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Shipwreck Times

Newspaper date January 6, 2004

Valencia Tragedy Shocks! Is the Paranormal At Work?

Investigation of Valencia Ghost Ship
It was our unpleasant duty to report the wreck of the SS Valencia in January of 1906. Since those most wretched of days, the tragic events of the sinking of the Valencia have become well known to all who travel Vancouver Island’s coast. But the story of the doomed vessel did not end when the Valencia descended into the deep. The Shipwreck Times has launched an investigation into paranormal activity. There are some who believe that the Valencia continues to sail as a ghost ship.

Valencia Wrecks Near Pachena Point
On January 20, 1906, the Valencia departed San Francisco for Seattle with close to 108 passengers and 65 crewmembers on board. Thick fog forced slowed speeds. Sleet and wind assaulted the vessel. The ocean currents played at will with Captain Johnston’s plotted course, and the worst came to pass. Mere minutes before midnight on January 22, 1906, the Valencia plowed into the rocks three miles east of Pachena Point.

Frantic Fight For Life
For two days, passengers and crew attempted to cheat death. The inquiry which followed the agonizing wreck found that the launching orders for the lifeboats were poorly timed, and that the crew had not been properly trained and drilled. The passengers were tossed from the twisting boats and into the sea before even being lowered from the Valencia’s sides! The sound of splashes mingled with the crashing waves. The frantic fight for life continued on.

The suffering seemed to grow ever worse. Soaked, shivering and terrified, men, women and children clung to the rigging as the Valencia broke apart. By miracle, a few men made the shore! But could they help? Would they be able to scale the cliffs and run a line to their shipmates? These survivors turned their backs on the desperate souls and began the hike that would save themselves and doom an estimated 117 others. Not a single woman or child could hold on to life through the ordeal.

Lighthouse Keeper Telegraphs For Help
Some time later, the Cape Beale lighthouse keeper opened his door. A band of weary survivors stood on his threshold and related the staggering tale of the Valencia. Help would be sent! The call coursed through the telegraph lines, and the tug Salvor, and the vessels Queen and the City of Topeka rushed to the scene, but to no avail.

Final Rescue Attempts Offer Little Chance of Success
Waves surrounded the Valencia in a cage of angry water! Captain Ernest Jordan of the Salvor attempted a final approach of rescue, but he lost hope. “I was not permitted to make the attempt, which even at the time I realized offered but a hundred-to-one chance of success. It was terrible to stand off there and watch the wreck break up, and see the people who were in the rigging drop off into the boiling sea.”

Paranormal At Work
So much wasted life, say some, bodes of ill things. Could the souls of the Valencia have been cursed to steam the Pacific in a phantom vessel? Shipwreck Times paranormal correspondents say “yes.” Indeed.

Fact #1: It seems that the ship’s cook, a veteran of four other shipwrecks, felt unnatural foreboding from their departure. His last mortal words as he went down are now legendary: “I should have known all along that she was doomed!” Fact #2: Sailors who have exhibited no motive for the fabrication of such heartless falsehoods claim to have seen a steamer working the coastline near the wreck, years after the tragedy. They say that the vessel “resembled the ill-fated Valencia” and that they “could vaguely see human forms clinging to her mast and rigging.” Fact #3: As though a message from the beyond, the Valencia’s #5 lifeboat came ashore in Barkley Sound. It displayed a startling aspect. In a remarkable indication of unseen specters, the small craft was in a solid state. But its arrival on shore took place in 1933, 27 years after the wreck!

The Shipwreck Times has dutifully recorded the facts for readers. They are encouraged to establish their own position on the matter.

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