Monday, August 26, 2013

Maritime Mystery For Monday...!

We have covered quite a mixture of mysteries on our Monday Mysteries", but I don't think we've done this one before.

This one is pretty strange, to say the least. It is also one that I would like to have an answer to, without a doubt!

The Greytown Noises

In March 1867, passengers and crew including Captain Reeks aboard the Royal Mail steamer Danube were startled to hear strange, baffling noises at sea while the ship was anchored near Greytown (also known as San Juan de Nicaragua) off the coast of Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea. Similar noises were heard at other times by sailors aboard steamships in the same area. Captain Charles Dennehy of the Shannon was one who spoke about his experience in a letter to Nature magazine.

The phenomenon appeared to occur only in iron hulled vessels, not ships with wooden hulls and only at night, though not every night—heavy swells were seen to prevent the freakish occurrence. The noise was described as a loud, high pitched, metallic, monotonous vibration traveling through the ship’s metal hull. One witness likened the sound to an Aeolian harp and observed the iron plates resonating. The sound could last for several hours before suddenly ceasing. No one on shore reported hearing anything unusual.

Captain Dennehy said the sound had a distinct ¾ time signature like a waltz that turned his ship’s hull into a “great musical sounding board.” According to the unflappable captain, the source couldn’t be determined by listeners as it appeared to be everywhere outside the ship and could also be heard clearly in various places around the vessel.

Following letters posted in Nature and Field magazines by witnesses, speculation ranged from schools of Sciaenidae (a type of fish known for its “drumming”), sharks, alligators, turtles, manatees, currents changed by the silting in the harbor, sea quakes, gas escaping underwater, a previously undiscovered form of electricity, or even a new type of mesmerism. The riddle of the Grey Town noises may never be solved—we can find no mention of it after 1871—but weird noises at sea have been reported in other locations around the world right up to modern times.

Land locked mysteries are intriguing enough, but those that take place in the air or aboard ships are even more creepy! I sure wouldn't want to be aboard when these noises started, would you?

Coffee in the kitchen today. I'm liking the idea of some apple turnovers, OK?


Gorges Smythe said...

Perhaps the whales were having a sing-along!

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
That could very well be! Never thought about it.

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Chickenmom said...

I'll go with Gorges' idea. Whales or dolphins. Going to be warm today - it's 62 already. Love apple turnovers!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Having coffee by the computer today. It was so much quieter in those days. I found a reference that people near Lexington VA could hear the cannon fire of civil war battles near Washington DC. It wouldn't be noticed these days as there is so much more back ground noise.

linda m said...

I also will go along with Gorges' idea. Very warm day here along with high humidity. Definitely coffee inside and I'l have an apple turnover please.

Sixbears said...

There are weird sounds out there sometimes, but that's a good one. The steel hull must be the key. Good mystery.

Light rain this morning, so fresh roasted Mexican coffee inside.

JO said...

Sounds interesting enough. The ocean is a never ending moving place who knows what is down there at any given time of tides.

It will only be 94 here today but the humidity will be 87 :( Inside for coffee is a great idea.

BBC said...

I could pretty much care less.