Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Flying Dutchman - seen all over but, mostly seen off the Cape of Good Hope, Africa

The legend of the Flying Dutchman has been around for centuries.  Most are familiar with the ship portrayed in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.  There are some things about the movie version that are made up, such as it being Captained by Davey Jones.  However, the Flying Dutchman is a real ghost ship and some high profile figures in history have had first hand encounters with this phantom vessel.

The Flying Dutchman is said to be manned by a crew of skeletons and has been seen in many oceans

One version of the story begins back in 1641 when a Dutch owned ship was rounding the Cape of Good Hope in Africa captained by a man by the name of Henrik van der Decken.  Some claim that the term "Flying Dutchman" referred to van der Decken because he was notorious for being reckless with speed and careless sailing.  Others say it is because that the type of ship was actually referred to as a "Dutchman".  None the less, van der Decken's ship headed into a fierce storm while rounding the cape.  As the ship was overcome by the storm and began to sink it is said that the captain shouted out a curse that he would round the Cape of Good Hope if it took all of eternity.  With that, the ship and crew never made it to thier destination.

However, many believe that the curse is real and have claimed to have spotted a phantom ship that gives off an eerie glow.  It is said that this is a bad omen for sailors to spot the Flying Dutchman because most who have seen it have perished or ran into misfortune shortly afterward.  Some say that the ship actually tries to lure ships into the rocks and to their demise so that the dead can join the crew of the Dutchman.  Supposedly, the phantom ship is manned by the skeletons of the ill fated crew and captain who are condemned to sail the seas for all eternity.  In order for one of those damned souls to leave the ship and rest in peace, another sailor has to take his place.

The first recorded account of sightings of the Flying Dutchman were recorded in the song "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."  Eye witness accounts began appearing in writing around the 1820s.

Many say the cursed ship The Flying Dutchan gave off an eerie glow.  Any sailor that lays eyes on it is himself cursed with bad luck or death

In the 1880s, Prince George, who would later become King George V of England, was sailing aboard the Bacchante and the phantom ship was spotted by the tower watchman who shortly after describing the ghostly sight, fell from the tower and perished.  In 1911, there were reports that a whaling ship nearly had a collision with the Flying Dutchman.  There are recorded sightings by sailors from the British Navy in the 1920s and during World War II, German submariners reported seeing the phantom vessel when they were out on patrol as well.  Other reports would come from people on shore, they have claimed to see the Flying Dutchman out at sea or entering nearby bays.  One of the latest accounts of an encounter with the ship nearly ended in death for the crew of the Magelhaen in 1959 when the ship nearly collided with the ghost ship. 

Modern Hollywood's version of The Flying Dutchman used in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean films now sits in Castaway Cay where Disney Cruises are launched

The legend of the Flying Dutchman lives on through the ages in stories, books, and movies.  Interestingly enough, although the spectral ship has been spotted all over the world, most sightings have occurred off the coast of Africa around the Cape of Good Hope!

1 comment:

  1. wow did not know the ship was real, so cool