For centuries, sailors around the world have told the legend of a cursed ghost ship, named The Flying Dutchman. The ship is cursed, and as such can never return to port. Since it has place to go, The Flying Dutchman sails around the ocean aimlessly, haunting the minds of sailors and toying with the imaginations of sea farers globally. There have been tales for ages, of late-night spotters in the crow’s nest of a ship seeing a ghost ship passing their bow. Men swear on their lives that the cursed ship, The Flying Dutchman was seen sailing past them.
Where did this legend come from, and who started telling the story of this cursed ship? The first references to The Flying Dutchman comes from the writings of George Barrington in the late 1700’s who wrote about the ship that appeared and then disappeared in a dark cloud – like an apparition. Several other writers and authors have written stories and poems including mentions of The Flying Dutchman. In all of the references, they talk about the ship being a terrible omen to sailors… They never want to see this ship. Seeing The Flying Dutchman is tantamount to a visit from God telling them that their voyage has been cursed.
Was The Flying Dutchman an actual ship, or was it created as folklore? The jury is still out on this question, but many who have speculated about the legend agree that The Flying Dutchman was a ship that became doomed for one reason or another. Some say that The Flying Dutchman was used for piracy and was loaded with gold and other loot. While travelling with a load of treasure, unspeakable crimes were committed on board the ship, thus making it cursed forever.
Other variations of the legend say that the Captain of The Flying Dutchman refused to go to port in the face of a horrible storm and as a result the entire ship perished. Others claim that the ship was not called The Flying Dutchman – that instead it was the name of the captain of the ship. Eventually, as people passed the legend down through the generations, the story of The Flying Dutchman referred to the ship.
Throughout the years, many sailors have claimed to see a ship sailing past them, and then disappearing. One of the most famous men who swore to have seen The Flying Dutchman is Prince George of Wales, along with his brother Prince Albert Victor. In his writings, he stated that no less than thirteen men saw The Flying Dutchman sail by their ship in the middle of the night, and a few hours later disappeared from all site into thin air.
With all of these sightings, this leaves sailors and observers to wonder… Is there any merit to this legend? As has been well-documented, The Bermuda Triangle has taken the lives of many sailors and pilots throughout history. It is difficult to argue against eyewitness accounts – but can there be a logical explanation to these sightings? Some scientists have stated that the moon light reflecting on the ocean in a distance can create an illusion of sorts, almost like a mirage creates images in a sandy desert.
Does The Flying Dutchman exist today, or is it simply a legend from long ago? Regardless of what one may believe, mariners today do not gamble with fate. This story may be a legend to those who casually read about stories on the ocean’s open waters, but one thing is for certain: A sailor does not dare to call the bluff of the mighty ocean for they do not want to fall victim to the same fate as The Flying Dutchman.
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