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The research challenge

One fiction writer’s adventures in research

Here’s the story:

Who is Hugh Williams?

On December 5, 1664 a ship sank in the Menai Strait. Out of 82 passengers all perished except one. His name was Hugh Williams. The same date in 1785 a ship sank in the same place. Out of 60 passengers all perished except one. His name was Hugh Williams. On the exact same date in 1860 in the same place, Menai Strait, a ship sank. Out of 25 passengers all perished except one. You guessed it, his name was Hugh Williams.

From the first sinking in 1664 to the second sinking in1785 is 121 years. From the second sinking in 1785 to the third sinking in 1860 is 75 years. Does this mean a forth sinking took place 46 years later in 1906 and that the fifth sinking took place 26 years after that in 1932? Help! This is where my hair caught on fire. The question started out who is Hugh Williams but it evolved into a question of the total number of sinking ships where he was the only survivor. Menai Strait is off north Wales.

Now I need your help.

My first person series, Urban Legend, involves a reporter who goes out to find the answers to strange stories and freaky facts. I’m about 40,000 words in and just past her investigation into a murder that took place in two dimensions when she got assigned to locate Hugh Williams. I could jump to her next assignment which is about a stagecoach that vanishes at the last stage stop located at the base of the Siskiyou mountains just a mile or so before the California, Oregon border. Or…

My offer:

To find out about Hugh Williams or the dates to the fourth, fifth and sixth ship sinking in the Menai Strait will take more than a little googling. For the person who can provide a history of the life of the Hugh Williams that survived the 1860 ship sinking, or the date of other ships that sunk with a single survivor named Hugh Williams I’ll give you credit in the front of the next Urban Legend due out in November plus I will write you into the story.

Go to my website and contact me directly…

Note: This offer is good for 14 days or to the first person to come up with the most complete information on Hugh Williams and further dates of ship wrecks in the Menai Strait with a list of sources provided within the 14 day time frame.

Happy Hunting

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