Mysterious Celebrity Boat Deaths
The Last Chapter
By Ben Appleby
All That Junk brings you the last chapter of mysterious celebrity boat deaths. Hong Kong’s junk boat trips may be sun-drenched and alcohol tainted but everyone seems to find their way safely back to Pier 9. These poor souls have not.
Natalie Wood was one of the biggest Hollywood movie stars of her day, appearing in classics like Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story. She was as well known for her tumultuous private life as she was for her acting career, having been married twice to fellow actor Robert Wagner, and being a regular on the Hollywood social scene for nearly three decades. In 1981 she was partying on a yacht off the coast of California with her husband, Wagner, and the actor Christopher Walken, who she was then filming the movie Brainstorm. Nobody knows (or admits to knowing) what actually happened that night, but the next morning her somewhat battered and bruised body was found floating in the water a mile away, near the yacht’s dingy which had been beached on the shore. The inquest declared it to be an accident, but recently the LA coroner reopened the case after the boat’s captain admitted having lied about the fact that the couple had fought that night, and changed the verdict to “undetermined”.
Suspicious? Her relationship with Wagner was famously rocky, and the presence of the dingy on a beach indicated that she had at least been alive when she left the boat. The captain of the yacht blames Wagner for her death, but let’s be honest, the presence of creepy Christopher Walken is also a factor in this. There’s no evidence to suggest that he was involved, but you must admit that Christopher Walken does look really creepy.
How to Avoid the same fate: If you get divorced, stay divorced. And you may be noticing a theme here, but try to avoid getting stupid drunk on a boat with other drunk people. Also, doing a headcount of passengers before bed doesn’t hurt.
John Jacob Astor IV
To buy into this mystery you kinda have to already be a bit of conspiracy nut, so consider yourself warned. In 1912, the JJ Astor IV drowned in the sinking of the Titanic. He was the most famous (and possibly richest) person on board, and while his pregnant wife and child survived, the “women and children first” policy meant that he went down with the ship, presumably while puffing on a cigar in a dignified fashion. He was famous enough for his death to be given almost equal prominence in newspaper headlines along with the news that the ship had sunk with over 1,500 other people. So here’s the conspiracy theory: White Star Lines, the company that built the Titanic was owned by JP Morgan, one of the richest men alive. At the time, there was a large debate going on about how the USA ran it’s finances. JP Morgan, amongst others, was a strong supporter of the formation of what we now know as the US Federal Reserve, an institution that I totally don’t understand, but seems to be at the heart of most paranoid theories about a secret world government. JJ Astor, and the wider Astor family were very much against the formation of the Fed. Morgan himself was due to sail on the ship, along with many other powerful figures of the day, but changed his plans at the last moment. The theory goes that the ship that sank that fateful night wasn’t even the Titanic, but it’s sister ship the Olympic, which Morgan deliberately sank in order to take out his rivals.
Suspicious? The sinking of the Titanic is an event so iconic that it would be weird if there weren’t conspiracies surrounding it. The idea that the boat that sank wasn’t even the Titanic is a little hard to swallow, but the notion that a powerful robber baron / captain of industry like JP Morgan was willing to murder over 1,500 people to hide the deaths of just a handful of wealthy rivals is almost too terrifying to contemplate.
How to Avoid a Similar Fate: If we assume that the theory is correct (which it obviously isn’t), then really the only thing to do is buy your own megayacht, and surround yourself with enough other important people that you can’t all get killed without someone asking questions.
Have all these stories of untimely nautical doom made you ready to pop your own magnum of Champagne and play Big Pimpin on a yacht like a real celeb? You can find some of Hong Kong’s best boating adventure deals here. Also you can read the first chapter of Mysterious Celebrity Boat Deaths here.