Ghost Ship Arizona
November 10, 1885
"Ghost stories are now in order, and if one of the fishermen of [Gloucester] is to be believed, this one is a spook yarn of no ordinary dimensions. Last evening, Augustus Brown appeared as if he had seen an apparition of no mean proportions, and by systematic pumping Brown disclosed a few points to a [Boston] Globe reporter. The Cape Ann fishermen have been noted for their superstitions, but the latter have been of a mild type, many of the fishermen admitting that they throw away coins as they round Eastern Point, [and] are of the opinion that they must have one man in the crew a little under the weather when they hoist anchor.
The schooner Arizona of this port sailed to the Georges recently, and arrived in yesterday and will haul up for the season. The above named Brown, it appears, is the victim of an alleged apparition, and he was deeply moved when narrating a point or two at a time. From what could be learned, the Arizona was within fifteen or twenty miles of Mount Desert, Me., on the homeward passage.
Brown said one night a spook of wonderful dimensions come gliding over the rail about midships. It had a long body and a head of fearful proportions, about the size of a barrel. It possessed a wicked and enormous mouth with long teeth. The eyes resembled huge balls of fire, and the reflection about the vessel was lurid and weird. The lower part of the body shone with a hue about the color of burnished tin. It would remain awhile, to the consternation of Brown, who was the only one of the crew who saw it at that time.
These visits were renewed three times in succession to Brown, and at the fourth visit the captain and crew saw the visitor from another spirit world. The apparition paid particular attention to Brown until the captain was appealed to as an interlocutor. The captain spoke to the spook, and the reply was made in a deep marine voice that it wanted Brown to leave off drinking and sign the pledge. This mission fulfilled, his ghost ship (or Davy Jones' Locker) never more to return. Brown was thunderstruck, and as a result of the admonition of this outlandish sentinel of temperance, Brown has sworn off and says he will drink no more. Brown acknowledged that he had been an inveterate drinker for twenty years.
The reporter has been unable, so far, to see the captain of the Arizona to authenticate the fisherman's yarn. It may be that Brown was in quest of collateral with which he could wet down this original ghost story when he told it."