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Halloween 2019: The spookiest Ghost Ship Stories From Around The World

Halloween 2019: The spookiest Ghost Ship Stories From Around The World

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Octavius

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To get you in the mood for Halloween 2019, We bring you the best stories of haunted ghost ships through the years, from the disappearing crew of Carroll A. Deering to the mystery of Mary Celeste

Although the earth's warming temperatures mean that the Northwest Passage is now free (albeit not easy) to sail through, this was not always the case. The search for the elusive passage claimed the lives of many ambitious sailors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; keen to find an alternate trade route to Asia, their ships would become lodged in Arctic ice, sealing their fate in the Great White North. The Octavius was one of many to meet such a fate, but the grim scenes found on board was what made the story of this ghost ship particularly terrifying.

The three-masted schooner departed from England in 1761, but was found off the coast of Greenland in 1775. Her captain had, unluckily decided to try and use the then nonexistent Northwest Passage (which superyacht Rosehearty has since cleared) to return home. The five men who boarded the derelict ship in 1775 were confronted with a ghostly sight; the entire 28-man crew was below deck, but frozen to death. The icy figure of the ship's captain was discovered sitting at his desk, writing in his logbook, pen still in hand. The last logbook entry was in 1762 - the ghost ship and her crew had been lost at sea for 13 years before being found.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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SS Ourang Medan

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One of the most notorious ghost ship stories, the tale of the SS Ourang Medan is shrouded in mystery. The legend goes that in 1947 a cargo ship off the coast of Indonesia put out a distress call with the words: “All officers including captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.” Before help could arrive, a second message was radioed in with just two words: “I die.”

Rescue workers who boarded the ship discovered to their horror that the crew members were indeed deceased with their bodies contorted and arms outstretched as if fending off an attacker, but without any signs of injury. An engine room fire then caused the ship to be abandoned and eventually sink, taking its ghastly secret, and any chance of an autopsy investigation, to Davy Jones’ locker.

Later reports contradicted this supernatural tale, however, with a 1948 newspaper article citing a survivor who blamed the deaths on a leak of its deadly cargo — sulphuric acid. What’s more, there is no record of the SS Orang Medan in Lloyd’s Registry, leading some to conclude that this ghost story is pure fabrication.

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Mary Celeste

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No ghost ship compendium would be complete without the tale of the brigantine Mary Celeste. Her fate has passed into maritime myth thanks in large part to a short story by Dr Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer and creator of Sherlock Holmes.

What we do know is that the Mary Celeste had sailed from New York on November 7, 1872 bound for Genoa with a cargo of alcohol. Almost a month later on the afternoon of December 5 she was spotted drifting somewhere between the Azores and Portugal by Dei Gratia, another brigantine on an Atlantic crossing.

Captain Morehouse of the Dei Gratia knew Captain Briggs of the Mary Celeste to be a capable sailor and was suspicious. He ordered a boarding party to the Mary Celeste and his crew found a deserted ship in seaworthy condition.

Captain Morehouse split his crew and sailed the Mary Celeste to Gibraltar. To this date the fate of Captain Briggs, his wife, child and crew of seven remains unsolved. Whether Briggs abandoned ship because of bad weather or whether there is a more sinister reason for their disappearance, will never be known.

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