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“Had single watch to-night, as crew too tired to double. When morning watch came on deck could find no one except steersman.”

In my 2021 comments, I argued that the Count was not behind the sailors’ disappearances. This log entry suggests another explanation: exhausted sailors make mistakes and/or skip safe practices (such as“one hand for yourself and one for the ship”) that cause them to fall overboard. The remaining crew is even more shorthanded than before, and is increasingly frightened by the possibility that someone is attacking the sailors. This causes a vicious cycle of further errors, leading to more loss of life.

If the ship were a square-rigger, men might also be killed or hurt by falling from the rigging. However, on a schooner like the Demeter, all sails are handled from the deck.

On the other hand, if tired and frightened sailors are making mistakes, it is odd that no sailor is reported as suffering serious injuries. A culture of manliness might mean that minor injuries are not reported to the captain or noted in the log, but disabling injuries would almost certainly be noted.

* I wrote this posting during a fairly intense thunderstorm, which definitely added gothic atmosphere.

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