Fleet HORROR Stories for Halloween

Gretchen ReeseOctober 31, 2021

To mark the spookiest, scariest day of the year, we’re bringing you the first ever Fleet FYIs Spooktacular special – Fleet HORROR STORIES.

A huge thank you to everyone that submitted ideas for this show – hopefully you enjoy our fun, light-hearted take on the spooky side of the fleet industry.

Happy Halloween!

Fleet HORROR Stories for Halloween | Fleet FYIs Podcast, Season 2 Episode 32

Gretchen Reese (00:06):

Hey there. Welcome to Fleet FYIs, the weekly podcast by Utilimarc that reveals how you can make the most of your data for smarter fleet management. My name is Gretchen, and every week you’ll hear from me and some of the industry’s finest in candid conversations that will shed some light on not only two decades’ worth of data insights, but some of the industry’s hottest talking points and key metric analysis with the aim to help you better understand your fleet from every angle.

Gretchen Reese (00:33):

But before we begin, if this is the first time you’ve heard our show, thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad you decided to come along for the ride with us. But I’ve got a quick favor to ask you. Once you’ve finished today’s episode, if you could take a few minutes to leave us a review on your favorite podcasting platform, we would really appreciate it. Gives us a rating, five stars, I hope, or tell us what you liked or leave us a comment or a question about what you’ve heard in today’s episode. But if we haven’t yet covered a topic that you’re interested in hearing more about, let us know. We would be happy to go over it in detail in a later episode. If that sounds good to you, let’s get back to the show.

Gretchen Reese (01:44):

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the Fleet FYIs podcast. To mark the spookiest, scariest day of the year, we’re bringing to you the first ever Fleet FYIs spooktacular special, fleet horror stories.

Gretchen Reese (02:21):

In all seriousness, I can’t help but giggle a little bit after that intro. We wanted to bring out a fun, lighthearted episode in honor of today being one of the US’s favorite holidays. It’s Halloween, so happy Halloween to all you gals and ghouls out there. Stay safe if you’re going out. Tell the kids to save the dark chocolate peppermint patties for me if they’re going trick or treating. You know, the usual shtick. But without further ado, because you’ve got some spooking around to do, let’s dig into the first fleet horror story.

Gretchen Reese (02:55):

This one I think is the spookiest of all, hence starting with it first. And it’s sending us out to sea. When the first ships from the second fleet arrived at Port Jackson at New South Wales, June 1790, the excited people waiting on the shore for the new arrivals were greeted with a horrifying sight. Dead and dying men, shocking evidence of abuse, rampant disease, and starvation. Few men could stand upright, and those that couldn’t crawled to shore and were flung like sacks of flour overboard. Witnesses reported seeing men with gaping wounds so deep from wearing irons for the duration of the voyage, you could see their bones. Many of those struggling to reach the shore were even close to death.

Gretchen Reese (03:40):

Dysentery was rampant. Onlookers were shocked to see men with bloated stomachs bent over with painful cramps. Others with legs that were swollen and purple. Others barely clinging to life with blackened gums and loosened teeth, grimacing in agony with the dreaded scurvy disease. Stories quickly spread about the cruel use of irons, convicts concealing deaths of their mates so they could use their rations, and starving men forced to eat oatmeal poultices. A poultice that was used to help cure infection.

Gretchen Reese (04:11):

Those that survived the brutal voyage were so weak and so ravaged by disease, adding extra pressure to a colony already suffering the effects of dangerously low supplies. Up to 10 people died per day in the week after their arrival. The first fleet in New South Wales had a mortality rate of 5.4%. The second fleet that arrived in New South Wales had a mortality rate of 40%. It’s no surprise that the second fleet was known as the death fleet.

Gretchen Reese (04:47):

The second fleet consisted of six ships, which were sent to the newly established colony of New South Wales in 1789 and 1790. The first fleet, which departed England in 1787, had done little to reduce London’s huge prison population. So once word was received from Governor Arthur Phillip that the colony of New South Wales had survived, the decision was made to send the second fleet. The Scarborough, the Neptune, the Surprise, the Justinian, the Guardian, and the Lady Juliana.

Gretchen Reese (05:20):

But the voyage was a total disaster. Of 928 male convicts of Neptune, Scarborough, and Surprise, 2% died on the voyage and nearly 40% were dead within months of their arrival in the colony. The shocking mortality rate was nearly 10 times that of the first fleet voyage. But what went so horribly wrong? Historian and author of The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, Michael Flynn, told News Australia that the first fleet convicts had it easy compared to the horror experienced by the second fleet. The major difference was that the first fleet was closely controlled by the British government and transports were monitored by Governor Phillip and his two naval ships, the Sirius and the Supply.

Gretchen Reese (06:11):

But as a result, it was very expensive. For the second fleet, the British government decided to take on contractors who totally botched the voyage. The first fleet stopped three times along the way, so people were able to get fresh food and water, which made a massive difference. But for the second fleet, the private contractors cut corners and only stopped once, in Cape Town, South Africa. The captain was very security conscious, and kept the convicts below deck for a long time in bad weather. And this would have been horrific as the ships were overcrowded. The second fleet was a combination of bad luck, mismanagement, and wishful thinking in terms of being able to do the voyage on the cheap. And the second fleet was a grim example of privatization gone wrong in the most catastrophic of ways.

Gretchen Reese (07:06):

Next up, we’ve got the spookiest roads in the US, and I’m sure all of the drivers listening to this show will love this one. First we have the devil’s promenade, near Hornet, Missouri. Now, the devil’s promenade is the local name for this small rural road in Oklahoma, where a mysterious light has been appearing during the night. But only during the cold, dark winter months. It’s referred to as the hornet’s spook light because most people who see the light are headed east to Missouri. The mystical, floating, moving ball of light, varying colors and sizes has been regularly cited in the area for over 100 years. Popular legend explains the light as the ghost of two Native American lovers looking for each other. Some scientists explain the phenomenon as geologic activity due to the regular occurrence of earthquakes. But it’s yet to be proved just exactly what it is and why it happens.

Gretchen Reese (08:10):

The second route up on the list is Route 2A, which is just outside of Haynesville in Maine. Route 2A passes through the Haynesville woods, and it is a genuinely dangerous road in any condition due to the slick, snowy weather in the winter especially. Many fatalities have occurred here over the years. And it’s said that the spirits of those who died on this road still have not yet left the area. Some stories involve a young woman who approaches vehicles, begging for help. But then when windows are rolled down and help is offered, she immediately vanishes. Others tell stories of a ghostly little girl walking along the side of the road alone. No end point, no one in sight, just her. And she disappears.

Gretchen Reese (09:05):

Number three is Prospectors Road, right outside of Georgetown, California. And the legend of Prospectors Road involves only one single ghost, a murder victim from the California gold rush era. During this time, bragging about riches was not acceptable. It is said that gold miners would kill fellow diggers who were too ostentatious about their findings. But why does a place with just one ghost occurrence make the list of the scariest, most haunted roads in the country? Well, it’s because this ghost, he speaks. Reportedly appearing out of the bushes and whispering, “Get off my claim. Get off my claim. Get off my claim.”

Gretchen Reese (09:52):

Number four is Clinton Road, just outside of West Milford, New Jersey. And the legends of Clinton Road range from organized crime groups dumping bodies in the woods to bizarre supernatural pickup trucks that suddenly appear out of nowhere. The most famous story from this road is of a little boy who drowned in the rapids below a bridge. Supposedly, if visitors toss a coin into the water, the boy’s ghost will throw the coin back.

Gretchen Reese (10:23):

Last but not least, and the scariest road said to be in the US, is US Route 491. Now, this road was nicknamed the devil’s highway, and it passes through Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Now, it’s been renamed to US Route 491, presumably because of negative satanic associations with its old name, Route 666. Numerology aside, all sorts of legends have sprung up concerning the highway, from the hounds of hell that shred tires of moving vehicles, to the haunted red semi truck occupied by an evil spirit. But whether you believe in such things or not, it’s best to be cautious. Especially at night when some people speed through the long rural stretches of the road with very few turns. Drunk driving is also very common here. As are crossings for animals. And due to these conditions, there’s a high fatality rate in the New Mexico portion, and ghost sightings and spooky activity are also said to be high.

Gretchen Reese (11:53):

Finally, to end on a lighter note, some stories from our very own archives. First up on the list, there was one in particular. A mystery fleet was using an FMIS system, homegrown from the 1980s, and could only print records, obviously stored in cardboard boxes, on a very special printer also from the 1980s to send data for a comprehensive analysis. Now, this was way back almost a decade ago when spreadsheets were still a pretty common practice, and printing documents was becoming a less popular option. The scariest part in my opinion, all the data was supposed to be mailed in boxes to the Utilimarc office. And all I can think of are all of the paper cuts. Which to me would be absolutely terrible. (laughs)

Gretchen Reese (12:44):

But my last story for today, because I’m sure you’ve got some very spooky movies to get back to, is one that’s like a dagger in the heart of a brand new bucket truck. Recently, another mystery fleet in a very unknown location had purchased a beautiful brand new bucket truck and had stored it in their communal fleet yard. One day, an employee driving a forklift through the yard was heading straight for the bucket truck. No one knows why he didn’t turn, why he didn’t stop. But it pierced the truck straight in the middle, resulting in a very hefty $150,000 maintenance bill. And if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

Gretchen Reese (13:24):

Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed this fun little holiday episode of Fleet FYIs. Make sure you tune in tomorrow for a regularly programmed episode of Fleet FYIs shorts. Until then, ciao and happy Halloween.

Gretchen Reese (13:41):

Hey there. I think this is the time that I should queue the virtual high five because you’ve just finished listening to another episode of the Fleet FYIs podcast. If you’re already wanting more content, head over to utilimarc.com, which Utilimarc with a C, U-T-I-L-I-M-A-R-C dot com, for the show notes and extra insights coming straight from our analysts the out. That’s all from me this week, so until next time, I’ll catch you later.

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Gretchen Reese

Growth Marketing Manager

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