GHOST SHIPS



The HMS Eurydice, a 26-gun frigate that capsized and sank in Sandown Bay during a blizzard in 1878, is a famous phantom vessel that has been sighted by sailors over the years. On October 17, 1998, Prince Edward of England (1964– ) and the film crew for the television series "Crown and Country" saw the three-masted ship off the Isle of Wight and managed to capture its image on film.

Perhaps the most famous of all ghost ships is the Flying Dutchman, whose legend states that as punishment for his impiety and blasphemy, the captain, Cornelius Vanderdecken, must sail until doomsday. The appearance of this supernatural vessel is considered by seafarers to be an omen of ill-fortune.

Another one that is a forerunner of disaster is the ghost ship of the Yangtze River, a medieval Chinese pirate junk. The ghost junk has been said to herald wars, famines, and the deaths of thousands. Off of the Chileo Island, in South America, a ship apparition called the Caleuche, is claimed to leave broken down boats and drowned men in its wake.

On January 5, 1931, the MS Tricouleur, with a cargo of chemicals, exploded and sank after leaving Calcutta en route to Bombay. Sailors off Ceylon still report seeing her pass them before disappearing into the fog.

Inhabitants along Bay Chaleur of New Brunswick, Canada, sight a "fire ship" that has been appearing for more than a century. Some theorize the ship was an immigrant vessel that sailed mistakenly into the bay instead of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Struck by lightning, it burned and ran aground at the mouth of the Restigouche River.

Many New Englanders claim to have seen another burning vessel, The Palatine, a ship from Holland that met with foul play during Christmas week, 1752, and sunk off Block Island near the coast of Rhode Island. In his poem "The Palatine," John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892) made the unfortunate tragedy of the ill-fated ship a part of American literature.

SOURCES:

Rickard, Bob, and John Michell. Unexplained Phenomena. London: Rough Guides, 2000.

Spaeth, Frank, ed. Mysteries of the Deep. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1998.

Winer, Richard. Ghost Ships: True Stories of Nautical Nightmares, Hauntings and Disasters. New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 2000.



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