Do you love going to the beach? The nice soft sand, the sound of the waves crashing, all very nice. But here’s the thing, when you are in the ocean, you are literally on the bottom of the food chain. Forget about sharks, anything could just come up and kill you. A little fish could just swim up to you and just take a bite, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. The ocean can be a scary place, not just for people swimming in it, but also ships. The ocean is unpredictable; a lot of crazy things can happen. You’ve got pirates, crazy weather, the Bermuda Triangle and often things don’t go so well for these ships. Here are some of the creepiest ghost ships to have ever sailed the high seas, some may just be legends, some may be haunted, and some could still be out there.
1. The Mary Celeste
On December 4, 1872, The Mary Celeste, an American merchant ship was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Azores Islands. But here’s where it gets spooky, the ship’s cargo and valuables were completely untouched, and it’s still stocked with six months’ worth of food and water, but not a single passenger or crew member could be found. The sails were in poor condition, but the ship was still in seaworthy condition having only set sail for about a month. The ship’s single lifeboat was also missing. None of those who had been on board were ever seen or heard from again. Theories in regards to the disappearing crew include explosion caused by alcohol fumes from the cargo, seaquakes, waterspouts, the Kraken and of course the Bermuda Triangle.
2. The Carroll A. Deering
On January 31, 1921, a massive five-masted schooner was found grounded on Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.
The ship was deserted with all its eleven crewmembers missing. Its sails were up, and there’s evidence that a meal was about to be prepared. The crews’ personal stuff was gone, along with the ships navigational equipment, logbooks, and the two life rafts.
The ship was scheduled to pick up coal at Norfolk in Virginia and then go all the way to Rio de Janeiro of Brazil to unload the coal, and then return home to Maine. It is after setting homebound sail from Barbados when things started going horribly wrong.
On January 29th, 1921 the ship was spotted by a lightship at Cape Lookout North Carolina. A lightship is an anchored ship which guides other ships passing by with its lights and radio communication. The Captain of the lightship heard a crewman from Carroll A. Deering hailing at him saying they had lost their anchors. The Carroll A Deering, however, did not stop and sailed out of sight. That was the last time anyone ever saw the ship sailing in its normal condition.
To this day, Mutiny: A plotted rebellion by the crew members and led by the first mate seems like the most acceptable theory. It was evident from the Captain’s comments at Rio that he was not in good terms with the first mate and possibly with most other crewmen. But there was no definitive evidence of this.
What’s also crazy is that at the time the crew’s mysteriously disappearance, marine investigators discovered that nine other ships also disappeared without a trace in that same area at about the same time.
The information went all the way to the White House and prompted President Herbert Hoover to order a special investigation. In spite of efforts by top government investigators, not only by the United States but by nations where many of the lost ships originated, the fate of the Deering’s crew and the nine missing ships, was never learned. Yea I would def blame the Bermuda Triangle on that one. Or maybe mermaids…
3. The Ourang Medan (OOOO-Rang Ma-Dang)
In 1947, two American ships navigating the Strait of Malacca, off the coast of Malaysia, as well as British and Dutch listening posts, claimed to have picked up a series of SOS distress signals. The unknown ship’s message was: “All officers including captain are dead, lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.” This communication was followed by a burst of indecipherable Morse code, then finally came the message that simply stated: “I die.”
The men manning these posts managed to triangulate the source of these broadcasts and figured out that they were likely emanating from a Dutch freighter known as the SS Ourang Medan, which was navigating the straits of Malacca.
An American merchant ship called the Silver Star was closest to the presumed location of the Ourang Medan and rushed to help. As the silver star caught sight of the Ourang Medan, the crew noticed that there was no sign of life on the deck. And attempts to hail the crew was not successful. That’s when the Captain of the Silver Star decided to assemble a boarding party
As they boarded the Ourang Medan they noticed that the decks of the vessel were filled with the corpses of the crew; whats more creepy was the fact that their eyes were wide open and their arms were grasping at some unseen assailants, their faces twisted in agony and horror. Even the ship’s dog was dead.
Later one of the boarding crew members testified that “Their frozen faces were upturned to the sun… staring, as if in fear… the mouths were gaping open and the eyes staring.”
After boarding the ship, the American crew members claimed to have felt an extreme chill in the air even though the temperature outside was 110°F. Although it’s obvious the crew of the suffered a horrific death, there was no evidence of injury or foul play and the ship itself was not damaged.
The Captain of the Silver Star decided that they would tow the Ourang Medan back to port, but as soon as the tow line was attached. Smoke started pouring out from the lower decks then the Ourang Medan just exploded and sank into the ocean.
There have been of course a number of theories proposed about what might have caused the death of the crew. The most popular of these is that the ship was illegally transporting some kind of illegal nerve agent, which was not properly secured. Others, claim the ship was a victim of some kind of paranormal attack.
And I’m here to tell you what really happened, a look of fear and agony? Everybody dead? That ship was carrying The Ark of The Covenant… That’s why when ghosts attack, you gotta just close your eyes. I mean if I was gonna be killed by a ghost, and I know for sure that I’m gonna die, do I really want to be so scared that I poo my pants before I die? If I’m going to die, I’d want to die with clean pants, that’s all I’m saying. So remember, when ghosts attack and you’re pretty sure your gonna die, just close your eyes, and either you die with clean pants or it’s the ark of the covenant and your gonna be spared… Win-win.
4. The Octavius
The Octavius was allegedly discovered West of Greenland by a whaling ship on October 11th, 1775. Crewmembers of the Whaling ship boarded the Octavius and discovered that the entire crew froze to death. The Captain was found in his cabin, frozen at his desk while writing in his log. The boarding party freaked out so much they quickly left the ship, but in their haste, they only grabbed the first and last pages of the log as the rest was frozen to the desk. The partly complete entry in the log was dated 1762, meaning the ship had been in the state they discovered it for 13 years.
The Octavius had left England for in 1761 and was doomed when the Captain decided to take the much shorter but unconquered route of the North West Passage. It is believed the ship became trapped in ice when traveling past Northern Alaska.
The discovery of the ship meant that the Octavius was the first ship to Navigate the North West Passage. The ship was presumed to have later broken free of the ice and drifted for 13 years until the discovery in Greenland, The Octavius was never seen again after this strange encounter. So yea, if you ever run into a super old ship with a bunch of frozen bodies, you may pee your pants, but at least you can identify the ship! That’s a learning moment if you ask me.
5. Flying Dutchman
This is arguably the most famous ghost ship of all. The ship is said to haunt the waters near the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Contrary to popular belief, the term “Flying Dutchman” actually refers to the captain, not his ship. There are several variations of the story, but the most famous one is that the ship’s captain, Hendrick Vanderdecken, who lived in the 17th century and served with the Dutch East India Company, encountered a storm off the Cape of Good Hope.
Legend states that “the very stubborn Dutch sea captain was struggling to round the Cape of Good Hope and when other vessels asked if he would take refuge in the bay he laughed and shook his fist at the wind and swore He would Round the Cape if it took him ’til Doomsday.”
His crew and passengers eventually tried to stage a mutiny, but the captain shot the leader of the rebellion and threw his body overboard. Then the clouds parted, and a form appeared on this ship that said,
“You’re a very stubborn man,” to which the Captain replied, “I never asked for a peaceful voyage, I never asked for anything, so clear off before I shoot you too!”
He then fired at the form, but the bullet pierced his hand instead. Then the form said.
“You are condemned to sail the oceans for eternity, with a ghostly crew of dead men. Bringing death to all who sight your spectral ship, and to never make port or know a moment’s peace. Furthermore, gall shall be your drink, and red-hot iron your meat”
Thus to this day the captain and his ghostly crew are said to sail the waters for all eternity, hoping one day to be forgiven.
There have been many sightings of the Flying Dutchman. For example, in 1939, dozens of people at Glencairn Beach in Cape Town reported seeing the Flying Dutchman charging toward shore under full sail, only to disappear just before the disaster.
Lighthouse keepers at the Cape Point Lighthouse are said to have frequently sighted the Flying Dutchman during storms.