Bland Simpson

2002 SeasonBland Simpson

Bland Simpson, who teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is author of The Great Dismal and The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey. A member of the Red Clay Ramblers, the internationally acclaimed string band, he has collaborated on such musicals as Diamond Studs, Fool Moon, Kudzu, and King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running.


Heart of the Country: A Novel of Southern Music (1983)

The Great Dismal: A Carolinian's Swamp Memoir (1990)

The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey, A Nonfiction Novel (1993)

Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals (2002)


From Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals: The Mystery of the Carroll A. Deering

by Bland Simpson published by the University of North Carolina Press

The sea is salty from the tears of women, say ancients and moderns alike, and who indeed can look upon any ocean from any coast in the world and not wonder at the great and moving being that has been the living end of so many souls? And wonder, too, of those upon some distant marge, some edge of the sea, some other where, who kept vigil for their overdue sailors and wept?

The time and tides of over eighty years have now passed since to the roll of mystery ships that includes the Flying Dutchman, the Patriot, and the Mary Celeste was added the name of the schooner Carroll A. Deering. In a fog of unknowing, ships begat ships, and, in speaking or hearing of one of them, we spoke and heard of them all. In its day, the mystery of the Carroll A. Deering spurred the captain's daughter into an inspired investigation, and a nation and the best of her sleuths and maritime forces all followed her lead and worked to near distraction to discover what had happened one January night at Diamond Shoals.

The families of the shipbuilder and the captain and his crew all wonder still. This is the tale of the ghost ship that sails no more and yet lives forever sailing on to her grave, and of her phantom crew who in sailing her there passed into legend and so now can never die.

Copyright (c) 2002 by the University of North Carolina

Press. Used by permission of the publisher.