The ghost ship – an image of a misty ship with tattered sails, gliding silently towards you – possibly empty or full of ghostly, ghoulish sailors manning the decks, is a scary vision. Sometimes the ship will glow with an eerie, unnatural light, it's bell clanging forlornly in the distance…
The term ghost ship has been around for hundreds of years, with the best known spectral vessel definitely being The Flying Dutchman.
She was an Amsterdam craft and set sail in 1751.
The captain's name was Captain Hendrik van der Decken and the story goes that the ship disappeared while he was trying to seek shelter in Table Bay in the Cape of Good Hope.
It is said that if one sees this ghost ship on the high seas, doom and tragedy are sure to follow.
She also brings dangerous and foul weather with her appearance. The Flying Dutchman has been spotted many times in the last two centuries, with the late King George V of England writing a detailed account of his own sighting in 1880 off the coast of Australia:
"At 4 a.m. the Flying Dutchman crossed our bows. A strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the masts, spars, and sails of a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief as she came up on the port bow, where also the officer of the watch from the bridge clearly saw her, as did the quarterdeck midshipman, who was sent forward at once to the forecastle; but on arriving there was no vestige nor any sign whatever of any material ship was to be seen either near or right away to the horizon, the night being clear and the sea calm. Thirteen persons altogether saw her...At 10.45 a.m. the ordinary seaman who had this morning reported the Flying Dutchman fell from the foretopmast crosstrees on to the topgallant forecastle and was smashed to atoms."
In more recent times, sightings have included ships that were known to have sunk many years before or empty vessels simply found with no crew on board. Here are a few of the more notorious and documented ghost ship sightings:
Ghosts know no boundaries – land, water, air – where people once lived and worked will always be places to find weird and mysterious paranormal phenomena. The Ghost Ship will always be a favourite of mine.
Would you like more stories? Here's one from a reader and her frightening experience with a Ouija board.
Ghosts in the family, pictures of their ghosts sent in by readers.
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