Captain George Lamberton lived in the mid-1600's in the New Haven colony -- that is now part of Connecticut. A more-than-ordinarily prosperous ship's captain, his house was built in 1638 on a corner quite close to the docks.

What caused widespread comment, however, was his excavation, at great expense, of a series of tunnels reaching down to the water from the cellar of his home -- a system that remains to this day, and was the origin of the much-discussed tunnel network under Yale University. Ostensibly for cargo, they seemed to be used for some clandestine purpose -- which he refused to discuss (this was in a Congregational community, mind you, where EVERYTHING was a fit subject for public discussion). Nonetheless, he seemed to make several times more money than before. As a parting shot, he converted all his property into gold, silver, and other precious commodities, loaded it onto a large ship, and set sail one day, despite predictions of bad weather. The ship was never seen again, and it is widely supposed that it sank.

This legend, slightly embellished, was one of the source materials used by H.P. Lovecraft -- it takes only the slightest bit of speculation to transform the tunnels into conduits for the Old Ones, his wealth into their bounty, and the final voyage one where he, willingly or no, must repay them with his life.

A friend of mine in DC interprets this story in this manner. The tunnels were used for smuggling and possible weapons dealing -- a profitable enterprise in any age. The treasure ship was launched at a time that it would be easy to cover one's tracks, and the treasure was probably used to gain sovereignty over one of the Caribbean islands.

Either way, a fascinating story.

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