COMET ELECTRIFIES SHIP
LEAVES COMPASS LOONEY
MISSING HEAVENLY BODY STRIKING SEA NEAR VESSEL,
DEMAGNETIZES INSTRUMENTS AND SETS CREW A-TREMBLING
CARDIFF. Feb 26. -- Weird in the extreme was the story told by Capt. Davies of the steamer Trafalgar, now in port with his ship disabled by an unaccountable magnetic visitation that rendered the compass useless.
"We have been struck by a comet or a thunderbolt, and our ship is disabled," he said. "We were bound from Port Talbot to Bastia with coals, leaving port on Wednesday, and this morning we were about ten miles southwest of the Wolf Rock when the vessel trembled violently, and there was a loud, sharp report like the explosion of a cannon. The foremast seemed a mass of flames, and the whole ship became aglow.
"At that moment we saw a large, fiery body, with a tail about 30 feet to 40 feet long, strike the sea about 20 feet from us. Its appearance was accompanied by a loud, hissing noise, and as it disappeared, a column of water rose in the air.
Sets Fo'c's'le "on Fire"
"Directly after, the men came running out of the forecastle, saying it was on fire. The whole of the interior was glowing with a brilliant light. The effect of the phenomenon in the engine room was most awe-inspiring, the whole place glowing in a faint, violet light from which millions of sparks emanated. All the men rushed upon deck.
"The second mate happened to be sounding the (well) at the time and received a violent shock from the steel rod which he held in his hand. The phenomenon did not last many seconds. When we had recovered from our surprise, we looked at the compasses and found them all demagnetized and awry.
"In that predicament I decided to put back for the nearest port, but as we were experiencing blinding snowstorms and could get no assistance from our compasses, it was a difficult task. At last we picked up the Lizard, and by following coasting vessels, put into Falmouth."
Strange to say, when the compasses were taken ashore, they resumed their normal condition and were strictly accurate. It is feared that the ship has become highly magnetized, and experts will go on board to decide how the problem can be solved.
This reference: Indianapolis Star, 27th February 1910
With thanks to Chris Aubeck for the use of his material. Translations and notes © Chris Aubeck, 2001
UFOCAT PRN – None
Europe – Southern England & Wales
Port Talbot Latitude 51-36 N, Longitude 3-47 W (D-M)
Wolf Rock Latitude 49-57 N, Longitude 5-48 W
Falmouth Latitude 50-09 N, Longitude 5-05 W
Reference: United Kingdom Gazetteer, prepared in the Division of Geography, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., April 1950.
Bastia – Two found
France Latitude 42-42 N, Longitude 09-27 E (D-M) [Corsica]
Italy Latitude 43-04 N, Longitude 12-33 E