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Man Overboard!

F. Marion Crawford

Book Overview: 

Peculiar happenings aboard the schooner Helen B. Jackson when one night during a storm, the small crew found themselves diminished by one. Somebody had gone overboard, and it was surmised that it was one of the twin Benton brothers. But oddly enough, it seemed that the ‘presence’ of the missing twin continued to exist on board during the following weeks. For example, one extra set of silverware was found to be used after each meal, but nobody claimed to be using them. What then did happen that stormy night, and which brother, if indeed it was one of the brothers, was the man who went overboard?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . had his hand on her wheel till then; and he didn't know her ways. I don't mean to say that what happened was his fault. I don't know whose fault it was. Perhaps nobody was to blame. But I knew something happened somewhere on board when we shipped that sea, and you'll never get it out of my head. I hadn't any spare time myself, for I was becketing the rest of the trysail to the mast. We were on the starboard tack, and the throat-halliard came down to port as usual, and I suppose there were at least three men at it, hoisting away, while I was at the beckets.

Now I am going to tell you something. You have known me, man and boy, several voyages; and you are older than I am; and you have always been a good friend to me. Now, do you think I am the sort of man to think I hear things where there isn't anything to hear, or to think I see things when there is nothing to see? No, you don't. Thank you. Well now, I had passed the last[Pg 23] becket, and I sang out to the m. . . Read More

Community Reviews

a ghost story about twins. there was some funny bits in the story, like when he was talking about the men being superstitious but said that was beat out of him! and how the captain could curse. the story was very predictable. it was ok.

Absolutely compelling and well composed sailors' yarn. Mr Torkeldson (the narrator) tells you the story of a trip on the Helen B. Jackson (a sailing ship) when one of the Benton Boys (identical twins) went overboard. It seemed to be Jim who had bad luck. After this incident strange things happen...more

This short story, published in 1903, is told by Torkeldsen, a veteran seaman who has witnessed many a strange occurrence in his day, but nothing quite as weird as the one of twin sailors aboard the Helen B. Jackson. I highly recommend reading this well-written, fast-moving short tale.

I listened to this book on my audio app on my phone. It was a fun short book about two twin brothers who were sailors, one died by falling overboard from the ship, but his ghost seemed to linger on throughout the voyage. Once they left the sea, we found out that the lost brother seemed to still b...more

On first read, I thought the ending ... predictable. The reason for that, though, is that this is precisely the sort of story told in many a Ripley’s Believe It or Not horror-comic book.

But this is an early example of the form. And upon second reading, I saw its art. It is very well d...more

3.5 rounded up to four. I really enjoyed the ending, but parts of the journey were a tad stagnant. I thought this was going to have the same problem as "The Screaming Skull" in that it addressed the reader directly and frequently pulled me out of the story, but that happened only a couple of times in t...more