None of the three men ever discussed what had happened on Finnegan’s Reef after their acquittal, but soon an interesting coincidence came to light.

John Guttner was stabbed in an unprovoked assault two years after his trial, in 1948. The wound was life-threatening, but Guttner survived with the loss of his right arm. In 1949, Arnold Stalknecht was hospitalized with acute symptoms of tuberculosis; he lived, but without his left lung. And in 1950, the third man, Francois Lelande, was struck and killed by a drunk driver at the wheel of a DeSoto.

One might chalk these events up to simple luck save for one thing: all three events happened on October 12–the day that, as best as the investigators could tell, the castaways had perished.

Though some have accused the newspaper coverage of sensationalism, by the time Stalknecht–the last man alive–died in 1960, some terrible occurrence had seemed to visit them every year on that date. If not death, than something which threatened it.

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