Undated: The Caleuche is a ghost ship which, according
to local folklore and Chilota
mythology, sails the seas around Chiloé Island, Chile, at night. It appears as a beautiful
sailing ship with the sounds of a party onboard, but quickly
disappears again. Some believe the Caleuche provides aid
to ships in distress; others say that once yearly, its drowned crew
return to their families to help provide for them.
1748: The Lady Lovibond is said to have been
deliberately wrecked on Goodwin Sands on 13 February and to
reappear off the Kent coast every
1795 onwards: The Flying Dutchman, a ship manned by
a captain condemned to eternally sail the seas, has long been main
legend of ghost ships among mariners and has inspired several
1872: The Mary
Celeste, perhaps the most historically famous derelict,
was found abandoned between Portugal (mainland) and Portugal's Azoresarchipelago. It was devoid of all crew, but
largely intact and under sail, heading toward the Strait of
Gibraltar. While Arthur Conan
Doyle's story "J. Habakuk Jephson's
Statement" based on this ship added some strange phenomena to
the tale (such as that the tea found in the mess hall was still
hot), the fact remained that the last log entry was 11 days prior
to the discovery of the ship.
1921: The Carroll A. Deering, a
five-masted cargo schooner, was found stranded on a beach on Diamond Shoals, North Carolina. The ship's final voyage
had been the subject of much debate and controversy (see main
article), and was investigated by six Departments of the US
government, largely because it was one of dozens of ships that sank
or went missing within a relatively short period of time. While
paranormal explanations have been advanced, the theories of mutiny
or piracy are considered much more likely.
1931: The Baychimo was abandoned in the Arctic Ocean when it
became trapped in pack ice and was thought doomed to sink, but
remained afloat and was sighted numerous times over the next 38
years without ever being salvaged.
1933: A lifeboat from the 1906 wreck of
the passenger steamshipSS Valencia off the southwest
coast of Vancouver Island was found floating in
the area in remarkably good condition 27 years after the sinking.
Sailors have also reported seeing the ship itself in the area in
the years following the sinking, often as an apparition that
followed down the coast.
2006: In August the "Bel Amica" (which is one "L" short of
the modern Italian spelling of "Good Friend") was discovered off
the coast of Sardinia. The
Coast Guard crew that discovered the ship found half eaten Egyptian
meals, French maps of North African seas, and a flag of Luxembourg on board.
2007: A 12-metre catamaran, the Kaz II, was discovered unmanned off the
coast of Queensland,
northeast Australia in
yacht, which had left Airlie Beach on Sunday 15 April, was
spotted about 80 nautical miles (150 km) off Townsville, near the outer Great Barrier
Reef on the following Wednesday. When boarded on Friday, the
engine was running, a laptop
was running, the radio and GPS were working and a meal was set to eat,
but the three-man crew were not on board. All the sails were up but
one was badly shredded, while three life jackets and
survival equipment, including an emergency beacon, were found on
board. A search for the crew was abandoned on Sunday 22nd as it was
considered unlikely that anyone could have survived for that period
2008: A 50 ton fishing vessel grounds itself on a reef near
Kuta Beach in Bali. "The scorched shell of the Tai Ching
21 was found near Kiribati on 9 November with no sign of the
crew members. The crew are from Taiwan, China, Indonesia and the
Philippines, but news reports were unclear if the boat was Korean
or Taiwanese." 
1775: The Octavius, an English trading ship
returning from China, was
supposedly found drifting off the coast of Greenland. The captain's log showed that the
ship had attempted the Northwest Passage, which had never
been successfully traversed. The ship and the bodies of her frozen
crew apparently completed the passage after drifting amongst the
pack ice for 13 years.
1840: The schooner Jenny was supposedly
discovered after spending 17 years frozen in an ice-barrier of the
Found by Captain Brighton of the whalerHope, it had been locked in the
ice since 1823, the last port of call having been Lima,
Peru. The bodies of the seven people aboard, including one
woman and a dog, preserved by the Antarctic cold, were buried at sea by the
crew of the Hope, and Brighton passed the account on to
the Admiralty in London. The Jenny is
commemorated by the Jenny Buttress, a feature on King George
Island near Melville Peak, named by the UK Antarctic Place-Names
Committee in 1960.
1947: The Ourang Medan is said to have been
found adrift off Indonesia with all of its crew dead. The
boarding party found the entire crew "frozen, teeth baring, gaping
at the sun." Before the ship could be towed to a home port, it
exploded and sank.
1935: The Mystery of the Marie
Celeste (a.k.a. The Phantom Ship) offers a
fictional explanation for the events leading up to the discovery of
the most famous of abandoned ships.
Ghost Ship tells of mysterious deaths among the crew of
the Altair, for which it is suspected the insane captain
1952: Ghost Ship is set aboard a
yacht haunted by two murder victims (the previous owner's wife and
her lover) whose bodies have been hidden under the floor.
1980: Death Ship is about a lost
Nazi German torture and concentration camp ship that is still being
crewed by the evil spirits of the dead crew. It now roams the seas
for new victims, picking up survivors to abuse and kill after it
sinks their ships.
1980: The Fog
depicts the ghost ship Elizabeth Dane passing by a fishing
boat just before the dead crew of the Dane kills the three
fishermen on board the fishing boat.
1997: Event Horizon is a spaceship
which disappeared while testing an experimental propulsion system,
then returned intact seven years later but with no crew, life
support offline, and data recordings scrambled. The investigating
team soon encounters an evil presence that the ship brought back
2001: The Triangle has the tagline:
"60 years ago, the Queen of Scots vanished in the Bermuda
Triangle. Now four friends have found the unthinkable... or has
it found them?"
2002: Ghost Ship is about the
Antonia Graza, an Italian ocean liner lost at sea 40 years
earlier, and now boarded by a salvage crew who soon encounter the
ghostly apparitions of murdered passengers.
2003: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black
Pearl and its sequels Dead Man's Chest (2006) and
At World's End (2007) feature the ghost ships Black Pearl and
2007: Sunshine concerns a
spacecraft, the Icarus
II, sent to "re-ignite" the dying sun with a massive bomb
some years after the Icarus I failed to complete a similar
mission and was lost. As the new crew approach their destination,
they discover the original ship and board it to investigate.
1897: The Demeter, whose captain's corpse was tied to
the helm, is featured in Bram Stoker's Dracula.
1913: The Abel Fosdyk papers, an apocryphal
explanation of the fate of the Mary Celeste, were presented as a
true account by A. Howard Linford of Magdalen College, Oxford, the
headmaster of Peterborough Lodge, Hampstead's largest prep school. The story appeared
under the title Abel Fosdyk's Story in the monthly fiction
magazine Strand Magazine, which had invited
its contributors and readers to suggest possible solutions to the
mystery of the Mary Celeste.
1937: "Three Skeleton Key", a short story by George Toudouze
about a ghost ship infested with sea rats, was originally written
for Esquire magazine. It was
adapted for the dramatic radio program Escape in 1949 by James Poe and was also
broadcast on the Suspence radio drama
series in the 1950s.
1965: The Ampoliros, the "Flying Dutchman" of space,
is mentioned in Frank Herbert's Dune.