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datatime: 2022-12-04 20:21:59 Author:WpCWQuUZ

There are. Verne scholars exist everywhere. But Dr. Paul Hereoux, president of the Society of Jules Verne in Amiens, France, which was Verne's home from 1872 until he died in 1905, is considered the most knowledgeable man on the author's life.

Strange? asked Pitt.

The same, Perlmutter answered Pitt.I'd forgotten the strange circumstances behind her grounding on Roncador Reef off Venezuela in 1894.

No, he was dead serious, replied Perlmutter,and what's important is that his entire crew backed him up. Not one of them who witnessed the spectacle varied his story. Their testimony described a large steel monster that was impenetrable to a series of cannon shots the Kearsarge poured into it-they simply bounced off. They also mentioned some sort of pyramid-shaped tower on its back that appeared to have viewing ports. Captain Hunt swore that he saw a face staring back at him through one of the ports, a man with a beard.

It's odd that such a vessel, if it truly existed, could cruise the world for almost thirty years without its being seen more often, or one of its crew deserting ashore and telling the story. And if it sailed around ramming and sinking ships, how come there were not more survivors to report the incidents?

Strange? asked Pitt.

It's odd that such a vessel, if it truly existed, could cruise the world for almost thirty years without its being seen more often, or one of its crew deserting ashore and telling the story. And if it sailed around ramming and sinking ships, how come there were not more survivors to report the incidents?

Perlmutter ran out of steam and was about to reach for the port bottle again when a look of revelation swept over his face.I just thought of something, he said, raising his great bulk out of his chair with ease. He disappeared down the hall for several minutes before reappearing with a book in one hand.A copy of the board of inquiry minutes concerning the sinking of the U.S. Navy frigate Kearsarge.

The crew agreed that it was cigar shaped, cylindrical with conical ends. As would be expected, they estimated the size anywhere from one to three hundred feet, with a beam of twenty to forty feet.

Twenty-eight years earlier.

Strange? asked Pitt.

Perlmutter nodded.Yes, the feat didn't happen again until fifty years later, in August of 1914, when the U-21 sank the HMS Pathfinder in the North Sea. The Hunley sat on the bottom buried in silt for a hundred and thirty-six years before she was discovered, raised and placed in a conservation laboratory tank to preserve her for public display. When she was inspected at first hand and the silt and remains of her crew removed from inside, she was found to be far more modern in concept than was supposed. She was quite streamlined, and she had a rudimentary snorkel system with bellows to pump air, ballast tanks with pumps, diving planes and flush rivets to reduce water drag. That last thing, by the way, was a concept that nobody thought had been used before Howard Hughes flushed the rivets on an aircraft he designed in the mid-nineteen-thirties. The Hunley even experimented with electromagnetic engines, but that technology was not ready, so eight men sat inside the submarine and turned a crank that spun the propeller for propulsion. After that, submarine science lagged until John Holland and Simon Lake began experimenting with and building submarines that were accepted by several countries, including us and the Germans. Those early efforts would have looked crude beside Captain Nemo's Nautilus.

Come to think of it, the Kearsarge was not the only vessel reported sunk by an undersea monster.

No, he was dead serious, replied Perlmutter,and what's important is that his entire crew backed him up. Not one of them who witnessed the spectacle varied his story. Their testimony described a large steel monster that was impenetrable to a series of cannon shots the Kearsarge poured into it-they simply bounced off. They also mentioned some sort of pyramid-shaped tower on its back that appeared to have viewing ports. Captain Hunt swore that he saw a face staring back at him through one of the ports, a man with a beard.

Probably somewhere in between, Pitt said thoughtfully.Somewhere slightly more than two hundred feet in length with a twenty-five-foot beam. Not exactly an underwater craft to be taken lightly in 1894.

Strange? asked Pitt.

Who's to say? said Perlmutter, with an indifferent shrug.Perhaps Jules Verne heard of such a vessel and created Captain Nemo and his Nautilus around it.

There are. Verne scholars exist everywhere. But Dr. Paul Hereoux, president of the Society of Jules Verne in Amiens, France, which was Verne's home from 1872 until he died in 1905, is considered the most knowledgeable man on the author's life.

Come to think of it, the Kearsarge was not the only vessel reported sunk by an undersea monster.

Pitt set his glass on the table but refused another when offered.I can't believe a supernatural vessel decades ahead of its time 'was built by private individuals.

Come to think of it, the Kearsarge was not the only vessel reported sunk by an undersea monster.

The ship that sank the famous Confederate raider Alabama?

That, said Perlmutter sternly,was a real whale. I'm talking about another U.S. Navy ship, the Abraham Lincoln, which reported an encounter with an undersea craft that rammed and shattered her rudder.

It seems a stretch to think that the mysterious monster wasn't designed and constructed by an industrial nation, said Pitt, still skeptical.

Twenty-eight years earlier.

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