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Researchers Debunk 142 Year Old Legend.

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posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 05:56 PM
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Aug. 25, 2005 — Conservators from The Mariners' Museum and NOAA scientists were able to debunk a 142-year-old legend with 90-percent confidence this past week after spending most of August documenting and excavating the bore of both 11-inch Dahlgren cannons from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor's iconic gun turret. One of the most popular legends in the history of the Monitor, it began with a crewmember from the vessel, Francis B. Butts, who claimed during the night the ironclad sank, he shoved his coat and boots in one cannon, and a cat in the other.
 



www.noaanews.noaa.gov
Aug. 25, 2005 — Conservators from The Mariners' Museum and NOAA scientists were able to debunk a 142-year-old legend with 90-percent confidence this past week after spending most of August documenting and excavating the bore of both 11-inch Dahlgren cannons from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor's iconic gun turret. One of the most popular legends in the history of the Monitor, it began with a crewmember from the vessel, Francis B. Butts, who claimed during the night the ironclad sank, he shoved his coat and boots in one cannon, and a cat in the other.

In a December 1885 article entitled "The Loss of the Monitor," Butts says:

"I took off my coat—one that I had received from home only a few days before (I could not feel that our noble little ship was yet lost)—and rolling it up with my boots, drew the tampion from one of the guns, placed them inside, and replaced the tampion. A black cat was sitting on the breech of one of the guns, howling one of those hoarse and solemn tunes which no one can appreciate who is not filled with the superstitions which I had been taught by the sailors, who are always afraid to kill a cat. I would almost as soon have touched a ghost, but I caught her, and placing her in another gun, replaced the wad and tampion; but I could still hear that distressing yowl."

"We've excavated and screened enough material from both cannons to say with certainty that neither cannon is loaded. We have also failed to find any trace of organic material such as leather, wool or bone," said the Mariners' Museum Assistant Conservator David Krop. "Although we are still clearing concretion and sediment from inside both bores that may hide cat bones or organics, I seriously doubt anything will turn up."

The cannons were removed from the Monitor's gun turret in 2004 as part of the ongoing conservation process. After resting on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for more than 142 years, the guns filled with concretions and sediment that must be removed as one of the first steps in the conservation process. Conservators used caution during this process in case Butts' story ended up true, and because they could not immediately verify if the guns were or were not loaded. Excavation has revealed the guns were not loaded.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Well it was a great story anyway. Even if it wasn't true. Took a long time to debunk it.

[edit on 27-8-2005 by brykc14]

[edit on 27-8-2005 by brykc14]

[edit on 28-8-2005 by John bull 1]




posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 09:11 PM
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I hope the cat got away! If the sailor managed to get away with his skin, he could have saved the cat.....why would he even make up such a story??

It is a facinating tale. The article mentioned that they still had a bit more sediment to screen.....give us an update if they do find anything.



posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 10:50 PM
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Ok, maybe this is an American thing, but um... what is the point of this story? I dont mean this thread, I mean the actual Myth... Why would anyone care if some guy stuffed his jacket, shoes and a cat into a cannon?



posted on Aug, 28 2005 @ 12:01 AM
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I guess it is an american thing. I just remember hearing a saying that I guess comes from the tale. If someone sees something fly theough the air. People use it as a way to descride it.

example

It went flying through the air like a cat out of a cannon.

It just struck me funny when I saw the article, that this was probally where the saying came from.

[edit on 28-8-2005 by brykc14]




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