1946: SS Samwater and the Chinese Curse

The following article from the port of Plymouth, Devon was published in the Western Morning News on June 17, 1946. The piece suggests that a French collector of Chinese antiques may have procured cursed objects…thus leading to strange occurrences on-board, including his sudden disappearance: A strange story of a Chinese curse which laid a hoodoo on a ship, culminating in the mysterious disappearance of a French millionaire banker, was told at Plymouth yesterday by members of the crew of the 10,500 tons Glen Line steamer Samwater, which arrived from Vancouver. For six months the Samwater had crossed and recrossed the Pacific, taking cargoes of wheat from Canada to China without incident, until on her last trip M. Henri Bar, 60-years-old president of the Franco-Chinoise Bank in Shanghai, embarked to return to Paris. He took with him 25 crates containing Chinese antiques and treasures which he had collected during his […] Read More

1527: The Conquistadors encounters with Giants

After a failed invasion of Northern Florida, the Spanish conqueror and explorer Pánfilo de Nárvaez retreated back to port with a ragged bunch of restless men. More than half of his platoon had either been killed by the savage Florida jungles or were picked off by killer native attacks. Supplies had vanished, and when Narváez returned to the harbor he discovered that his ships had all disappeared. Returning to Cuba without him. He ordered the construction of four large rafts and told his fellow soldiers that this is “where New Spain ends”.  It is not known for certain where and when Narváez died. The last man to see Narváez alive and tell of it was Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, a junior officer of the Narváez expedition. According to Cabeza de Vaca, when he asked Narváez for more food and provisions Narváez refused, basically saying “every man for himself.” The […] Read More

Stars And Numbers

Ancient civilization saw nothing absurd in the claims of astrology, no more than many an educated and thoroughly scientific man sees in it today. Judicial astrology, by which the fate and acts of men and nations might be foreknown, [hardly] appeared, nor does it even now appear, any more unphilosophical or unscientific than does natural astrology or astronomy-by which the events of so-called brute and inanimate nature (changes of weather, &c.), might be predicted. For it was not even prophetic insight that was claimed by the votaries of that abstruse and really grand science, but simply a great proficiency in that method of procedure which allows the astrologer to foresee certain events in the life of a man by the position of the planets at the time of his birth. Once the probability, or even the simple possibility, of an occult influence exercised by the stars upon the destiny […] Read More

2000: Tesla’s Death Ray

Given that Tesla‘s inventions generally possessed an element of social conscience, of doing good for humanity, it may seem surprising that he created a number of devices with military applications. And the notion of the Tesla harnessing his mind for purposes of war may seem immensely frightening. After all, this is the man who boasted that with his resonance generator he could split the earth in two… and no one was ever quite sure whether he was joking. The first Tesla invention with a proposed military use was his automaton technology, with which the labor of human beings could be performed by machines. Specifically, Tesla produced remote-controlled boats and submarines. He demonstrated the wireless ship at an exposition in Madison Square Garden in 1898. The automaton apparatus was so advanced, it used a form of voice recognition to respond to the verbal commands of Tesla and volunteers from the […] Read More