We all have enjoyed mysterious ghost stories in our childhood. In the maritime world, there are lots of ships on which mysterious events took place.
The stories of these mysterious ships are always very interesting. Here are some of the famous ghost ships of the maritime world.
Top 13 Mysterious Ghost Ships and Haunted Stories
The story about this ship is very fascinating. On October 11, 1775, the whaler ship Herald found it. The crew of the Herald thought was probably a weather-beaten boat and they decided to give it a closer inspection.
They discovered the 28 sailors, frozen stiff, motionless, and blue. And when they reached the Captain’s office, they found his body frozen at his desk, still holding the pen.
The inkwell and other everyday items were still in their place on the desk. Turning around, they saw a woman wrapped in a blanket on the bunk, frozen to death, along with the body of a young boy.
This ship had started its journey in 1761 and was found by Herald after 14 years. The crew of the Herald were frightened of the Octavius and feared that it was cursed, so they simply left it adrift. To this day, it has never been sighted again.
2) SS OURANG MEDAN
In 1947 the Dutch Freighter SS Ourang Medan sent a cryptic SOS in Morse code; “All Officers, including the Captain, are dead.“
Lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead. This communication was followed by a burst of indecipherable Morse code, then a final, grim message: “I die.”
Radio directional equipment established the ship’s last position and an American merchant ship some 19hrs away, the Silver Star, was sent to investigate and render aid. The ship was found adrift approximately 50 miles from her Indicated position.
The decks of the vessel were littered with the corpses of the Dutch crew; their eyes wide, their arms grasping at unseen assailants, their faces twisted into revolting visages of agony and horror. Even the ship’s dog was dead. The rescue party noticed several things that seemed strange.
When the ambient temperature was over 100 F. They felt a disturbing chill that was emanating from somewhere on the ship. The bodies of the dead crewmen had no injuries to account for their deaths. It could also be seen that the bodies were decomposing quicker the normal.
The ship didn’t seem to have suffered any damage itself. That is why the Captain of the Silver Star ordered the S.S. Ourang Medan to be towed back for salvage. When the ships were tied together, the smoke was seen to be coming from the No.4 cargo hold of the freighter.
3) MARY CELESTE
On December 5, 1872, while sailing through rough weather, the British brig Dei Gratia sighted a seemingly abandoned ship drifting through the Atlantic near the Azores Islands about 1,000 miles west of Portugal.
When the crew of the Dei Gratia boarded the Mary Celeste, they found everything in perfect order with even the crew’s clothes neatly packed away, yet no people anywhere to be found.
The only clues about the lack of people were a disassembled pump in the hold and a missing lifeboat. So began one of the most enduring mysteries of the sea. There were six months of food and water aboard.
Some believed that the crew had drunk the alcohol and mutinied. But there was no sign of violence. Some said the ship must have been raided by pirates, but no valuables were missing. Sea monsters and waterspouts were also proposed.
4) KAZ II
In April 2007, the Kaz II was traveling with its three-man crew along the northwest Australian coast, when air surveillance noticed it drifting oddly. Upon boarding, no trace of the crew members could be found.
However, no sign of trouble was discovered either. A laptop computer was still running, and the engine was on. Eating utensils were laid out on the table, while life jackets remained in their cases. The only indication of something out of the ordinary was a ripped sail.
Conspiracy theories as to the fate of the three men, inexperienced sailors in their 50s and 60s, abounded, ranging from pirates, insurance fraud, and even paranormal activity.
A coroner’s court found something far more prosaic – than the three friends had drowned after falling overboard as a result of their lack of nautical nous, though one cannot say for certain as their bodies have never been found. The bizarre and disturbing mystery of Kaz II essentially remains unsolved.
More recently, the body of German sailor Manfred Fritz Bajorat was found slumped over the desk of his yacht Sajo in early 2016.
The grim discovery was made by fishermen when they boarded the drifting yacht off Barabo in Surigeo del Sur province.
After a post-mortem was carried out, local police said there were no signs of foul play and it was believed Bajorat died of natural causes, possibly a heart attack.
It is thought his yacht had been adrift for many months before it was discovered and the dry, salty conditions on board had caused his body to mummify.
6) CARROLL A DEERING
When the Carroll A. Deering was discovered in 1921, its crew vanished and its hull run aground on the treacherous rocks of Diamond Shoals, speculation ran wild.
The ship’s navigation equipment and lifeboats had gone but, to add the mystery, food had been prepared for the next meal. That speculation continues to this day, and no satisfactory explanation for the crew’s disappearance has ever been proven.
7) THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. The fable of this Dutch man-of-war ship first appeared in the seventeenth century.
The supposed captain of the ghost ship was apparently inspired by stories of Barend Fokke, whose exceptionally fast trips from the Netherlands to Java were presumed to be aided by the devil.
Sightings of the phantom ship, which apparently occur in bad weather, are supposed to be bad omens for those who pass her.
The most famous report of The Flying Dutchman was by King George V, who apparently saw her all aglow along the coast of Australia as they were sailing in the Bass straight.
The ship has become a famous trope in literature, art, and movies since; she inspired Richard Wagner’s opera of the same name, and more recently made an appearance in the 2006 film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
8) THE LADY LOVIBOND
There is a legendary story of a ghost ship called the Lady Lovibond that appears every 50 years near Kent, England which was reputedly involved in one of the hundreds of marine tragedies associated with the hazardous Goodwin Sands.
The Lady Lovibond’s legend is one of the most famous ghost ships overwhelmed with romance, jealousy, and revenge. Also, involve an old sailors’ superstition that it was bad luck to bring a woman during a cruise.
The legend began when Simon Peel (some account named Simon Reed), the newlywed captain was celebrating the occasion with a cruise on February 13, 1748. The ship was on its way from London to Oporto in Portugal.
However, John Rivers, the ship’s first mate, fell in love with the captain’s bride, Annetta.
Filled with jealousy and anger, he deliberately steers the ship towards the Goodwin Sands, which often causes a shipwreck. The crash killed all passengers almost instantly, leaving no survivors.
The sightings of the Ghost Ship Lady Lovibond were first seen in 1798. On February 13th, 1798, the Edenbridge’s skipper made a log entry to the effect that he had almost collided with a schooner, a three-master, which was sailing straight for the Goodwin Sands.
Fifty years later, the next sightings occurred in 1848, when the lifeboat crew from Deal went to the rescue of a schooner that seemed to be in distress on the notorious sands. When they reached the spot where they had last seen it, there was no trace of any vessel at all.
9) HIGH AIM 6
Auspiciously timed, this ghost ship was last seen leaving a port in Tawain on Halloween, 2002. The 20-meter boat was then found abandoned in the Timor Sea, within an 80 nautical mile range of Australia’s Rowley Shoals.
The fishing boat’s owner had last been in touch with the captain in December of that year, but by January 2003 High Aim 6 was discovered unmanned.
Strangely, the vessel was found with its engines fully fuelled and running, with all of the crew’s personal belongings and provisions on board. There were also no apparent signs of struggle or damage above or below deck.
The mystery remains unsolved; the only information the authorities received was from a single crew member they had managed to track down and take into custody.
He claimed that the crew of High Aim 6 had mutinied, but no reason was given as to why.
10) THE CALEUCHE
This is a mythical ghost ship in Chile mythology. According to the legends, Caleuche is a large ghost ship seen sailing the seas around Chiloe island at night.
The ship is described as a beautiful and bright white sailing ship full of lights and sounds of a party, dancing, and laughter on board but when sighted it quickly disappears with no traces and evidence of its existence.
It is also claimed that the ship is seen sinking and navigating underwater. It is believed that Caleuche is crewed by those who lost their lives at the sea brought to the ship by Mythological figures: The Sirena Chilota, Pincoya, and Pincay (water spirits).
The dead crew resumes their existence as they were alive. It is also believed that fishermen are kidnapped to serve as human slaves on the ship after being turned into sea creatures.
There are no documented sightings of the ship, (only witness claimes) nor there are any documented incidents of a ship with the same description given by witnesses. The Caleuche is featured in film stories, documentaries, and even songs.
11) THE SS VALENCIA
It was a passenger steamer ship that sunk off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia in 1906. The ship encountered bad weather drifting it off course, struck a reef, and started to sink.
The crew quickly began lowering lifeboats holding 108 passengers into the water. Only 37 of 108 people survived, some lifeboats sunk in the rough waters others simply disappeared.
Five months later, a fisherman claimed he had found a life raft with 8 skeletons in it in a nearby cave. A search was launched to find the bodies of the missing crew but nothing was found.
SS Valencia eventually became the source of many ghost ship stories. Sailors would often claim they could see the specter of the streamer drifting away leaving no traces.
27 years later after the sinking of SS Valencia, one of the rafts was found empty, floating peacefully in open water. The raft was in remarkable condition and even still had most of its original paint remaining.
The raft’s template is displayed in the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. The official report of the deaths was 136 people.
Only 37 survived. Every woman and child in Valencia died in the disaster. In 1910, sailors claimed to have seen a phantom ship near Pachena Point resembling Valencia.
12) THE BAYCHIMO
This ship was built in 1914 in Sweden. The vessel was used in World War I and it was given to Great Britain after that. In the hands of Great Britain, the boat was used for exploring the Arctic passageways during the 1920s.
In the fall of 1931 on the way back home the boat got stuck in the ice because of the bad weather. With the weather only getting worse the crew had to leave the ship to get to safety.
The crew returned to attempt to free the ship when the conditions were better, only to find that the ship completely vanished out of sight.
Several months later reports from various parties in the Antarctic waters report of seeing the Baychimo drifting freely in the waters.
Many parties managed to board the ship to investigate and explore but weather conditions never allowed for the ship to be retrieved.
During the 1930s the freely drifting vessel became known as the ghost of the arctic waters.
13) THE JOYITA
It was acquired by the US Navy and outfitted as a patrol boat. This fishing and charter boat was found by the Merchant ship, five weeks after it had been reported overdue.
It was drifting almost 600 miles off its original source with no sign of crew and cargo. The recovery party noted that the radio was discovered tuned to 2182 kHz, the international marine radiotelephone distress channel.
A break was found in the antenna cable, which would have limited the effective range of the distress calls to about 2 miles. The cable had been painted over, obscuring the break.
A doctor’s bag was found on deck, containing a stethoscope, a scalpel, and four lengths of blood-stained bandages. She did not carry life jackets for everyone on board.
She had a ship’s boat and 3 rescue life rafts that were apparently deployed. Her logbook, navigation equipment were all removed. What happened actually there was never revealed as none of the crew was ever seen again.