“What just happened?”
“Did you hear that?”
“It woke the baby.”
“My dog went crazy!”
“My whole house shook.”
mom walking on the Long Beach Pier watching the fisher-men
pulling in their catch. She said she heard the boom that
sounded like something exploded and the pier shook beneath
her. She was frightened and started to cry. Then a wizened old
fisherman came to her and got down on one knee.
“I can still remember the deep wrinkles on his face, his dark
tan, and his brilliant blue eyes,” Brazil said.
The story he told young Mariah was about the pirate Stede
Bonnet, captain of the “Royal James.” He wasn’t so much an
impatient man as he was an anxious man. But he had one
sincere, sweet weakness that grabbed him and wouldn’t let
Her name was Christine.
She sang at the pier side pub in Southport back in the day.
Bonnet could just sit for hours listening to her sing while she
strummed her guitar. She mesmerized him.
Before long, he became so smitten with her. Desperate to
see her after long days at sea, he would have his crew fire a
single powder shot when his ship was coming to the mouth of
the Cape Fear — simply to let Christine know that he was back
and asking if she would come to the pub to sing.
Stede Bonnet never forgot Christine. So when you hear the
shot, you know the “Royal James” is coming in, and Bonnet is
searching for his Christine.
There’s nothing to worry about — it’s a love story!
The story left its indelible mark on the memory of a fright-ened
little girl who remembers it to this day — especially
when she hears and feels the explosive sounds.
USGS authors of an article called “Earthquake Booms,
Seneca Guns, and Other Sounds” located at https://earth-quake.
usgs.gov/learn/topics/booms.php offer this conclusion:
“There does not appear to be any agreement on what
causes the Seneca guns. They have been occurring in several
places around the Eastern U.S. and in India for at least a cen-tury
or two… The Earth is a complex place. ... Perhaps some-day
we will understand what causes Seneca guns, but right
now we don’t. ... However, they do not seem to pose a threat
Perhaps a love story is as good an explanation as any other
— and a lot more fun.