the ships. Disappearance But the story doesn't end there. Many local main residents claim that something bizarre happens every year on the twenty seventh of November the universe, free of when the Portland had been scheduled to arrive. According to the tales, the old port exchange down near the Portland docks comes the site of the most unusual experience each year on that date, a crowd of ghostly. Yours is said to gather there. They are all described, is dressed in victorian era, clothing and are all dripping wet is if they just climbed out of the sea and yes, would be a frightening thing to see on a cold New England Autumn evening. There's no doubt about that, but that, not the most shocking thing about the sightings, because all of them record
other small detail that makes the tale even more difficult to forget each time. These victorian goes have spotted there have been the exact same number of them. Thirty, eight one for each body now washed ashore. this episode of Lore was written. An produced by me. Aaron Mahnke, with research help Robin Minister and music by Jan Lawson Lore is much more than just a podcast there's a book series in stores around the country and online and the second see and of the Amazon Prime Television show was recently released, check them both out, You want more lore in your life so make two other podcast Aaron Minky's cabinet, realities and unobserved, and I think you'd enjoy both one explores other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite sized epi,
odds to season long dives into a single topic, and you can learn about both of those shows, and everything else going on in the world of lore over in one central place: Thou world of lore dotcom slash. Now You can also follow the show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, just search for lore, podcast, all one word: click that follow button. When you do say hi, I like it when people say hi. And as always, thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.