One quiet summer night some nine years ago, I swear I could hear them groan. Their watchkeepers will claim they're alive, for those deeply guttural sounds find their way to you, making your hair stand on end, despite your best efforts to somehow push aside the enveloping darkness. The tingling sensation of being watched washes over you and brings a chill to the spine enough to shake all but the most fearless, or at least those who pretend to bravado.
It is an indecipherable yet somehow lamentable collection of groans, grinding noises, scrapings of metal on metal. In a sense, they are the muted sounds of dying hulls, even lost souls—the loyal crews and fearless captains who stayed with their ships and now wander those decks, waiting for their final peace, their rest for the ages. Anyone who has ever visited the river and been in close with the ships will know it's true: the noises can be disquieting.