From the author of the upcoming novel Monstrous Beauty comes this undersea tale “Men Who Wish To Drown,” set in the same history.
Cited as the only extant firsthand record of a mermaid encounter in New England waters, this deathbed letter from a great-grandfather to his great-grandson is more likely an instructive fiction—a parable of regret. Supposedly corroborating the mermaid story, a ship’s log (in the collection of the Provincetown Historical Museum) of the schooner Hannah, which plucked Mr. Stanton from South Weepecket in 1788, indicates that the crew saw two figures on the island prior to the rescue, but failed to locate a second victim. However, regarding accuracy and reliability, this is the same crew under Captain John Merriweather that reported sightings of a ghost ship and not one, but two sea monsters.
~~James S. Rucker, Archivist, Family Collections, Falmouth Historical Society, 1924
This story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Farrar, Strous & Giroux editor Joy Peskin.