The curse of the Flying Dutchman
Arguably one the most famous ghost ships, and depicted recently in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, this fable is at least partly factual: the ship sailed out from Amsterdam in 1680 bound for the Dutch East Indies and rain into a horrific storm around the Cape of Good Hope. Capt. Vanderdecken sailed on into the storm against crew protests that it was a warning from God, and sank. The legend goes that as the storm worsened, Vand der Decken shouted that "I will round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until doomsday!"- and so, as punishment, Vanderdecken, his ship and his crew are condemned to sail around the Cape forever.
A British ship reported sighting the Flying Dutchman in 1835, almost two hundred years later; there have been, subsequently, many other similar reports from sailors transiting the ocean. One man died on the HMS Bacchante in 1881 as he fell off the mast, a day after he and another crewmember reported seeing the ‘Dutchman’. The prince who would later be King George the V in the UK was sailing on board, and claimed to have seen the apparition too.
In 1939, tens of people on Glencairn, a beach in South Africa claimed having seen the ghost ship. Many described it with uncanny accuracy. The ship was seen sailing along till it mysteriously vanished into thin air. In 1942, the last recorded sighting, four people saw the Dutchman vanish as it entered Table Bay in South Africa.