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“But I can tell you no more—my head is on fire at the recollection.”

The True-Life Horror that Inspired Moby-Dick:

Pollard had told the full story to fellow captains over a dinner shortly after his rescue and to a missionary named George Bennet, and to Bennet it seemed like a confession. Certainly, it was grim: 92 days and sleepless nights at sea in a leaking boat with no food, his surviving crew going mad beneath the unforgiving sun, eventual cannibalism and the harrowing fate of two teenage boys, including Pollard’s first cousin, Owen Coffin. “But I can tell you no more—my head is on fire at the recollection,” Pollard told him. “I hardly know what I say.”

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