Flying Dutchman, Ghost Ship of the Cape
Dutchman by Albert Pinkham Ryder
On the third of August,
1942, H.M.S. Jubilee was on the way to the
Royal Navy base at Simonstown, near Cape Town.
At 9 p.m., a phantom sailing ship was seen.
The second officer, Davies, was in charge
of the watch. Sharing this duty was the third
officer, Nicholas Monsarrat, author of The
Cruel Sea. Monsarrat signalled to the strange
ship, but there was no response. Davies recorded
in the log that a schooner, of a class that
he did not recognise, was moving under full
sail, even though there was no wind. The Jubilee
had to change course, to avoid a collision.
During the war, Davies' superiors would have
been in no mood for nonsense, and he must
have had to weigh that against the dangers,
especially in wartime, of not recording the
strange things that he saw. In an interview,
Monsarrat admitted that the sighting inspired
him to write his novel The Master Mariner.
According to Admiral Karl
Doenitz, U Boat crews logged sightings of
the Flying Dutchman, off the Cape Peninsula.
For most or all of these crews, it proved
to be a terrible omen. The ghostly East Indiaman
was also seen at Muizenberg, in 1939. On a
calm day in 1941, a crowd at Glencairn beach
saw a ship with wind-filled sails, but it
vanished just as it was about to crash onto
the rocks. During the war years, there was
plenty of room for bad omens.
The Flying Dutchman is the
most famous of South Africa's hauntings, inspiring
Wagner's opera Der Fliegende Hollander. Wagner,
however, calls the captain himself "The
Flying Dutchman". The air miles club
of Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) is also, predictably,
called "The Flying Dutchman". A
popular class of yacht is called "Flying
Dutchman". The ghost ship provides the
name for traditional English pubs, and even
a great American baseball star, Honus Wagner,
was nicknamed "The Flying Dutchman".
You may have seen the old movie Pandora and
the Flying Dutchman, starring Ava Gardner.
PLEASE SEE: WATERS MY
For centuries, the Flying
Dutchman has inspired novelists. Nicholas
Monsarrat has already been mentioned. Captain
Frederick Marryat, most famous for his classic
novels The Children Of The New Forest and
Mister Midshipman Easy, was also inspired
to write The Phantom Ship. Like Monsarrat,
Marryat wrote his fiction after experiencing
the real ghost ship. In fact, it has been
suggested that Captain Marryat invented the
Van der Decken character. This is not possible,
however. In any case, Marryat called his fictional
captain Philip Vanderdecken, not Hendrick
van der Decken.
Sir Walter Scott wrote of
the Flying Dutchman "She is distinguished
from earthly vessels by bearing a press of
sail when other vessels are unable, from stress
of weather, to show an inch of canvas."
According to one account, the ship was painted
yellow when it left Batavia, but it must have
been much weathered by the time that it reached
the Cape. All agree that Van der Decken tries
to pass letters home to other ships, but to
accept these letters is certain doom.
In what was then the British
Museum library, Lawrence Green found an anonymous
account of a passenger ship which did allow
Van der Decken to send across a boat with
four men. A Dutch seaman tried to hand letters
to the passenger ship's chaplain, who wisely
declined to take them. The Dutch seaman left
the letters on the deck, weighted down with
an iron bar, and returned to his ship. Fortunately,
the passenger ship lurched, dislodging the
bar, and the letters were blown overboard.
The passengers survived.
Almost forgotten nowadays
is another phantom Dutch East Indiaman that
haunts the Cape. This is the Libera Nos, aboard
which Bernard Fokke captains a literally skeleton
crew. No doubt, it is sometimes mistaken for
the Flying Dutchman. The Van Diemen, another
Dutch ghost ship, haunts seas closer to modern
The well-disciplined Royal
Navy is not short of official accounts of
the Flying Dutchman. The name of Captain W.F.W.
Owen, a Royal Navy surveyor, occurs frequently
in the annals of nineteenth century Southern
Africa. One of the minor episodes of his career
is recorded in the log of H.M.S. Leven, for
the year 1823. Twice a phantom ship was sighted,
and on one occasion it was seen to lower a
boat, to attempt communication. Aware of the
danger, Captain Owen did not respond.
Lawrence Green located Royal
Navy records showing that mutineers rigged
their ship to resemble the Flying Dutchman,
with piracy in mind. However, they surrendered
themselves at the Cape, after being terrified
by a real ghost ship.
The most famous Royal Navy
sighting, however, was recorded by King George
V, who in 1881 was a midshipman on H.M.S.
Bacchante. In his diary, for July 11, he unequivocally
wrote "At four a.m., the Flying Dutchman
crossed our bows." The lookout on the
forecastle, and the officer of the watch,
also saw the ghost ship off the port bow.
Prince George described "... a strange
red light, as of a phantom ship, all aglow
in the midst of which light the mast, spars
and sails of a brig two hundred yards distant
stood out in strong relief as she came up."
The ghost ship was sighted from other ships
in the squadron, the Cleopatra and the Tourmaline.
Thirteen crewmen, in all, witnessed the phenomenon.
The squadron was commanded by Prince Louis
of Battenberg, great uncle of the present
Prince Philip. The seaman who first reported
the ghost ship died from a fall, only seven
hours afterwards. With the help of the Reverend
John Neale Dalton, Prince George published
his account as The Cruise Of H.M.S. Bacchante.
Before publication, naval authorities at the
Admiralty checked the manuscript, to ensure
that it contained no errors.
There is a story that the
phantom ship entered Table Bay, and was fired
on by the garrison, but there appears to be
no record of this. Many other sightings have
been recorded, however. Keepers of the Cape
Point lighthouse often reported seeing her
during storms. In 1835, R. Montgomery Martin,
South Africa's first statistician, described
a personal encounter with Van der Decken's
vessel. In 1879, the steamer S.S. Pretoria
changed course, after the passengers and crew
saw lights which they thought to be a distress
signal. A strange sailing ship was seen, but
it vanished when the steamer approached it.
In 1911, an American whaler almost collided
with the ghost ship, off the Cape Peninsula,
and as recently as 1959, the crew of the freighter
Straat Magelhaen reported a near collision
with the Flying Dutchman.
Archeologists hope to excavate
Blackbeard's supposed pirate ship near US
in 3 years
RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) - A shipwreck
off the eastern U.S. coast believed to be
that of notorious pirate Blackbeard could
be fully excavated in three years, officials
working on the project said.
The Queen Anne's Revenge
was the name of the pirate Blackbeard's infamous
Blackbeard (November 23,
1675  – November 22, 1718) was the
nickname of Edward Teach, alias Edward Thatch
(one source gives his name as Edward Drummond),
a notorious English pirate who had a short
reign of terror in the Caribbean Sea between
1716 and 1718, during a period of time referred
to as the Golden Age of Piracy. His best known
vessel was the Queen Anne's Revenge, which
is believed by some to have run aground near
Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina in 1718.
Many Know Edward Teach's
power and reputation as the most frightening
of pirates, calling himself Blackbeard, he
braided his beard and tied the braids with
black ribbons. He stuffed burning rope under
his hat to make himself look more ferocious
and menacing. He scared everyone. Blackbeard
was so feared and such a master of psychological
warfare that there is no record of anyone
actually being murdered during his plundering.
Originally named Concord,
the vessel was built by Britain in 1710, but
captured by the French a year later. The ship
was modified to hold more cargo and renamed
La Concorde. The slave-ship was captured again
by the pirate Captain Benjamin Hornigold on
November 28, 1717 near the island of Martinique.
Hornigold turned the ship over to one of his
pirates - Edward Teach, who was later known
as Blackbeard, and made him captain. Blackbeard
converted La Concorde into his flagship, adding
20 more cannon and renaming it the Queen Anne's
Revenge. With it he ranged the west coast
of Africa and the Caribbean, attacking British,
Dutch and Portuguese ships.
Pirate Treasure TO READ
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Queen Anne's Revenge was
described as a 300-ton frigate armed with
40 cannons. Her name may have come from the
War of the Spanish Succession, which was known
in the Americas as Queen Anne's War, and in
which Blackbeard was known to have fought.
Shortly after ransoming
Charleston harbour and refusing to accept
the Governor's pardon, Blackbeard ran Queen
Anne's Revenge aground while attempting to
enter Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. Blackbeard
disbanded the flotilla, and escaped by transferring
supplies onto a smaller ship, Adventure. The
pirate captain abandoned several crew members
on a small island nearby, who were later rescued
by Captain Stede Bonnet. Some sources suggest
that Blackbeard purposefully grounded the
ships as an excuse to disperse the crew. Shortly
afterward he accepted a royal pardon for himself
and his remaining crew from governor Charles
Eden at Bath, NC.
In 1996, Intersall, Inc,
a private research and recovery company, discovered
the remains of a vessel which they believe
to be the Queen Anne's Revenge. Many cannon
and more than 16,000 artifacts have been recovered
from the wreckage, however none of them appear
to be of French origin (as would be expected
from a French slave ship), but are mainly
British. This therefore raises doubts about
the identification of the vessel as the Queen
Anne's Revenge. Recovery of artifacts from
the site continues in the current 2006 field
season, under the supervision of Project Director
Mark Wilde-Ramsing of the North Carolina Underwater
Both the identity of the
vessel and the ethics of the state of North
Carolina's collaboration with Intersall, Inc,
have been questioned by members of the professional
archaeological community in a 2005 article
in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.
In November 2006, more artifacts
were discovered at the site and brought to
the surface. The additional artifacts appear
to support the claim that the wreck is that
of the Queen Anne's Revenge. But criticism
over recovery efforts and the apparent lack
of progress was lodged by the discoverer of
the wreck against the North Carolina Department
of Cultural Resources and the project director
in the Carteret County News-Times, a newspaper
in Morehead City, North Carolina.
Perhaps the most famous
of the real ghost ships is the Mary Celeste,
a ship that was found abandoned between Portugal
(mainland) and Portugal's Azores archipelago
in 1872. It was devoid of all crew, but was
completely intact. While Arthur Conan Doyle's
story "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement"
based on this ship added some strange phenomena
to the tale (such as that the tea found in
the mess hall was still hot), the fact remained
that the last log entry was 11 days prior
to the discovery of the ship.
Launched in 1860 under the
name Amazon, the Mary Celeste started her
ill fated life. In the 10 years before she
was to become the Mary Celeste, the ship was
involved in several accidents and went through
several owners. She was sent to the New York
salvage auction where she was purchased for
$3,000. After extensive repairs, she was christened
The new captain Benjamin
Briggs, his wife, and young daughter, along
with 8 crew members departed New York on November
7, 1872 bound for Genoa, Italy. The cargo
consisted of 1700 barrels of raw American
On December 5, 1872, the
ship Dei Gratia came upon the Mary Celeste
floundering on the sea. The captain of the
Dei Gratia knew Captain Briggs and was surprised
to see the ship derelict as Briggs had a reputation
as an excellent captain. Men from the Dei
Gratia boarded the abandoned Mary Celeste
to determine what was going on.
The ship was found in good
seaworthy condition. It appeared as though
the crew had left in a great hurry. They discovered
that the chronometer and sextant were missing.
There was water between the decks and the
Galley was in bad shape. The stove was knocked
out of place and cooking utensils were strewn
about. There were no lifeboats aboard the
ship and everything was soaked. A rope was
found hanging over the side of the ship trailing
in the water.
The crew from the Dei Gratia
managed to get the Mary Celeste into port.
When the cargo was unloaded, they found 9
of the barrels of alcohol empty.
Mary Celeste was a 103-foot, 282-ton brigantine.
Originally built as the Amazon in Spencer's
Island, Nova Scotia, in 1861, the ship seemingly
had bad luck and, due to numerous misadventures,
had changed hands several times. She became
the Mary Celeste in 1869.
On November 7, 1872, under
the command of Captain Benjamin Briggs, the
ship picked up a cargo of industrial alcohol
shipped by Meissner Ackermann & Coin and
set sail from Staten Island, New York to Genoa,
Italy. In addition to the crew of seven, she
carried the captain and two passengers: the
Captain's wife, Sarah E. Briggs (née
Cobb), and two-year-old daughter, Sophia Matilda,
making 10 people in all.
On December 4, 1872 (some
reports give December 5, due to a lack of
standard time zones in the 19th century),
the Mary Celeste was sighted by the Dei Gratia,
commanded by Captain David Reed Morehouse,
who knew Captain Briggs. The Dei Gratia had
left New York harbor only seven days after
the Mary Celeste. Dei Gratia's crew observed
her for two hours and concluded that she was
drifting, though she was flying no distress
signals. Oliver Deveau, the Chief Mate of
the Dei Gratia, led a party in a small boat
to board the Mary Celeste. He reported finding
only one operable pump, with a lot of water
between decks and three and a half feet of
water in the hold. He reported that "the
whole ship was a thoroughly wet mess".
The ship seemed otherwise to be in good condition,
but no one was aboard.
The forehatch and the lazarette
were both open, the clock was not functioning
and the compass was destroyed. The sextant
and chronometer were missing, suggesting the
ship had been deliberately abandoned. The
only lifeboat appeared to have been intentionally
launched rather than torn away. There were
mysterious bloodstains along 3 railings, and
unexplained scratches along one railing. Perhaps
most mysterious of all, a sword was hidden
under the Captain's bed, some say bloodied,
though the official inquiry stated that the
red stains were rust.
The cargo of 1701 barrels
of alcohol was intact, though when it was
eventually unloaded in Genoa, nine barrels
were noted as being empty. A six-month supply
of food and water was aboard. All of the ship's
papers except the captain's logbook were missing.
The last log entry was dated November 24 and
placed her 100 miles west of the Azores. The
last entry on the ship's slate showed her
as having reached the island of St Mary in
the Azores on November 25th.
The crew of the Dei Gratia
split in two to sail the Mary Celeste to Gibraltar
where, during a hearing, the judge praised
the crew of the Dei Gratia for their courage
and skill. However, the admiralty court officer
Frederick Solly Flood turned the hearings
from a simple salvage claim into almost a
trial of the men of the Dei Gratia, whom Flood
suspected of foul play. In the end, the court
did award prize money to the crew, but the
sum was much less than it should have been,
as "punishment" for alleged wrongdoing
which the court could not prove.
The recovered ship was used
for 12 years by a variety of owners before
being loaded up with boots and cat food by
her last captain who attempted to sink her,
apparently to claim insurance money. The plan
did not work as the ship refused to sink having
been run up on the Rochelois Reef in Haiti.
The remains of the ship were discovered on
August 9, 2001, by an expedition headed by
author Clive Cussler (representing the National
Underwater and Marine Agency) and Canadian
film producer John Davis (president of ECO-NOVA
Productions of Canada).
None of the Mary Celeste's
crew or passengers were ever found. Their
fate may never be known, and rumors abound.
Speculation has indicated everything from
mutiny, to the Bermuda Triangle, to pirates,
to space aliens. Mutiny seems to have some
support among enthusiasts of the incident,
but is dismissed by most authorities. Both
the captain and the crew had strong backgrounds,
and there is little to indicate mutiny. No
reasonable inquiry includes "Bermuda
Triangle" speculation, as the ship's
course would not have taken it through that
area. Pirates would not have left a seaworthy
ship and its cargo adrift on the open seas.
The idea of extraterrestrial responsibility
is doubted by the majority of the scientific
and historic community.
In early 1873 it was reported
that two lifeboats were grounded in Spain,
one containing a body and an American flag,
the other containing five bodies. It has been
alleged that these could have been the remains
of the crew of the Mary Celeste. This has
not been confirmed as the identities of the
bodies were apparently never investigated.
The Mary Celeste crew and
passengers are listed in the ships log as:
Mary Celeste Crew
Name Status Nationality Age
Benj. S. Briggs Captain American 37
Albert C Richardson Mate American 28
Andrew Gilling 2nd Mate Danish 25
Edward W Head Steward & Cook American
Volkert Lorenson Seaman German 29
Arian Martens Seaman Dutch 35
Boy Lorenson Seaman German 23
Gotlieb Gondeschall Seaman German 23
Name Status Age
Sarah Elizabeth Briggs Captain's Wife 30
Sophia Matilda Briggs Daughter 2
Abel Fosdyk Secret Passenger (alleged) unknown
SS Watertown Photo Ghost
faces taken beside the ship in the sea foam
by the ship's Captain.
In December of 1924, an
oil tanker named the S.S.
Watertown sailed from California toward the
Panama Canal in route to New Orleans. While
were sailing, James Courtney and Michael Meehan,
crew members of the vessel, were cleaning
tank in the ship’s hold. In a freak
accident, the two
men were overcome by gas and oil fumes and
died. On December 4, as was the custom of
time, the sailors were buried at sea off the
This was not the last that the remaining crew
members were to see of their dead
shipmates. The next day, “before dusk,
the first mate reported seeing the faces of
the two men in the waves off the port side
of the ship. They remained in the water for
about 10 seconds, and then faded.” For
several days thereafter, the “phantom-like”
faces of the sailors were clearly seen by
other members of the crew in the sea foam
created by the ship as it sailed.
On arrival in New Orleans,
the ship's captain, Keith Tracy, reported
the strange events to
his employers at the Cities Service Company.
It was suggested that he try to photograph
the “eerie” faces if they appeared
again. Captain Tracy purchased a camera before
next voyage. When the faces appeared in the
water again, Captain Tracy took six photos,
and then locked the camera and film in the
ship's safe. The crew reported seeing the
faces of the deceased seaman several more
times, but their appearance became less and
The SS Watertown departed
and continued its scheduled voyage to New
York City. When
the film was processed in New York, five of
the exposures showed nothing but sea foam.
The sixth one showed the ghostly faces of
the doomed seamen. The negative was
checked for fakery by the Burns Detective
Agency, which found no sign of tampering.
After a third voyage, the ship's crew was
changed and there were no more reports of
sightings of the ghastly duo.
The story of the entire
event didn’t appear until ten years
later, after it was found in the
journal of the shipping company. The negative
of the photograph being lost by the
passage of time, made it impossible to re-verify
the image as authentic. Was this just a
figment of some superstitious sailor's imagination?
Was this some cruel joke? Is it
possible that the sightings were induced by
mass hysteria? Was the sighting of the ghostly
pair just an optical illusion? Many individuals
in the search of paranormal ghost
phenomenon are reporting to have similar experiences.
Evidence may be mounting?
of this type of ghost ship was the MV Joyita
discovered abandoned in the Pacific in 1955.
In 1990 the freighter Fisah Ketsi was discovered
drifting East of Brazil without any crew and
with its cargo hatch open.
The MV Joyita was a wooden ship built in 1931
as a luxury yacht. It was commissioned by
the US Navy as a patrol boat during WWII,
serving in the South Pacific.
On October 3, 1955, the
Joyita left Samoa for the Tokelau Islands.
The Joyita was carrying cargo of medical supplies,
lumber and foods, along with 9 passengers
and 16 crew. She never reached port, so a
search crew covered 100,00 square miles in
search of the Joyita to no avail.
The Joyita was found on
November 10th, 600 miles away from her planned
route. No trace of the cargo, crew or passengers
were ever found on the partially submerged
vessel. The ghost ship's radio was tuned to
the international marine distress channel.
It has been theorized
in books that the Joyita most likely was attacked
by pirates or
Japanese fishing boats possibly conducting
illegal activity. If so, the crew and passengers
were murdered and the cargo stolen.
Valencia disaster headline, January 25, 1906
Courtesy The Seattle
Sailors have reported seeing
the sunken steamship SS Valencia floating
off the coast of Vancouver Island, often as
an apparition that followed them as they sailed
down the coast. Her #5 lifeboat was also found
floating nearby, unmanned and in remarkably
good condition, 27 years after the ship sank.
On Monday, January 22, 1906,
the coastal passenger liner SS Valencia, en
route from San Francisco to Seattle with 108
passengers and 65 crew aboard, passed the
entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in
foul weather, and ran aground on the southwest
coast of Vancouver Island. The ship was on
a reef, trapped between sheer rock cliffs
and pounding breakers. Uncharted rocks and
fierce storms made it impossible for rescue
vessels to approach from seaward. Scores of
passengers drowned when their lifeboats were
wrecked or capsized in the surf. Over the
next 36 hours, terrified people huddled on
the hurricane deck or clung to the rigging
as huge waves slowly broke the ship apart.
Finally, as rescuers watched, horrified and
powerless, a huge wave swept the remaining
passengers and crew into the sea. There were
37 survivors, but 136 persons perished in
one of the most tragic maritime disasters
in Pacific Northwest history
Baychimo Ghost Ship cargo
steamer was built in Sweden, in 1914 for Hudson's
Bay Company. The Baychimo was used for trading
pelts for provisions from the Inuit people
along the Victoria Island coast
of the Northwest Territory - where it became
a ghost ship of note.
Heading home with a cargo
load of fur in October of 1931, The Baychimo
became trapped In ice. The ship was briefly
abandoned, but it broke free from the ice
and was re-boarded by its crew. The Baychimo
became stuck in ice again a few days later,
and most of the crew were airlifted to safety.
Only fifteen crew remained, awaiting the ship
to break free from the ice. As they stayed
in a nearby wooden shelter, a blizzard struck
and the ship disappeared in the storm. The
crew concluded that the Baychimo must have
sunk somehow during the storm.
The Baychimo was seen
a few days later, 45 miles away, and was tracked
cargo was removed, and the ship again was
abandoned due to its "un-sea-worthiness."
The Baychimo continued to float on the sea
on its own for 38 years, and was seen many
times. Several times it was boarded, but either
bad weather or the lack of necessary
equipment to salvage the Baychimo, kept it
a ghost ship. The Baychimo was last seen
stuck in the ice of Beaufort Sea in 1969,
and has not been seen since.
There are tales of
Haunted ships from the Great Lakes region
as ships have been lost on these storm-tossed
waters . Any sailor on the Great Lakes can
tell you that these waters are more dangerous
as any ocean. Ships have simply sailed off
into oblivion on these lakes, never to be
heard from again.
Similarly, the Octavius,
an English trading ship returning from China,
was found drifting off the coast of Greenland
in 1775. The captain's log showed that the
ship had attempted the Northwest Passage,
which had never been successfully traversed,
in 1762. The ship and the bodies of her frozen
crew apparently completed the Northwest Passage
after drifting among the pack ice for 13 years.
In 2006, the Jian Seng was
found off the coast of Australia, and as of
26 March little is known of its origin, or
reason for being here. An abandoned tanker,
the Jian Seng was found in 2006 by an Australian
coast watch airplane in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The Australian customs vessel Storm was dispatched
The following morning, a
small boat was launched to board the drifting
Jian Seng. No one
was found on board. Its point of origin unknown,
documents recovered later indicated it was
the Jian Seng; but the ship's name had been
The Jian Seng had a large
supply of rice in its cargo hold, used to
possibly re-supply fishing vessels out at
sea. Its engines, however, were inoperable
and Australian officials concluded it had
been adrift for some time. As the Jian Seng
had been stripped of anything of value, it
was surmised that it perhaps broke loose from
being towed to a ship scrap yard.
The Jian Seng was
later towed to deep waters and sunk as an
artificial reef, because its
owner was never located.
In August of 2006, the "Bel
Amica" (which is one "L" short
of the modern Italian spelling of "Good
Friend") was discovered off the coast
of Sardinia. The Coast Guard crew that discovered
the ship found half eaten meals, Egyptian
artifacts, French maps of North African seas,
and a flag of Luxembourg on board. The age
of the ship, maps, flag, and other things
have not been disclosed. This sort of schooner
that appears to be of the late 19th century,
according to Italian sources has never been
registered in the country by this name or
any other. The ship has been compared to the
Mary Celeste in its appearance.
Shortly after the original
reports, Italian newspapers reported the owner
had been found. Franc Rouayrux, from Luxembourg,
was identified as the owner of the vessel.
It had been left anchored in deep water for
somewhat nebulous reasons, and the owner stated
that he had expected to return to the yacht
after returning home to address an emergency.
The Italian press reported that an attempt
to avoid steep taxation of luxury vessels
may have been involved.
Bigger than the Titanic,
The Queen Mary was the pride of the Cunard
Lines. She carried many distinguished guests,
and during WWII was converted to carry troops
to the front. It was during one of these troop
carrying missions that one of the most horrific
episodes of her history occurred. On October
2, 1942 the Queen Mary was rounding Ireland
on the last leg of her journey. At this time,
she was joined by the HMS Curacoa and 6 destroyers
as she was within Luftwaffe range. The Queen
Mary was zig zagging in her course to make
it difficult for U-boats in the area to target
her. Because of the zig zag pattern, the Curacoa
and the destroyers were told to stay ahead
of the Queen Mary. The turbulence from all
of the ships made a heavy wash and forced
the ships to make minor adjustments in their
Down in engine and fire
rooms of the Queen Mary, a slight bump was
felt. No one thought anything of it as the
ship was unscathed and kept on its course.
The "bump" was the HMS Curacoa.
The slight change in course caused the Queen
Mary to nudge the Curacoa's stern, sending
the ship into the path of the massive ocean
liner. Because the orders were to continue
on no matter what, the Queen Mary did not
stop and snapped the HMS Curacoa in two. Of
439 men aboard 338 were lost.
In October of 1967, The
Queen Mary made her way to Long Beach, CA
where she was going to be converted into a
floating hotel. During the transition between
ship and hotel, strange things began happening.
A secretary was was walking
passed the engine room when she heard a clanging
noise as if a worker was in there doing some
repairs. She went in to investigate and the
noise immediately stopped. The woman went
on her way and the noise started again. As
she started to enter the engine room again,
the noise stopped. The woman fled the area.
Another incident occurred
in the area of the boat which housed the swimming
pool. No one was allowed in that area of the
ship, and the pool was completely drained.
However, next to the pool was a woman dressed
in a one piece bathing suit that looked to
be from the early 1950's. The woman was about
ready to dive into the empty pool. The crewmember
yelled for the woman to stop and she disappeared.
Later, while checking the
ship's records, the crewmember discovered
that a woman had drowned in the swimming pool.
And yet another story comes
from watertight door number 13. A guard was
patrolling that area with his dog when he
heard a noise coming from door number 13.
The dog stopped and refused to move any further.
They searched the area but found nothing.
Archives show that a man by the name of John
Pedder was crushed and killed by watertight
door number 13. Several years later, a guide
felt a presence behind her. She turned and
saw a young man standing there behind her.
The apparition was there only a few seconds
before disappearing. The guide later picked
John Pedder's photo out of a line up. She
was not aware of the tragic death occurring
at door 13.
Many unexplained things
happen aboard The Queen Mary. Hatches and
doors open by themselves in the hours after
midnight, sounds are heard in various areas
of the ship, wet footprints have appeared
along the empty pool, and the ship's first
captain who died aboard the ship is seen pacing
Most spine chilling is
an incident that occurred during the trip
into California. A marine engineer aboard
was in the bow below deck when he heard the
voices of panicked men screaming in horror.
Then he heard the sound of crunching metal
being ripped apart and the sound of rushing
water. The same noises have been heard occasionally
since the ship has been permanently berthed.
Is this the accident of the Curacoa being
On April 14, 1912, the huge
"unsinkable" ship the Titanic was
steaming across the Atlantic towards New York.
This was the Titanic's maiden voyage, and
her captain was encouraged to break the record
for speed while making the voyage. As most
people know, after striking an iceberg, the
unsinkable ship went down in only a matter
of hours. Out of the 2,201 passengers, only
711 were saved. Since then, there have been
many books and movies about the Titanic.
There was one fictional
story written by a merchant seaman by the
name of Morgan Robertson. Robertson's book
was about an unsinkable passenger liner that
sank while carrying the elite people of the
time. The ship in Robertson's story was called
the Titan and the book was titled The Wreck
of the Titan. Even though the book is fictitious,
the events in the story parallel the events
of the Titanic. Both ships were built to be
unsinkable. Both ships sank after striking
an iceberg. Both ships were on their maiden
voyage. The most well to do famous people
were on the Titan and Titanic. Only one third
of the passengers on each ship survived. Both
ships had an inadequate number of lifeboats.
Both ships were encouraged to break speed
records during their voyage.
Robertson's book The Wreck
of the Titan was never published. Each time
it was rejected by editor's, they told him
the same thing. The story was unbelievable.
Surely the events he wrote of could not possibly
happen to an unsinkable ship.
The book, The Wreck of
the Titan was written in 1898, fourteen years
before the Titanic hit an iceberg and settled
on the bottom of the northern Atlantic.
The SS Ourang Medan... The
signals claimed, "All officers including
captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge.
Possibly whole crew dead." This message
was followed by indecipherable Morse code
then, "I die." Shortly after World
War II in 1948, several ships responded to
SOS and Morse Code distress calls from the
Dutch freighter, Ourang Medan.
Within hours of the first
distress signals, the first rescue ship arrived
on the scene. Upon arrival, the rescue vessel
tried to hail the Ourang Medan but there was
no response to their hand and whistle signals.
A boarding party was sent to the ship and
what they found was astonishing. All the crew
and officers of the Ourang Medan were dead,
their eyes open, faces looking towards the
sun, arms outstretched and a look of terror
on their faces. Even the ship's dog was dead,
"teeth bared, with their upturned faces
to the sun, staring as if in fear... When
nearing the bodies in the boiler room, the
rescue crew felt a chill though the temperature
was near 110°F.
The decision was made to
tow the ship back to port. As the ship was
prepared to be towed, smoke began rolling
up from the hull. The rescue crew left the
ship and barely had time to cut the tow lines
before the Ourang Medan exploded and sank.
Hall said the
yacht's sails were up but one was badly shredded.
He said the engine was running, there was
food on the table, a laptop was turned on,
and the radio and global positioning satellite
(GPS) were working.
life jackets and survival equipment, including
an emergency beacon, were found on board,
but no life rafts.
The KAZ II
was spotted adrift on the outer Great Barrier
Reef on Wednesday. Rescue crews boarded the
vessel on Friday but there was no sign of
the three crew men, aged 56, 63 and 69.
ghost ship video here http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=49750&cl=2445531&ch=1993810&src=news
"ghost ship" found off Queensland
23rd April 2007
Ghost ship video here:
Another unmanned vessel
has been discovered floating off the coast
The 6m barnacle-encrusted fibreglass boat,
which was yesterday spotted in waters off
the Sunshine Coast, is the second mystery
vessel to be found in Queensland waters in
less than a week.
Fisherman spotted the second
boat about 30km off the coast of Caloundra.
The boat was found upturned
and adrift, with the keys still in the ignition
and a tank full of fuel.
Fishing gear and scuba diving
equipment were retrieved from the vessel and
both outboard motors were still intact.
Police are now searching
for the owners of the boat, which is registered
The boat is believed to
have been adrift for several months, and authorities
believe it may have simply broken free from
The discovery comes just
one day after authorities called off the search
for three Perth men missing from a yacht found
unmanned and adrift last Wednesday about 160km
The three crew members -
skipper Des Batten, 56, and brothers Peter
and James Tunstead, aged 69 and 63, all from
Perth - went missing some time after their
9.8-metre catamaran, KAZ II, left Shute Harbour
at Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays the previous
Lafitte was a colorful character
who lived much of his life outside the law,
and a number of details about his life are
obscure. He was said to have been born in
France. Though well known in history and folklore,
both his origins and demise are uncertain.
The accuracy of some accounts of his life
are open to doubt, and an autobiographical
journal is suspected of being a forgery by
some historians. His father was said to be
French and his mother either a Spaniard, or
Sephardi. His mother's family allegedly fled
from Spain to France in 1765 after his maternal
grandfather was put to death for Judaism.
In his alleged journal, Lafitte describes
childhood in the home of his Jewish grandmother,
who was full of stories about the family's
escape from the Inquisition. Raised in a kosher
Jewish household, Lafitte later married Christiana
Levine, from a Jewish family in Denmark.
Along with his 'crew of
a thousand men', Lafitte sometimes receives
credit for helping defend Louisiana from the
British in the War of 1812, with his nautical
raids along the Gulf of Mexico.
Lafitte established his
own "Kingdom of Barataria" in the
swamps and bayous near New Orleans after the
Louisiana Purchase of 1803. He claimed to
command more than 3,000 men and provided them
as troops for the Battle of New Orleans in
1815, greatly assisting Andrew Jackson in
repulsing the British attack. Lafitte reportedly
conducted his operations in the historic New
Orleans French Quarter. General Jackson was
informed of Lafitte's gallant exploits at
the Battle of New Orleans by Colonel Ellis
P. Bean, who then recruited Lafitte to support
the Mexican Republican movement.
After being run out of New
Orleans around 1817, Lafitte relocated to
the island of Galveston, Texas establishing
another "kingdom" he named "Campeche".
In Galveston, Lafitte either purchased or
set his claim to a lavishly furnished mansion
used by French pirate Louis-Michel Aury, which
he named "Maison Rouge". The building's
upper level was converted into a fortress
where a cannon commanding Galveston harbor
were placed. Around 1820, Lafitte reportedly
married Madeline Regaud, possibly the widow
or daughter of a French colonist who had died
during an ill-fated expedition to Galveston.
In 1821, the schooner USS Enterprise was sent
to Galveston to remove Lafitte's presence
from the Gulf after one of the pirate's captains
attacked an American merchant ship. Lafitte
agreed to leave the island without a fight,
and in 1821 or 1822 departed on his flagship,
the Pride, burning his fortress and settlements
and reportedly taking immense amounts of treasure
with him. All that remains of Maison Rouge
is the foundation, located at 1417 Avenue
A near the Galveston wharf.
Ghost of Jean Lafitte
and the Phantom Pirates of Barataria
TO READ MORE PLEASE VISIT HERE
After his departure from Galveston, Lafitte
was never heard from again. Rumors have long
circulated that Lafitte died in a hurricane
in the Gulf or in the Yucatan around 1826.
A controversial manuscript, known as the Journal
of Jean Laffite, relates how, after his announced
death in the 1820s, he lived in several states
in the United States, and raised a family
until his death in St. Louis in the 1840s.
Reportedly at his request, the publication
of the journal was delayed for 107 years and
surfaced in the 1950s in the hands of a man
claiming to be the pirate's descendant.
Lafitte claimed never to
have plundered an American vessel, and though
he engaged in the contraband slave trade,
he is accounted a great romantic figure in
Louisiana. The mystery surrounding Lafitte
has only inflated the legends attached to
his name. Lafitte was said to be a master
mariner; according to one legend he was once
caught in a tropical storm off the coast of
North Galveston and steered his ship to safety
by riding the storm surge over Galveston island
and into the harbor. Lafitte's lost treasure
has acquired a lore of its own as it, like
his death, was never accounted for. He reportedly
maintained several stashes of plundered gold
and jewelry in the vast system of marshes,
swamps, and bayous located around Barrataria
Bay. One such legend places the treasure somewhere
on the property of Destrehan Plantation, and
Lafitte's spirit walks the plantation on nights
of full moons to guide someone to the treasure's
location. Other rumors suggest that Lafitte's
treasure sank with his ship, the Pride, either
near Galveston or in the Gulf of Mexico where
some believe it went
down during an 1826 hurricane.
His legend was perpetuated
in Cecil B. DeMille's classic film The Buccaneer
and its 1958 remake.