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Flying Dutchman: the Incredible Ghost Story

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Flying Dutchman - One of the Most Mystical Ghost Ships

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 where a certain captain named Hendrik Van Der Decken was navigating his ship through the sea. This voyage was a long one and went all the way from Holland to East India. The trip went particularly well, but on the way back to Holland, a huge tragedy has 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.

It says there was a rebellion happening on the vessel during the terrible storm. Some members of the crew actually wanted to turn around the ship and try to sail away from the bad weather. They did not succeed at all with their agenda, as captain Van Der Decken gave an order to his crew to continue forward no matter what, and so, the vessel continued its path to certain and unavoidable death.

This incident has happened in the year 1641. It says that the ship sank when it hit the rocks surrounding the Cape of Good Hope.

Sightings of the Flying Dutchman

Although according to what happened to the ship and that it should 100% be buried under the sea, the vessel has been seen several times on the sea. Early in the morning of 11th July year 1881, there was a ship sailing near Australia's coast, a ship called HMS Bacchante. It says that thirteen members of the crew have suddenly seen a red light in the distance near their own ship. The red light did not appear alone, in its shine was the Flying Dutchman sailing the waves. Naturally, the Bacchante crew was curious and they navigated their vessel to the place where the Flying Dutchman, surrounded by the red light, firstly appeared. However, there were no signs of a ship sailing at that spot whatsoever - it simply disappeared.

This 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 ship sailing to then suddenly disappear into thin air. Other sightings have been recorded during World War II 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 as well. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are hugely successful and popular. There is a high probability that most of you readers know the Flying Dutchman from these exact movies and it needs to be said that its legend was portrayed very well. 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 get on the land is once in ten years' time. Although the cursed crew looking like mutated fishes and sea animals is fiction, there clearly is inspiration taken from the original tale.

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

The Legend About the Flying Dutchman

The legend says there is 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 where its captain Hendrik, after being trapped in his native village due to bad weather before sailing east, pronounces that he will sail the upcoming day, if not with God then with the devil. When he next day stood upon the deck of his ship it is said that people who saw him there, saw as well a devil standing by his side. Another story tells about a sinking ship that the Flying Dutchman completely passed by, without rescuing those onboard and thus earned its horrific curse.

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

All these could be a reason for the Flying Dutchman's tragic fate. When the ship was caught in the storm, the crew started to be superstitious and blame their captain. He however made a statement that no one would leave the vessel until they have made it to the destination, around the Cape of Good Hope, even if it should take ages. After this, the cursed captain and his doomed ship are said to be out there, sailing the seas forever.

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© 2021 Jan Stepan

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