George Seamen, Murdered And Cannibalized Aboard Schooner Sallie M. Steelman

George Seamen, Murdered And Cannibalized Aboard, January 31, 1878, Time of Death Unknown.

Time of Cruise Ship Death

While this is not a case from a cruise ship, it certainly is indication enough that before taking off on a transatlantic cruise, or even a cruise around South America or Africa, you might want to ask the all important question, “how many days of ship’s stores will be aboard?”.

If a popcorn storm blows the ship off course and batters her so much the communications go down, will you survive the voyage of your dreams? All seamen know the term, “The Custom of the Sea.”. Do you know what it means?

It is hard to imagine that right off the coast of the U.S. a crew would become so distraught, so hungered that they would murder one of their fellow seamen, then eat him. It is called the “The Custom of the Sea”, you eat those aboard in order to survive with a Big Mac becoming a Big Mack. That is exactly what happened aboard the Schooner Sallie M. Steelman.

On January 20, 1878 a few days after leaving Charleston, South Carolina for Boston, Massachusetts, the Schooner Sallie M. Steelman, the ship met a gale about 20 miles off Hatteras.

The crew say the gale lasted for 70 hours. During that time the ship lost her gaffs and the sails were split. The crew had worked feverishly to bale out the water and keep this ship afloat for several days. By January 23 the food had all been consumed.

The story was told that Semen, a negro, had gone quite mad from the hunger. Rather than over-power him and restrain him, it seemed more appropriate to shoot him.

After shooting him, he lay on the deck for a reported period of four hours, before the starving crew got the idea they should eat him. Apparently, the thought of fishing in an ocean full of fish, never crossed their minds. And so they threw him a pot and had two meals of him, before being rescued. Once the crew was rescued, Captain S. G. Higby and mate James L. Somers simply went to their homes in New Jersey, forgetting about the horrendous act they and the rest of the crew had perpetuated on their fellow seaman, George Seaman.

The other crew consisted of steward Sylvester R. Herbert, seaman David Barrett, seaman George Hicks and seaman Walter Sampson.

July 22, 1884 – The crew of the Mignonette after hitting a storm rounding the Cape of Good Hope, getting battered and abandoning ship into a wooded boat, drew lots to see who they would kill and eat, the youngest among them the unfortunate victim.

October 26, 1889 – It would seem that taking more than enough ship’s stores on voyages and proper fishing gear for emergencies, was not a consideration of the captain of the SS Earnmoor either. Carl Graves, fireman, and Ludwig Loder, seaman, survivors of the steamship SS Earnmoor, told their story October 26, 1889 when they arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, of survived at sea by cannibalism of their fellow mates. As the ship ran out of the food, one by one the crew members died, and after each died, they were cooked by William Wright, the ship’s cook, then were eaten. Eaten were crew members William Robinson, Engineer Tom Hunt.

November 4, 2008 – While these previous stories are over a hundred years old, new stories still come to light, as recent as last year. Gregorio Maria Marizan told how when a ship with migrants was blown off course on a day cruise that had set sail with no food at all, after 15 days of passengers dying one after the other, they finally decided to eat the dead, so no more would die.Marizan said that both the boat’s engines died after leaving the Dominican Republic on the way to Puerto Rico. The captain disappeared in the darkness.