Gothic

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Carlton Dawe, W. (1897). ‘The Phantom Junk’ Kakemonos: Tales of the Far East. London: John Lane the Bodley Head.

A ghostly junk is sighted at night first by ‘the sampan men’, then by ‘white sailors’, and finally by the Commander of H.M.S. Awful. Whilst no one had really believed the Chinese boatmen, and  the sailors might have been in their cups, the Commander’s account had to be taken seriously. An official police investigation turns up nothing although the Commander sticks to his story. However, the narrator has a friend, Kernot, who is convinced by the Commander, and the two friends set out in the narrator’s launch to investigate. For the first three nights, the narrator and his friend see nothing but on the fourth night they see the ghostly junk. The steersman ‘set up a horrible muttering and moaning which proclaimed the extent of his terror’, and Kernot has to  knock him down and take over the steering. As they make for the junk it vanishes but they momentarily see a sampan which they take to be the dinghy of the phantom junk. They slip out to the edge of the harbour and there they see the junk, no longer ghostly, signalling to the shore by flashing light onto its luminous painted sails. They seize  the junk and find it is in fact smuggling opium. The junk is towed in and the smugglers are arrested. (KB)

 
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