Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Gods Will Rage: Spuyten Duyvil, Clutha, and Hercules

What has upset the gods?

Thor: The Dark World opened November 8, 2013, but it was on the weekend of November 29th when the gods wished to be heard. We are in the midst of a tension-filled time of transportation-related wrecks, some of which reflect decidedly name game linkages. 


On Sunday, December 1, 2013, at 7:20 a.m., a Metro-North commuter train derailed in the Bronx borough of New York City, killing four passengers, and injuring 63. The derailing occurred on a curve immediately outside the Spuyten Duyvil station.

Helicopter images show at least five of the seven cars of the Metro-North Railroad train derailed — at least two of them were thrown on their side. The leading car came within feet of plunging into the Harlem River.

The train had left at 5:54 a.m. from Poughkeepsie, New York, and was due in Grand Central Terminal, New York City, at 7:43 a.m. ET.

The station name, Spuyten Duyvil, is the name of a subsection of the Riverdale section in New York City, which refers to the southernmost section of Riverdale, below West 232nd Street, or below 239th Street by some definitions.

The area is named after Spuyten Duyvil Creek, where "Spuyten Duyvil" literally means "Spouting Devil" or Spuitende Duivel in Dutch; a reference to the strong and wild tidal currents found at that location. It may also be translated as "Spewing Devil" or "Spinning Devil," or more loosely as "Devil's Whirlpool" or "Devil's Spate." Spui and spuit are still today commonly used Dutch words involving outlets for water. (See "Devil's Names and Fortean Places.")

Spuyten Duyvil neighborhood is home to The Henry Hudson Memorial Park and the Henry Hudson Bridge, which connects it to the island of Manhattan. It is also the location of the Spuyten Duyvil train station, which is served by the Hudson Line of the Metro-North Railroad, as Wikipedia notes.

Saint Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan was originally an Indian path named Weekquaeskeek, which accommodated travelers going north to Spuyten Duyvil.

There exists a weird historical report, as well, from the area. It is generally recalled as the earliest recorded shark attack in the New World.

In 1642, Anthony Van Corlaer died while attempting to swim across the Hudson from Spuyten Duyvil. A witness to Van Corlaer's death stated that "the devil" in the shape of a giant fish swam up and proceeded to "seize the sturdy Antony by the leg and drag him beneath the waves." (See the comment section below for more details on this story, from Cory Panshin.)


Eight people have been confirmed dead and an additional 14 people remained hospitalized in "serious condition" after a Scottish police helicopter crashed into a crowded Glasgow pub early on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Chief Constable Stephen House said Saturday that all three passengers in the helicopter - a civilian pilot and two police officers - were killed in the crash. The constable struggled to contain his emotion as he called the fallen officers "our colleagues."

The remaining five fatalities were patrons of the Clutha Vaults, he said. Names of the eight victims were not immediately released.

The accident involved a Eurocopter EC135 police helicopter, registered G-SPAO, which crashed at 22:25 on 29 November 2013. One witness, Gordon Smart, editor of the Scottish Sun newspaper, stated that "there was no fireball and I did not hear an explosion. It fell like a stone. The engine seemed to be spluttering".

Reports from the scene on Stockwell Street indicate the roof of the pub, called The Clutha Vaults, collapsed upon impact, trapping some people inside. A ska band was playing in the pub at the time of the crash and there were reported to be around 120 people in the building. An eyewitness said: "Midway through their set it sounded like a giant explosion... Part of the room was covered in dust... We froze for a second; there was panic and then people trying to get out the door."

Jim Murphy, a Labour Party MP, reported seeing "dozens and dozens of people coming out of the pub. It is a horrible, horrible scene". He was interviewed with blood on his shirt from helping in the rescue efforts.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond tweeted the first official confirmation that the helicopter was a police aircraft. He subsequently described the crash as "a black day for Glasgow and Scotland". On the day following the crash, planned St. Andrew's Day celebrations were cancelled in Glasgow's George Square, and flags were flown at half-mast on Scottish Government buildings.

The old pub on the north bank of the River Clyde was packed with 120 people, dancing to the driving bass and big brass sound of a ska band, Esperanza.

Clutha is the ancient, Roman name for a river god and the River Clyde. The media is noting pub, the Clutha Vaults, was named for the nearby Scottish waterway, the River Clyde.

Clutha is the name also of a Scottish country dance, in which the eight dancers are arranged in a square set as for the Eightsome Reel. It is a 48 bar reel. An Clutha (more often spelled An Cluadha) is the Gaelic name for The Clyde. It is one of the modern Scottish country dances and was first published by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society in 1983.

Andy Cobley, a Fortean Times associate, emails, "We currently have 8 reported dead, but that could change (although I hope not of course)."

Elsewhere, the Clutha is the name of a gold-bearing river at the southern end of the South Island, New Zealand. It flows 213 miles (338 km) to the Pacific Ocean. The Clyde Dam, New Zealand's third largest hydroelectric dam, is built on the Clutha River near the town of Clyde. 


Later on Saturday, well-known Fast and Furious's blond-haired, blue-eyed actor Paul Walker died on Saturday in a car crash in Southern California. The single-vehicle crash occurred about 3:30 p.m. in the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop.

The single-car crash occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Hercules Street near Constellation Road in the Rye Canyon Business Park, fire officials said.

First responders gather evidence near the wreckage of a Porsche sports car that crashed into a light pole on Hercules Street.

Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek divine hero Heracles, who was the son of Zeus (Roman equivalent Jupiter) and the mortal Alcmene. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures.

(Two Hercules movies are in the pipeline for 2014. The Legend of Hercules stars Kellan Lutz in the title role, which was recently moved up to a January 10 release. The change in the release date is to make it stand out from Hercules: The Thracian Wars, the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson film to be released on July 25. Johnson is a close friend of Paul Walker.)

Walker, 40, who was in five of the six films about illegal street racing and heists, was a passenger in a friend's car and was attending a charity event. Two people were killed in a car accident in Valencia, a community in the city of Santa Clarita, at about 3:30 p.m. local time.

Deputies arriving at the scene found the vehicle engulfed in flames. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The office did not provide the identities of the dead, and said the cause was under investigation.

In Fast and Furious movies, the actor played Brian O'Conner, a law enforcement official.

Paul William Walker IV was born in Glendale, California, in 1973 and began acting at 2 years old, appearing in many commercials.

He played Professor Bennet in the 1987 movie Monster in the Closet and starred in the television series Throb.

Walker also made guest appearances on television shows, including Charles in Charge and Who's the Boss? and had a role in the soap opera, The Young and the Restless.

In terms of irony, it is to be recalled that one role Paul Walker played was Jerry Shepard, in 2006's Eight Below.

Other film appearances include Pleasantville, Varsity BluesTimeline, Into the Blue, The Lazarus Project and Hours, which is slated for release in December 2014.

Walker has a teenager daughter named Meadow.

Roger Rodas, 38, has been named as the driver in the crash that killed Paul Walker.


Other fatal accidents occurred linked to transportation.

On Black Friday, November 29, 2013, a plane wreck killed the pilot and three passengers in the crash of their single-engine turboprop Cessna 208, at Saint Marys, Alaska.

Also on Friday, a Mozambique Airlines plane carrying 33 people crashed in a remote border area, killing all on board. The plane crashed in a Namibian national park, named Bwabwata, near the border with Angola. Several thousand people as well as elephants, buffalo and other wildlife live in the park, which covers 2,360 square miles. Bwabwata is named after a village in the reserve and means "the sound of bubbling water."

There were no survivors of the 27 passengers, including 10 Mozambicans, nine Angolans, five Portuguese, and one citizen each from France, Brazil and China. Six crew members were on board. Flight TM470 from Maputo, the Mozambican capital, did not land as scheduled in Luanda, the Angolan capital, on Friday afternoon, and the airline initially said the plane might have landed in Rundu, in northern Namibia. It crashed, instead.

Ferry, train, and small plane crashes also occurred.

(H/T to RS.)


Chris said...

I find it hard to believe that a car would just explode like that from hitting a tree or post.

Also, there seem to be a lot of James Dean syncs in this one. He was with a race car driver like Dean and the vehicle was a Porsche. Of course Walker kind of has a Dean look. said...

Thanks for taking this on, Loren!

Cory Panshin said...

There's also a more romantic version of the Spuyten Duyvil shark story. As given here, "In the Dutch of the area’s eventual settlers, that portion of the Harlem River became known as Spuyten Duyvil, variously translated as "the devil’s spout" or "in spite of the devil"–the former on account of the gushing fresh waters that poured into the creek from a fountain near the shore, the latter after a local legend, popularized by Washington Irving. According to the tale, during a British attack on the Dutch colony, Dutch straw boss Peter Stuyvesant sent a callow youth named Anthony Van Corlear northward with a bugle with which he was to rally the men on the mainland. Van Corlear reached the glistening place and, as untold numbers of Indians had, paused at the sight of the Harlem’s fast-moving waters. He jumped in and started swimming anyway, but didn’t get far before the devil reached up from the foam and grabbed his leg. He let out a piercing cry and managed to get off a long bugle blast, audible as far away as Yonkers, before the devil dragged him down to the depths. Van Corlear’s courage was lauded–it was said he swam the waters and blew his horn "in spite of the devil."

little dynamo said...

as you note, "clutha" derives from the name of a Roman river god, now perhaps possessing the R. Clyde, and resonates the lovecraftian Cthulhu, also a water demon

Scotland is, of course, ground zero for water demons and organized sorcery -- loch ness, boleskine, crowley and zep etc

Anonymous said...

Next to the Clutha, cult ha, ha cult, occult, is the Tryst- an appointed meeting place in hunting. The pilot was Will i am's flight instructor who hung up his wings just after the SAS/Diana link went public. Skyfall-''there's a storm coming''

Unknown said...

(Scottish) [CLOOD-uh] Popular Goddess of the River Clyde. In England she was called Clud and Cludoita, and in Wales, Clwyd. The waters in which she ruled were believed to especially useful in controlling seizures.

andrewbigdoor said...

Loren, I know this is an old post, but I think you'll still see it.

the reason I picked this post is because I learned that the rapper Pop Smoke, who was shot to death on 2/19/2020 in LA, was killed in a house on a Hercules Dr. in the Hollywood Hills.

this is a screen shot from a video he posted where he inadvertently revealed the address to the house he was renting:

Pop Smoke's real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, born on July 20, 1999. 30th anniversary of the moon landing. July 20th, 2012 is the day James Holmes shot up the movie theater in Aurora.