Mystery, fear, enigma encompass the seafaring ghost ships’, or phantom ships’ tales that has been passed around throughout centuries by sailors, anglers and others. These mysterious ships are fantasized as spectral phantasms that materialize in the middle of the sea and disappear quickly, which is apparently a bad omen. In addition, abandoned ships, which are found adrift, left desolated under fearsome and cryptic circumstances, are also included in this category.
Albeit these all being marine legends and sometimes lacking authenticity, some of these haunted ships continue to provoke speculation and fearful anticipation. We present you with ten such mysterious ghost ships of the maritime world that would surely give you an eerie feeling and goose bumps.
10. The Caleuche
It is a legend of the Chilota mythology, where it is described as a ghost ship, which comes into being every night near the island of Chiloe. It says the ship carries the spirits of all the people who have drowned at sea. The Caleuche is strikingly beautiful, bright and gay as always surrounded by party music sounds and laughter.
However, it only stays for a few moments, and then suddenly disappears or submerges itself under the water. Three Chilota ‘water spirits’ – the Sirena Chilota, the Pincoya, and the Picoy – who resemble mermaids, summons the spirits of the drowned.
9. The SS Valencia
In 1906, the SS Valencia sank off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia after encountering bad weather near Cape Mendocino and thereafter became a subject of mysterious ghost stories. Eventually 37 of merely 108 people were saved using lifeboats, among which one simply disappeared.
Since then, many a fisherman has claimed to witness ghost ship sightings with human skeletons even after many decades post sinking.
8. The Ourang Medan
In 1947, two American ships, while passing through the Strait of Malacca, went off to a rescue mission after receiving a distress call from Ourang Medan. The caller claimed to be a crewmember and conveyed the message of death of everyone else on-board. His words weirdly ended with “I die”. The rescuers found the ship unharmed but the entire crew, including the dog, dead with terrified faces and expressions.
Before further investigation, the abandoned ship caught fire and exploded. The probable reason could be over-exposure of nitroglycerin, which it was carrying illegally. The other mystery revolves around the story of paranormal activities and/or alien invasion.
7. The Carroll A. Deering
This ship ran aground in the notorious Diamond Shoals near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 1921, where it was stuck for several days before any rescue team could arrive. Later, the Coast Guard found that the equipment, logbook and two lifeboats were missing from the abandoned ship, otherwise undamaged.
Investigation showed few other ships had also disappeared under mysterious circumstances around the same time, which could be the pirates’ barbarity, crews’ mutiny or extra terrestrial activity around the infamous Bermuda triangle.
6. The Baychimo
Built in the early 1920s this is one of the real-life ghost ship which was, in 1931, became trapped in the pack-ice near Alaska, leaving no hopes for the owner Hudson Bay Company but to abandon it. However, amazingly it remained adrift for the next 38 years and was frequently sighted floating aimlessly in the waters off Alaska.
Weather condition had always made it impossible to salvage, but since 1969, it has disappeared completely. A few expedition programmes had since been launched to trace back this mysterious ghost ship.
5. The Octavius
The Octavius became more than just a legend back in 1775, when a whaling ship named the Herald found it aimlessly drifting off the coast of Greenland with all of its crew frozen dead by the arctic cold. To add to the spooky environment, the ship’s captain was found sitting at his desk, with a logbook in front him, and finishing a log entry from 1762.
Relating to this could mean that the Octavius had been floating for 13 years and completed its passage to the Atlantic while returning to England from the Orient via the Northwest Passage as a ghost ship.
4. The Joyita
In 1955 this fishing and charter boat was found abandoned in the South Pacific, five weeks after it had been reported overdue. The air-search mission could not trace it, until a merchant ship found it drifting almost 600 miles off its original source with no sign of crew and cargo.
There was a doctor’s bag and several bloody bandages on the deck and the radio was tuned to the universal distress signal, but what happened actually there was never revealed as none of the crew was ever seen again.
3. The Lady Lovibond
An interesting story of love, jealousy and rage complements the tale of this haunted ship. In 1748, the day before the Valentine’s Day, it was set assail as a celebration of the ship’s captain’s wedding. Nevertheless, his friend, who was too in love with her, out of vengeance, steered the ship into the notorious Goodwind Sands, sinking it and killing all on-board.
Since then it could be seen every fifty years sailing around Kent. 1798, 1848, 1898 and 1948 has witnessed this ship’s sightseeing and some boats had actually sent out rescuers, assuming it was in distress, but later could not be found. Albeit, there was not any confirmed spotting in 1998, this famous ghost ship continues to be a legend.
2. The Mary Celeste
Probably the most famous real-life ghost ships story embraces the Mary Celeste, found adrift in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872 in a completely unharmed condition with all its sails still up, the crew’s personal belongings intact and a cargo hold of over 1500 alcohol barrels untouched. The only things missing were the lifeboat, the captain’s logbook and most importantly, the entire crew. Since pirate’s attack could not be held responsible for such a phenomenon, theories of crew mutiny, waterspout killing, and consumption of poisonous food leading to madness came into being.
However, the most reasonable explanation could there be a storm or some kind of technical issue, compelling the crew immediately abandon the ship in the lifeboat and die later at the sea. Apart from these, the mystery of this haunted ship surrounds with ghosts and even sea monsters and alien abduction theories.
1. The Flying Dutchman
In maritime folklore, this ghost ship has left the maximum impact like no other by inspiring numerous paintings, films, books, opera, etc. Van der Decken, the captain, on its way towards East Indies, with sheer determination tried to steer his ship through the adverse weather condition of the Cape of Good Hope but failed miserably even after vowing to drift until the doomsday. Legend says that since then they have been cursed to sail the oceans for eternity.
To this day, hundreds of fisherman and sailors from deep-sea have claimed to have witnessed the Flying Dutchman continuing its never-ending voyage across the waters.
You may also like to read-The Unique Tradition of Ship Burial & the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial
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