On this date in 1854 the sailing vessel Orline St. John encountered a severe gale and heavy seas in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was dismasted and sank off the coast of Hatteras Island. The captain's wife and several crew members drowned or died of exposure as the derelict vessel wallowed in the surf for a week and a half.
According to David Stick in The Graveyard of the Atlantic (1952), the remaining crew members who "suffered constantly from cold and exposure" survived only by eating the body of a sailor named Douglass who had died in the rigging, and whose body was left hanging there.
Stick says this is the only case of cannibalism on the North Carolina coast that had come to his attention.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the "Joe Bell" flower. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012112.htm.