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Flying Dutchman: the Incredible Ghost Story

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Flying Dutchman – One of the Most Mystical Ghost Ships Ever

Once upon a time, there was a ship. A ship that later on would become one of the most mystical ships we have ever known.

The story goes back to the 17th century when a certain captain named Hendrik Van Der Decken navigated his ship through the sea. This voyage was a long one and went all the way from Holland to East India.

The trip went quite well, but on the way back to Holland, a tragedy caught the nowadays well-known Dutchman and his crew. Captain Van Der Decken had hoped to create a settlement at the Cape of Good Hope, a rocky coastland situated near a city we today know as Cape Town located in South Africa. Unfortunately, they would never manage to reach their destination thanks to a horrible storm that suddenly appeared over the unforgiving sea.

The legend says that a rebellion happened on the vessel during the terrible storm. Some crew members wanted to turn around the ship and try to sail away from the bad weather. Sadly, they did not succeed at all with their plan, as captain Van Der Decken gave them orders to continue forward no matter what, and so the vessel continued its path to unavoidable death.

This incident happened in 1641. The legend tells us that the ship sank when it hit the rocks surrounding the Cape of Good Hope.

Sightings of the Flying Dutchman

According to what happened to the ship, it should one-hundred percent be buried under the sea, but the vessel has been seen on several occasions on the sea. Early in the morning of 11th July 1881, there was a ship sailing near Australia's coast, a ship called HMS Bacchante. It says that thirteen members of its crew have suddenly seen a red light appearing in the distance near their vessel.

The red light did not appear alone. In its shine was the Flying Dutchman sailing the waves. The Bacchante crew was curious and decided to navigate their vessel to the place where the Flying Dutchman, surrounded by the red light, firstly appeared. However, there were no signs whatsoever of a ship sailing at that spot - it simply disappeared into thin air.

The story is just one of many sightings of this mystical and somewhat scary ghost ship. Many inhabitants living near the coast where the vessel sank have seen the boat sailing and suddenly disappearing from their sight. Other sightings were recorded during World War II – a time when the sea was a furious battlefield.

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The Flying Dutchman Is Represented in Movies and Series

The Flying Dutchman is well represented in modern media and culture. For instance, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are hugely successful and popular. There is a high probability that most of you know the Flying Dutchman from these exact movies. The Dutchman's horrific legend got portrayed very well indeed.

There, a captain named Davy Jones and his cursed crew needs to sail the sea for all eternity. The only time when Davy Jones can step on the land is once in ten years. Although the cursed crew looking like mutated fishes and sea animals is pure fiction, there is inspiration taken from the original tale.

Another representation, this time a little less significant than the one mentioned above, is made in the Spongebob Squarepants series. However, it is more of a comedy than a real depiction. But the fact that the legend made it to the popular production studios shows that Flying Dutchman is a story taken seriously.

The Legend About the Flying Dutchman

The legend says there's a curse surrounding the doomed ship and its crew, who shall sail the sea for all eternity. There are many theories and tales surrounding the ghost ship.

One says that captain Hendrik, after he got trapped in his native village because of a bad storm, pronounced that he will sail the upcoming day and if not with God, then with the devil himself. The next morning when he stood upon the Flying Dutmans deck, people who saw him standing there also saw a devil standing by his side. Another story tells about a sinking ship that the Flying Dutchman passed by without helping the crew, without rescuing those onboard, and thus earned its horrific curse.

Probably the most known story refers to the last moments of the captain's life. According to the legend, a young pair was traveling aboard his ship. They were in love which irritated captain Van Der Decken. Therefore, he decided to get rid of the man as he had feelings for his woman.

All of these stories could be a reason for the Flying Dutchman's tragic fate. When the ship got caught in the storm, the crew started to be superstitious and blamed their captain. He said no one would leave the vessel until they make it to their destination, around the Cape of Good Hope, even if it should take ages. After this, the cursed captain and his ship got doomed to sail the seas for all eternity.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Jan Stepan

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