The other week I visited the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. In my lifetime, I have visited three historic ships; HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose. This would be my second visit to the Mary Rose. The first time I was just fourteen.
As I gazed around in awe at the beautiful wreck, I noted that the old girl's bones were looking a lot better since having been sprayed for so many years with the `Peg' solution, in order to halt her decay,
The hollow sound of my own footsteps on the wooden decking caught my attention, and it took me back to my first visit to see HMS Victory.
I had a very unusual experience when walking around that ship. I can only describe it as an overwhelming feeling of Déjà vu. It wasn't your usual run-of-the-mill Déjà vu though; I was able to guide my mother and father around the ship, knowing instinctively where everything was - the cabins, the galley, the gun decks, the stores, I knew where they were located. Almost thirty years later and I still wonder to this day, if I could have been experiencing past life memories.
Sceptics, psychologists and scientists etc., would say that I must have subconsciously picked up and stored this information from elsewhere; TV, books, school lessons etc., and I wouldn't rule it out but I can't help but doubt it. I went back to HMS Victory five years ago and was still able to find my way around almost instinctively.
My second experience with an equally fascinating and historic vessel, was to be the Mary Rose, in the purposely built museum. I had no feelings of Déjà vu or (possible) past-life flashbacks this time, but it did have quite a profound effect on me.
It's a strange feeling looking into the empty, bony, eye-sockets belonging to what was once a living, human being. Inside the museum there is an exhibit containing a wax work model of the man that this skull belonged to. The model was so eerily life-like that it gave me quite a startle when I first saw it. There stood the man, reconstructed by expert facial anthropologists and forensic artists with such incredible skill. He really was so incredibly life-like that I expected him to move at any second.
The Mary Rose was a warship belonging to the English Tudor Navy of King Henry VIII.
She had served for 33 years, fighting in several wars against Brittany, France and Scotland.
Exact details of her last moments are sketchy but it is known that on 19th of July 1545, she was engaged in an attack against the French fleet.
The theory goes that the ship was actually undamaged. She is thought to have fired from one side and then turned very sharply to fire cannons from the other side. Well, she had an extra set of cannons installed on the lower deck near the water line. The combination of the combined weight of her massive crew and heavy cannons made her lean over too far, allowing the Solent to spill through the lower gun hatches.
In minutes she was sinking to the murky depths of the Solent, close to the Isle of Wight.
According to contemporary records, only 35 men survived the disaster. Henry VIII is said to have watched with horror, from his castle in Southsea, as the disaster unfolded. It is said that the cries of the trapped and drowning men and boys could be heard from the mainland.
Over four hundred years later, in 1971, she was discovered and in 1982, the Mary Rose Trust, managed to salvage her.
The Mary Rose captured both the imagination and the fascination of the public and historians, alike, throughout the world. It was a beautifully preserved time capsule; furnished like an Aladdin's cave, full of amazing Tudor artefacts.
For her time and throughout many decades the Mary Rose was one of the biggest ships in the English navy. An early example of purpose-built warship and the first to feature gun ports, through which poked heavy guns.
Anyway, I thought it best not to dwell on this poor man's fate; after all, I am of the opinion that reincarnation or at the very least, some form of afterlife, is a likely concept. So I moved on and soon became engrossed in the other, marvellous historic exhibits.
I would definitely recommend that you visit the Mary Rose Museum. Not only is it crammed packed with items from 16th century Tudor England, it is also housed in a magnificent building, fashioned in such a way reminiscent of a great ship itself. They've done an incredible job and it's worthy of our support.
Here is a link for the official Mary Rose website:-
All for now..