Whether or not you’ve sailed the 7 seas, tales of ghost ships and the mysteries surrounding them entertain us all. Here are 7 of the strangest and creepiest stories:
1. The Mary Celeste
Probably the most famous ghost ship of all, the Mary Celeste set sail from New York City for Italy in 1872, but only made it as far as the coastal waters of Spain. That’s where the ship was found, abandoned and empty.
The ship’s stash of liquor was still there, along with the crew’s things, but the ship’s only lifeboat was missing along with the sails and navigational tools. To this day, no one has every been able to explain why the Celeste was abandoned.
2. The Octavius
Legend says that a whaling ship found the Octavius off the coast of Greenland in 1775, with all 28 crewmen on board frozen solid. The captain was found frozen in place sitting at his desk, holding his quill pen with his logbook open in front of him.
The stories say that the ship had been sailing from Asia to England, and tried to sail through the Northwest passage. The last date in the logbook revealed it had taken the crew 13 years to make their final trip.
3. SS Valencia
The waters off the coast of Cape Beale are called the “Graveyard of the Pacific,” and that’s where the SS Valencia crashed in 1906, killing 100 passengers. While the ship had 7 life boats, they all met terrible ends:
Only 6 boats were lowered, 2 sank, 3 flipped their passengers into the sea and 1 disappeared. Only 12 men made it back to shore, and all of the women and children on board drowned. The missing lifeboat was discovered in a nearby sea cave months later, with passengers still sitting in their seats.
To this day, sailors swear they see lifeboats full of skeletons rowing to shore near the site of the Valencia’s crash.
4. High Aim 6
A real-life tale of murder and mutiny from the very recent past, the mystery of High Aim 6 still baffles investigators. The ship washed up in Australian waters after sailing from Taiwan, with all 12 crew members missing and a hold full of rotting fish.
Only one crew member from Indonesia was ever tracked down, and he admitted to police that the ship’s captain and engineer were murdered, but gave no other explanation.
5. The Ourang Medan
In 1947, a pair of American ships sailing near the Dutch East Indies received a horrifying distress call in Morse code. It read “S.O.S. from Ourang Medan (…) we float. All officers including the Captain, dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole of crew dead (…) I die.”
When investigators boarded the ship they discovered all of the crew and a dog lying on their backs with expressions like “horrible caricatures” on their faces. Before they could learn any more, the ship caught fire, exploded and sank.
6. The Lady Lovibond
Legend says that this ship’s captain took his wife on a cruise to Portugal, when his jealous first mate crashed the ship in a reef to spite the couple. Ever since the crash in 1748, the Goodwin Sands reef off the coast of Kent has been haunted by the Lovibond and her crew.
The ship is seen sailing over the reef every 50 years, from 1798 until 1948. It missed its 1998 voyage, so either the spirits are finally at rest of the captain has set sail for Portugal again.
7. The Flying Dutchman
For hundreds have years, men have claimed to see an enormous ship covered in bright lights sailing around the ocean. Legend says that the ship tried to dock during a deadly storm, but no one would sail out to help them land. Ever since, the crew have been doomed to sail the sea forever.
The ship and its haunted crew have been featured in movies like the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and there are still sightings to this day. Usually, the men on board the Dutchmen try to pass messages to loved ones who died long ago.