Friday, December 26, 2008

Exploding Methane and Pepys' Testicle

A new theory on the explosion that sunk the HMS London in the Thames River in 1685.

Apparently the sailors were crapping in the hold, which caused a buildup of methane gas. I shit you not.

Samuel Pepys heard the explosion and reported it in his diary:

“Though a bitter cold day, yet I rose, and though my pain and tenderness in my testicle remains a little, yet I do verily think that my pain yesterday was nothing else, and therefore I hope my disease of the stone may not return to me, but void itself in pissing, which God grant, but I will consult my physitian. This morning is brought me to the office the sad newes of “The London,” in which Sir J. Lawson’s men were all bringing her from Chatham to the Hope, and thence he was to go to sea in her; but a little a’this side the buoy of the Nower, she suddenly blew up.

I'd guess Pepys was suffering from a kidney stone, although he was a bit confused about where they come from.


Anonymous said...

Epididymitis, possibly?


Bob said...


Barco Sin Vela II said...

I've been loosely following Pepys' diary, too. Great stuff!

Not too sure about crapping in the hold. (Remember those worthless vacuum heads on Deyo?) I'm pretty sure that they used a head which dumped directly over the side.

Bob said...

Yah, in the days of sail the enlisted guys would go up to the beakhead to void, which is where the term head originated. Sailors being sailors, they didn't like to use the beakhead during heavy seas or extremely cold weather, so crapping in the bilges probably happened a lot.