Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hallowe’en post!

I will refrain from (self-congratulatory) France-posting for a the time being for a “ripped-from-the-archives” bit of House of Horrors: Canadian Wilderness Edition. This is a true story!

In 1829, the sailors of the Victory , a fishing schooner from the Magdalene Islands put in at Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St Lawrence. On reaching the shore near where the government supply house was supposed to be, they spotted a rowboat pulled up on the shore, but no sign of a larger vessel from where it might have come. They suspected it might have been from a shipwrecked vessel, common enough on the fog enshrouded, storm-wracked island that already was known as The Graveyard of the Gulf.

A party from the Victory landed ashore to investigate. Pushing inland, they called out for survivors, growing increasingly nervous as their shouts were abosrbed by the gloom that covered Anticosti like a shroud.

Finally, they came to the government shelter. Opening the door, they saw a single man, lying dead on a hammock, although he appeared to have been in good health and showed no sign of injury. As their eyes adjusted to the gloom they saw strips of meat hanging from the ceiling rafters, and more stacked near the wall. Scattered over the floor were scraps of clothing and bones.

The fisherman, on finding a ship's log, realized that the rowboat was from the Granicus, which had left Quebec City in October of the previous year with a crew and passengers totaling 28 people, heading for Ireland. It had wrecked on Anticosti and, like the Victory, came to the government shelter looking for food. They discovered that for some reason known only to 19th century colonial bureaucrats, the stores had been removed.

The fisherman realized that the meat was not that from the government stores – the dead man on the hammock had been the last survivor of a horrifying ordeal of starvation and cannibalism. The remains of his fellow crewmen were lying behind the shelter, flesh stripped from their bones.

And in the fireplace, the sailors found a giant stewpot, in which the arms of the unfortunate passengers of the Granicus bristled, in one man’s recollection, “palms upward as if beseeching the Heavens for mercy.”


blueVicar said...

I'll try again...

Scary stuff!! Over the last week I've been reading Halloween related posts by expatriate bloggers...and putting the links to them on my blog.

Meilleurs vœux!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.