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On May 25, 1841, the whaleship Sharon of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, set out for whaling grounds of the Pacific under the command of Captain Howes Norris. A year later, while most of the crew was out on the hunt, Norris remained at the helm with four crew members - three of them natives of the Pacific Islands. When the men in the whaleboats spied the Sharon's flag flying at half-mast - a signal of distress - they rowed toward the ship to discover their captain had been hacked to pieces and the murderers - the Pacific Islanders - brandishing weapons. The third officer, Benjamin Clough, swam through shark-infested waters and slipped through one of the windows, retaking the ship. Though news of Cough's courageous act spread, an American investigation into the crimes was never conducted - even when the Sharon returned home with only four of the original twenty-nine on board. The true story remained buried for over 150 years.
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