The Carriso was a cargo ship, that was a frequent visitor to Hawaiian ports like Lahaina on the island of Maui. Richard E. Connell was her captain. The crew was made up of many Chinese immigrants to the islands.
The steamer made many voyages across the Pacific without incident until December of 1928 when rumors of mutiny made it back to Hawaii. Island police received a wireless message from the ship requesting a Shanghai Chinese interpreter to meet them upon arrival.
According to Captain Connell, “The Chinese were unmanageable, and we finally obtained an explanation that there were devils aboard.” They might have driven the devils off the ship with firecrackers, but, unfortunately, they didn’t have any, he said.
The crew refused to enter dark holds or other secluded places on the ship, but were relatively calm until the Carriso reached the vicinity of a submerged volcano south of Samoa. The crew tensed when seas agitated by the volcano appeared angry. As the ship traversed seas that seemed to be boiling, the officers struggled to prevent an uprising.
Then another sailor reported that he witnessed the ship’s firefighter, Wong Ah Chung, jump overboard to his death. Ship officers searched for him in vain, but never recovered his body.
On December 14th, as the ship docked, police boarded the vessel in the harbor to prevent the remaining Chinese immigrants from deserting the ship. A note signed by Wong Ah Chung, explained his fatal leap, explain that he had been beset by demons. The problem seemed to end there until only weeks later when Captain Connell fell off the gangplank and was drowned. Other sailors upon hearing of another man overboard so soon declared that devil ghosts must have returned to claim another life. The fatal incident was officially ruled an accidental death.