Show Mobile Navigation

Top 10 Ghost Ships

DanF . . . Comments

I was inspired to write this list because I’m in the Navy, and have spent a great deal of time at sea. Although most of the time it is quite boring, I have had the opportunity to see some beautiful, amazing and, sometimes, strange things. Finding an abandoned Catamaran in the middle of the Atlantic with no signs of life on board, apart from some recently caught fish, and finding a 100 year old buoy that had been drifting undiscovered for decades are two that come to my mind right now.

Also I would like to note that being on an abandoned ship, especially a warship, is a very creepy experience. Knowing that it was once full of life and is now empty is quite a strange and lonely experience.

Ghost Ships are defined as: “fictional haunted ships, or ones found adrift with their entire crew either missing or dead, or one which has been decommissioned but not yet scrapped”. I have therefore not included supposed Haunted Ships such as the Queen Mary or the USS Hornet.


Carrol A. Deering


The Carrol A Deering was a 5 mast Schooner, built in 1911. Named for the owner’s son, she was a cargo vessel and her final voyage found her sailing from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on December 2nd, 1920. The Master, William Merrit, and his first mate, Sewall Merrit (his son), had a crew of 10 Scandinavians. Both fell ill and Captain W. B. Wormell was recruited as a replacement.

After leaving Rio, the Deering stopped in Barbados for supplies. Here, the First Mate, McLennan, got drunk and complained to a fellow Mariner about Captain Wormell, his incompetence at disciplining the crew and his inability to Navigate the ship without the aid of McLennan. McLennan was arrested after he was overheard boasting “I’ll get the Captain before we get to Norfolk, I will”. Wormell forgave him, bailed him out and the Deering set sail for Hampton Roads.

The Vessel was not sighted until January 28th, 1921, when a Lightship keeper was hailed by a red haired man milling around on the foredeck. The man told the Lightship keeper, in a foreign accent, that the Deering had lost her anchors, but the Keeper was unable to relay the message due to a malfunctioning radio.

3 days later, on January 31st, the Deering was found aground on Diamond Shoals, off Cape Hatteras. Boarding of the ship was delayed due to bad weather and eventually rescue personal made it on to the vessel on February 4th. What they found made the Deering one of the most written about maritime mysteries in history. The Deering was completely abandoned. The logs and Navigation equipment were missing, as were 2 of the ships lifeboats. The Galley was midway into preparation for the following days meal. Unfortunately, the vessel was scuttled with Dynamite before a full investigation into the mystery could take place.

The crews disappearance occurred in the Bermuda Triangle, and several other vessels had disappeared in the same period and region as the Deering, including the sulfur freighter Hewitt. Many theories became popular during the investigation including Paranormal explanations, mutiny, piracy and Rum-runners stealing the vessel to sail to the Bahamas. The formal investigation ended in 1922, without any official ruling on the mysteries surrounding the apparent abandonment of the Carrol A. Deering.



Ghost Ships Baychimo-

Built in Sweden in 1911, the Baychimo was a Pelt trader along the routes of North West Canada. She was given to Great Britain by Germany as part of War reparations.

The 20 year old Cargo Steamers final (crewed) voyage occurred in October 1931, carrying a cargo of fur. The vessel became ice packed off the coast of the town of Barrow. The crew temporarily abandoned the vessel and headed 1/2 a mile inland in search of shelter from the freezing conditions. The ship eventually broke free of the ice a week later, on the 8th October, and the crew returned, only to become trapped in ice, again, on the 15th October. 15 crew members built a makeshift shelter some distance away, intent on waiting out the winter and eventually sailing the ship free.

On the 24th November, a blizzard struck. When it calmed, the crew found that the Baychimo had vanished, presumed sunk in the storm. Several days later a seal hunter informed the crew that he had sighted the vessel about 45 miles from their camp. The crew tracked the vessel to retrieve their precious cargo and left the Baychimo to its fate.

Over the next 4 decades there were numerous sightings of the Baychemo along the coast of Canada. Several boardings were attempted, few were successful, the ones that were often resulting in the salvagers becoming trapped inside due to adverse weather conditions. The last confirmed sighting occurred in 1969, 38 years after she was abandoned, she was found frozen in an ice pack. In 2006, the Alaskan Government began an operation to locate the ‘The Ghost ship of the Arctic’ but, to date, they have been unsuccessful.

Trapped in Ice, floating or at the bottom of the ocean, the fate of the Baychimo remains a mystery.


Eliza Battle

3376467246 957Ee3Ae3D

Launched in Indiana in 1852, the Eliza Battle was a luxury wooden hulled paddle steamer regularly entertaining Presidents and VIPs. Disaster struck on a cold night in February 1858, when the steamer navigated the Tombigbee. A fire started on cotton bales on the main deck and soon spread out of control. The strong winds helped the fire spread quickly over the upper deck. Out of control, the Eliza Battle drifted downstream, coming to rest at Kemp’s Landing. Men died in efforts to save their loved ones and women died in their efforts to save their children, though, fortunately, there were few aboard the ill fated final trip of the Eliza Battle. Of the estimated 100 people on board, 26 souls were lost, mainly attributed to death by exposure. The ship sank in 28ft of water, and its wreck remains to this day.

During the spring floods, late at night during the full moon, it is said the riverboat can be seen rising out of the water and floating up the river with music playing and fires burning on the deck, sometimes only the outline of the steamer is sighted. The fire is so bright a name plate bearing the name Eliza Battle can be seen on the side of the vessel. Local fisherman believe that sighting the Eliza Battle is a sign of an impending disaster and ill omens to ships still plying the Tombigbee River.


MV Joyita


The MV Joyita was a luxury yacht, built in 1931, in Los Angeles for Movie Director Roland West. During the Second World War she was outfitted as a Patrol Boat and worked around the coast of Hawaii until the end of the War.

On October the 3rd, 1955, the Joyita set sail from Samoa bound for the Tokelau Islands 270 nautical miles away. Her departure had been delayed due to a clutch malfunction on the port main engine, the clutch was not repaired and the Yacht sailed on one engine. There were 25 souls on board, including a Government Official, 2 children and a surgeon on his way to perform an amputation. Though the journey should have taken no more than 2 days, by the 3rd day Joyita had not arrived in port. No distress call had been received even though the vessels course would have kept her well within radio range of coast guard and relay stations. A 100,000 sq mi search was conducted by aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force but there was no sign of the Yacht, her crew or passengers.

It was not until November 10th, 5 weeks later, that the vessel was found. The Tuvalu sighted the Joyita 600mi from her planned route. The vessel was listing heavily to port with her deck edge partially submerged. 4 tonnes of cargo were missing and none of the crew members were onboard. The ships VHF radio was tuned to the International Distress Frequency. The vessel was found to still be running on one Engine, with an auxiliary pump rigged but not running. All the clocks on board had stopped at 10:25 and switches for cabin and navigation lights were on. A doctor’s bag was found on the floor with 4 blood stained bandages. The logbook, sextant and chronometer were missing, along with 3 life rafts.

A subsequent enquiry found that the vessels hull was sound and that the fate of the crew was ‘inexplicable on the evidence submitted at the inquiry’. The missing life rafts were especially intriguing as the vessel was cork lined, making her unsinkable, a fact the Master and the crew would have been fully aware of. No mention of the use of the medical equipment was in the investigation. The missing cargo also remained a mystery.

Theories ranged from the outright bizarre: Remaining Japanese forces from World War II were to blame for the disappearances, operating from an isolated island base to the more believable: insurance fraud, piracy, mutiny.

The Joyita was repaired, but ran aground on several more occasions, being dubbed a cursed ship she was eventually sold for scrap in the 1960s.


Flying Dutchman


Probably the most famous Ghost Ship, The Flying Dutchman has been popularized by ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ and for the big kids amongst you ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ (The Frying Dutchman). But what many people will not know is that ‘The Flying Dutchman’ refers to the Captain of the vessel, and not the vessel itself.

Several Spectral ships around the World are known as ‘The Flying Dutchman’ but I am going to refer to the original, located off the Cape of Good Hope. Here is the embellished tale:

“The Captain of the vessel, Hendrick Van Der Decken, was voyaging around the Cape of Good Hope with a final destination of Amsterdam. He swore to Round the Cape if it took him ’til Doomsday’. With a terrible storm abound, Van Der Decken refused to turn the ship around despite the pleas of the crew. Monstrous waves pummeled the vessel while the captain sang obscene songs, drank beer and smoked his pipe. Finally, with no options remaining, several of the crew mutinied. The Captain, aroused from his drunken stupor shot dead the lead mutineer and threw his body overboard, above him the clouds parted and a voice billowed from the Heavens.

‘You’re a very Stubborn Man’, to which the Captain replied ‘ I never asked for a peaceful voyage, I never asked for anything, so clear off before I shoot you too’ Van Der Decken made aim to fire into the sky but the pistol exploded in his hand.

‘you are condemned to sail the oceans for eternity, with a ghostly crew of dead men. Bringing death to all who sight your spectral ship, and to never make port or know a moments peace. Furthermore, gall shall be your drink, and red hot iron your meat'”

There have been many sightings of The Flying Dutchman, often by reputable and experienced seamen, including Prince George of Wales and his brother, Prince Albert Victor of Wales,

According to Admiral Karl Doenitz, U Boat crews logged sightings of The Flying Dutchman off the Cape Peninsula. For most or all of these crews, it proved to be a terrible omen. The ghostly East Indiaman was also seen at Muizenberg, in 1939. On a calm day in 1941, a crowd at Glencairn beach saw a ship with wind-filled sails, but it vanished just as it was about to crash onto the rocks.


Young Teazer


Built in 1813, the Young Teazer was an American Privateer Schooner preying on sea trade of the British Empire off the coast of Halifax. She was a remarkably fast vessel taking many prizes from Nova Scotia, several right at the mouth of Halifax Harbour. In June, 1813, the Teazer was chased by the Nova Scotian Privateer Brig Sir John Sherbrooke, but Teazer was able to escape into the Fog. Shortly after, HMS La Hogue, a 74-gunned third rate ship of the line, pursued the Schooner as she was reportedly cornered in Mahone Bay. With nightfall pending, La Hogue was joined by HMS Orpheus and the vessels prepared to board Young Teazer, which had no where left to run.

The La Hogue sent a five boat boarding party towards the Schooner. As the boats approached, the Young Teazer exploded. 7 of the crew survived and claimed they last saw the Teazers First Lieutenant, Frederick Johnson, running to the main magazine with flaming embers, considered mad Johnson threw the embers into the ammunition killing himself and 30 other crew members, many of whom lie in unmarked graves in an Anglican Cemetery in Mahone Bay.

Soon after the tragic event, eye witness reports began to surface that the Young Teazer had reemerged from the depths as a fiery spectral ship. The Following year, on June 27th, people of Mahone Bay were startled to see an apparition sailing into the same water where the Young Teazer had been destroyed. As it came nearer they recognized it as the privateer, and then it vanished in a huge puff of flame and smoke. The story spread through the country, and on the next anniversary many more were on hand, watching for “the fire ship.” Sure enough, it appeared again, and it is legend to this day that many persons have witnessed the appearance of the ghost ship, and have seen it disappear in flame. If you are standing on the deck of a ship at sea, the apparition appears to threaten to ram your vessel. Many report an overwhelming sense of fear when they see the phantom pirate ship. The Ghost Ship, known locally as ‘The Teazer Light’ can be seen on foggy nights, most notably those that fall within 3 days of a full moon.



Ghost Ships 6A

The Octavius was allegedly discovered West of Greenland by a whaler on October 11th, 1775. Crewmembers of the Whaler Herald boarded the assumed derelict Vessel, discovering the entire crew dead, frozen, apparently at the moment of their death. The Captain was found in his cabin, also frozen at his desk with his pen in hand, still writing in his log. He was accompanied by a dead woman, a child covered in a blanket and a sailor holding a tinderbox. The petrified boarding party left in a hurry, taking only the log back to the Herald. Unfortunately, its frozen state meant that it slipped from its binding and they only recovered the first and last pages. The partly complete entry in the log was dated 1762, meaning the vessel had been in the state they discovered it for 13 years.

The Octavius had left England for the Orient in 1761. The Captain opted to take the treacherous, but much shorter route of the unconquered North West Passage. It is believed the ship became trapped in ice whilst traveling past Northern Alaska. The discovery of the ship meant that the Octavius was the first ship to Navigate the North West Passage, albeit the crew never lived to witness it. The ship was presumed to have broken free of the ice in the winter months and the crew, dead from exposure, drifted with the winds for 13 years. The Octavius was never seen again after this strange encounter.


Lady Lovibond


13th February, 1748 – Celebrating his marriage, Simon Reed took his new bride, Annette, aboard his ship, the Lady Lovibond, for a cruise to Portugal. At the time it was considered bad luck to bring a woman onboard. Unbeknownst to Reed, his First Mate, John Rivers, was in love with the Captains wife and paced the deck in an uncontrollable rage. Overcome with jealousy, he attacked the helmsman with a belaying pin, killing him instantly. Rivers took the wheel and steered the Lovibond towards the notorious Goodwin Sands. All souls were lost and the subsequent inquiry ruled a verdict of Misadventure.

50 years later to the day, 2 separate ships witnessed a phantom ship sailing the Goodwin Sands. On the 13th February, 1848, local fishermen saw a vessel wreck on the area and lifeboats were sent out to investigate, with no sign of ship on the sands being found. In 1948, the ghost of Lovibond was seen again by Captain Bull Prestwick and was described as looking real but having an eerie green glow.

Unfortunately, you will have to wait until the 13th February, 2048, for the next sighting, as she is said to appear only once every 50 years: don’t forget to mark your calendar. The Goodwin Sands are England’s most fertile grounds for ghost ships, and are also the location of the legendary island of Lomea. The Lady Lovibond shares the area with two other phantom vessels: a liner called the SS Montrose and the Shrewsbury, a man-of-war.


Mary Celeste


The Mary Celeste can rightly claim the title of the greatest maritime mystery of all time, and is definitely the most documented case of a missing crew. To this day the events that lead to the 8 crew and 2 passengers apparently vanishing from the face of the Earth are a topic of great controversy and debate.

On December 13th, 1872, onlookers witnessed a small 2 masted sailing vessel entering the Bay of Gibraltar. The Mary Celeste had sailed from New York on November 7th, and was bound for Genoa; she had a cargo of 1701 barrels of Alcohol. On the Afternoon of December 5th, Captain Morehouse of the Dei Gratia came upon a Brigantine following a parallel course that he recognized as the Mary Celeste. He and the Master, Captain Briggs, were close friends and had dined together before setting sail. Morehouse was alarmed to see the Celeste Yawing irrationally, surprising as he knew Briggs to be a talented seaman. After 2 hours of attempted hails with no reply, Morehouse proceeded to board the out of control vessel.

The Celeste appeared sea worthy and seemed to have been abandoned with haste. All of the ship’s papers were missing with the exception of the Captain’s Log, with the last entry stating the ship had passed the Azores on November 25th. Stories arose of warm cups of tea, half eaten breakfast and still smoking pipes, these stories are most likely untrue but it was clear the vessel had been abandoned in a hurry, but there were no signs of violence or a struggle. A six-month supply of uncontaminated food and fresh water was still aboard, and the crew’s personal possessions and artifacts were left untouched, all the cargo was accounted for with the exception of 9 barrels being empty. There was water damage to the vessel which lead some to believe the Celeste was abandoned due to inclement weather, but this contradicts Briggs personality: he was described as a brave and courageous man who would only abandon ship if there was an imminent risk of loss of life. Morehouse sailed the Celeste into Gibraltar, arriving on December 13th.

A marine surveyor who was charged with investigating the mystery discovered what he believed to be a few spots of blood in the captain’s cabin, an “unclean” ornamental cutlass in Briggs’ cabin, a knife and a deep gash on a railing that he equated with a blunt object or an axe, but while he did not find such a weapon on board, he believed the damage was recent. He found no trace of any damage to the vessel and she was found seaworthy.

Many explanations were put forward for the events: Piracy, Insurance Fraud (Briggs and Morehouse colluded), murder by the crew of Dei Gratia, Sea quake or other phenomena, an explosion caused by the fumes from the cargo, Ergotism from contaminated flour causing the crew to become mad, mutiny and several paranormal explanations.

Over the next 13 years the Mary Celeste changed hands 17 times, with several tragic deaths. Her final Captain deliberately grounded her to make a false insurance claim. In 2001, the National Underwater and Maritime Agency claim to have found the wreck of the Mary Celeste, although skeptics claim that there are hundreds of similar wrecks in the area and cannot determine with any certainty the identity of the vessel.


Ourang Medan

Ghost Ships Ourang Medan-

In June, 1947, frantic Morse Code messages were received from the Dutch freighter Ourang Medan. The message was received by many ships and several responded. The message reported ‘All officers including captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.’ A second message was received shortly after, this time a voice over the radio simply stating ‘I die’. Dutch and British listening posts were able to triangulate the position and vector a rescue attempt to the Ourang Medan. After several hours the Silver Star the arrived on scene. After failed attempts to hail the vessel using whistle signals and flashing lights. they assembled a small team and boarded the apparently undamaged Ourang Medan. They first ventured to the bridge where a radio was playing, several members of the Ships’ Company, including the Captain, were found dead, more corpses were discovered on the Cargo Deck including a dog standing on all four legs, frozen and snarling into thin air.

No survivors were found on board, but what was most disturbing was the nature of the bodies, all frozen in place looking up towards the sun, their arms outstretched, mouths gaping, and a look of immense horror on all their faces. A trip to the communications room revealed the author of the SOS messages, also dead, his hand still on the Morse sending key, eyes wide open and teeth bared. Strangely, there was no sign of wounds or injuries on any of the bodies. The crew of the Silver Star attempted to enter the Cargo Bay but a small explosion from an unknown source soon resulted in an uncontrollable inferno. Beaten back, they were forced to abandon the vessel and return to the safety of the Silver Star. Within minutes the vessel sank to the depths of the ocean floor.

Although there are no clear records of a ship by the name Ourang Medan existing, many conspiracy theorists believe the vessel was acting under a false name and was transporting something that ‘officially’ did not exist.

The fate of the Ourang Medan and her crew remain a mystery. Speculation has been made that pirates killed the crew and sabotaged the ship, although this doesn’t explain the peculiar grimaces and lack of injuries on the corpses. Others have claimed that clouds of methane or other noxious natural gases could have bubbled up from fissures on the sea bed and engulfed the ship. Even more fantastical theories involving aliens and ghosts abound.

  • peeyaj

    What a great, spooky list! I love it.

  • Geronimo1618

    This list is damn awesome.

    • I agree

      • undaunted warrior 1

        Hi Jamie

        Through unforseen circumstances my e-majl address had to change, I can still post under my username, but cant log into WordPress and my avitar is not displayed anymore – is this permanent ?

        • oouchan

          Do you still have access to your old account? Meaning using your old email and password so you can update your profile with the new info?
          If not, you could email WordPress about reinstating you. That might work….otherwise, it's make a new account.

          • undaunted warrior 1

            Thanks for the info, my old email is still active for 20 days – my old password that could be a problem !

          • oouchan

            You can have a new one set up if you still have access to your old profile. Just request to have a new one, then from there change what you need to change. I had to do the same recently as well.

            If not, then new profile will need to be done.
            Good luck!

    • yellowfishy

      couldn't have said it any better

    • DanF


  • tlax

    The Frying Dutchman is in Springfield (the Simpsons), not Bikini Bottom (Spongebob Squarepants).

  • Friant

    It's stories like this that make me glad I live in a land-locked state. Very interesting though. I really want know what happened on the Ourang Medan.

    • Jan

      Nothing happened. There never existed a ship with such a name. It's a legend!

  • ListWhiz

    Excellent list :) The Mary Celeste and Ourang Medan really do make me curious. Does anyone think we will ever know the answers?

    • Jan

      Nothing happened. There never existed a ship with such a name as Ourang Medan. It's a legend!

    • Stephers

      I read about the Mary Celeste, that the "deep gash on a railing that he equated with a blunt object or an axe" was actually where a small balcony had been fitted in to overlook the water, and at one point a crew member dove into the water to have a bit of a swim, and he was attacked by sharks. The other nine ran onto the balcony to get a better look and their combined weight buckled the balcony, sending them all into the water. But really, who the hell knows!! :)

      • ..,,L,,..

        And the clouds above them parted and a voice billowed from the Heavens: "Oh Snap!"

    • Well, according to this site –… – The Mary Celeste was the site of an explosion that scared off the crew.

  • Broi

    Oh my days!
    Good list nice and spooky, just the way I like it.

  • Will Trame

    There has been endless debate and speculation over the Mary Celeste and the Ourang Medan. Even before starting to read this list, I knew that these two would appear, very near the top. Both are brain teasers, and I remember the Ourang Medan from the lesser known creepy mysteries list that was posted back in September. The other entries were just as intriguing. Good list.

  • jcs299

    An interesting list and well-written for the most part. All of the information is good, but there's some random/inconsistent capitalization which is distracting.

    Other than that a good read. Thanks!

  • jake

    hello i love your site have been reading it for most of 2010, anyway, if you are in fact in the navy! when might you find time to publish this web site? which leads to another question, during what hours are you finding this info!

  • vanowensbody

    Fantastic list. #9 and #4 are especially mysterious.

  • Arsnl

    Wasnt ourang medan a hoax or fictional story? I was left with that impression the last time people talked about it here.

    I mean very good points were made regarding the U2 song "staring at the sun". If it took "several hours" to get to the ship and the earth kinda tends to move in several hours so it would be impossible for the bodies to stare into the wild yella' yonder unless they knew when the boats were arriving and where the sun will be at that time.

    Ill just say its a made up story.

  • CooCooCuchoo

    its obvious that the Ourang Medan was carrying the Ark of the Covenant and the holy grail and part of a crashed alien spacecraft

    • Jan

      Exactly! Not to forget that its captain was the Incredible Snowman and it had disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle to reappear through a wardrobe on the coast of Atlantis.

      • guest

        Abominable Snowman.

      • YouRang?

        I don’t think so, Jan. That’s just a legend.

  • scottttocs

    excellent list. the one i dont get is the flying dutchman though because how did that specific story even get out? if all the crew and the captain were aboard and sailed the seas forever, who came up with the god-like story?

    • DanF

      I did think that when researching, but I don't think its based on too much historical fact. just folklore.

  • Jan

    Here we go again! The Ourang Medan never existed, there is no proof this story ever happened.

    • Sandos

      Jan we heard you the first 52 times. Give it a break

      • Natasha10005

        Seriously, it’s getting annoying Jan. Stop it.

    • DanF

      But then how did I get a picture of it!?


      • Becky65

        And not only that, but if the ship "never" existed, it would not have been on this list…because as we all know in every legend is a bit of truth.
        Perhaps the ship's name was not the "Ourang Medan", but something happened to a ship on that date and in that place, as there were rescuers and investigators that went on board the ship.
        I have heard about this ship my whole life…my uncles were in the area during and after WWII, and told the story at the family gatherings. Unfortunately, I can't remember if they actually used that name for the ship, but I assume so as it seems familiar to me.

        • IMMMMMM BACK

          Once again …… Who gives a shit?

          • Becky65

            Really? Are you cyber stalking me or something? What is your friggin' problem dude?

  • Name

    Interesting list. I love real-life stories with seemingly no logic explanation

  • Swapie

    Jan, you are such a party pooper . Let us believe in whatever, it adds spice to our boring lifes!

  • oouchan

    I absolutely LOVE stories like these! Mysterious and chilling. :)
    That last one was high on the creepy scale, though. Wouldn't want to see something like that. Bodies just staring out…creepy.
    Of course my favorite is The Flying Dutchman as I am a huge Spongebob fan. That was a nice inclusion.

    Great list.

  • OutOfBounds

    I’m dissatisfied, but not surprised that the ghost ship from Sir Lord Baltimore’s Kingdom Come isn’t on this list.

    Never mind that though. Very good list. This is a topic I’m quite interested in.

    Also, I have a deep respect for people who are fighting for their homeland. Although I’m Canadian, and there’s a good possibility you are not. I want to thank you.

  • Kez

    Makes me realise what small fish we are, a ship can sail the ocean for nearly 40 years without being seen. Just makes you wonder how big this planet really is!

  • timothyjames

    What a cool list. It didn't seem to sit well with "Jan" up there, but it seems everyone else liked it too.

    • DanF

      You can't please all off the people all of the time :)

      Thanks for the comment

  • Lifeschool

    Excellent list Dan!, well written, and capturing a certain spooky, salty, fishy atmosphere. Well done!

    • DanF

      Thankyou very much! I'm working on a new list 'Top 10 people the win the Victoria Cross' but may not submit it as i am worried people won't find it as interesting as i do :)

      • oouchan

        Please do so. I think it would be awesome! We could all stand to learn something new.

      • cambered

        Please do submit that list. I for one would be very interested.

      • Lifeschool


  • smileyface

    Creepy stories! Especially the Ourang Medan.

  • Great list! That Ourang Medan picture gives me the creeps

  • Gerrit

    Re the Mary Celeste:
    if the 9 barrels that were fond empty had started to spill their content ( I undertand this was raw alcohol, not rum or something alike ) the ship would get filled with highly flammable / explosive gas. Now imagine the crew knew this, and after the steering wheel had been set to remain on a fixed course, they got into a life boat attached with a long rope to the ship – where they wanted to wait till the fumes had vanished. Then the rope snapped….

    • DanF

      That is one of the theories surrounding the Mary Celeste :)

      • Gerrit

        Donkey's years ago I thought this out myself, but I'm not surprised * at all* that I'm not the first one to think of this quite obvious ( I think ) explanation.
        : )

  • RobFL

    i'll take my chances on land

  • Andrew

    Why can't I access the 2011 tab on the archives page?

    • oouchan

      It could be that it hasn't been fully set up as of yet considering this is just the second day. Will email Jamie on that.

  • br0ck

    the list is too damn long

    • ukdanf

      Sorry :(

    • Mr Ma

      No worries, Brock, just look at the pictures.


      Thats what she said!

    • Br0ck never seizes to amaze me.

  • georgecooper02

    What an amazing list,This might well go down as the list of the year,kudos DAN !

    • ukdanf

      Thanks, but I liked the Champagne one though

    • ukdanf

      Thanks, long year to go, my first list but I am going to submit some more

  • deeeziner

    Heere there be dragyns…………………….

    Small wonder sailors are so superstitious considering these mysteries. Thanks for the interesting and informative list DanF…. it shivers me timbers.

    And to you Jan…How do YOU KNOW that there is no Ourang Medan? If you cry foul so wholeheartedly do you have some secret inner knowledge of the event? Please share. Inquiring minds want to know………..

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    I thought this was going to be a dumb list about fictitious ships. Happily surprised!

    • ukdanf

      Im pretty sure some of them are (The Flying Dutchman) but i wanted a mix, the ones that are supposedly real are the more interesting to me. We once came across an Indian ship in the Arabian Sea that had been adrift for 6 weeks. they had no food left and no one knew they were there, God knows what would have happened to them if we hadn't found them, they might have been on the list. Thanks for the comment!

  • mylifeasjoe

    # 1 sounds like the crew got in front of an avada kedavra killing curse. Voldemort and his death eaters sure do get around.

  • ParusMajor

    Brilliant list! I knew about #6 and #2, but not in such detail. The rest of the stories are new to me, and really interesting, thank you DanF.

    • ukdanf

      No problem, glad you learnt something new, I enjoyed researching these ships, it seemed like everytime I found one to include on the list I found reference to 3 more. Took me a while to narrow down to 10

  • chris s

    good list…

    out of interest, what is the photo accompanying #5 – some green sprite in a lake?

  • allyb10

    I like lists with a bit of mystery! Or, in this case, a LOT of mystery. Not to be a buzz kill, but I like to think that there's a reasonable explanation for all of these, even if we haven't thought of one yet (although some of these are just plain creepy and a little hard to explain). After all, large things like ships don't tend to disappear into thin air.

    Hey, maybe someone out there DOES know a few secrets about one of these ships. :) Thanks for the good read!

  • mrjimmyos

    Wow, one of the best lists I've ever read, brilliantly fascinating!

  • Kevin

    Ourang Medan, one of Cthulhu's many victims…..

  • Dan

    I'm a firm believer that there are logical explanations for everything. In fact many historical events thought of as mysteries are often misreported in a 200-year version of the Telephone Game.

    I'd feel quite confident in saying all of these *could* be explained, but unfortunately the nature of the sea doesn't readily allow people to fetch aid and return to conduct a full and complete investigation. If you'll note, in most of these no logbooks were recovered or if they were, they were incomplete. In virtually none of the "abandoned ship" genre have they ever had time to stick around and fully investigate.

    Which is a shame, because I'm certain that the ultimate explanations would be fascinating, and might teach us a good bit about preventing accidents at sea.

    • ukdanf

      Dan, I am a skeptic too. When I was researching the list and I saw that logbooks and sextants were missing I was instantly inclined to believe they were taken on one of the lifeboats (probably still drifting in ocean currents, yet to be discovered). It is still strange that they would leave a ship unless it was pretty much under water. Even with GPS technology ships still go missing even to this day. look up the Kaz II (I originally included this, but as it was so recent I removed it out of respect).

  • john

    @Ourang Medan…

  • Hellcat

    Great list Dan! Creepy as hell… I have to try sleep now. That’ll teach me!

  • #3….Wouldn't that be every 100 years??

    • ukdanf

      When i said 50 years later I didnt include the date (1798), the next sighting was 1848. I didn't include the 1898 sighting. There was no reported sighting in 1998. I can see why that was confusing but after i said 50 years later…. the next sentance was a seperate event.

  • jer-jer

    Arrrrgh! A mighty good list!

  • The name Ourang Medan sounds like Indonesian to me..

    • ukdanf

      Ourang is Indonesian for 'man' and Medan is the largest city in Sumatra, transalted it means Man of Medan

      • ParusMajor

        Oh, is that where the word "ourang-outan" also comes from, then? From Indonesian language? I get it now.. "ourang"= man, "outan"= forest. Man from the jungle, or forest. I love linguistics :)

  • whitedragon777

    Awesome list!

  • trfan01

    Ooooh, this would have been a perfect list for Halloween.

    Cool list. :)

  • Aurora

    The story of the Baychimo is very unsettling; was there an X-Files around this theme? Good list, creepy n dark for this time of year. Going to light a fire now.

  • cambered

    Super stuff… what a list… thanks heaps!

    The Ourang Medan story would make an excellent horror/thriller on the big screen, would it not?

  • Meatball

    I live about an hour away from #5, I'll have to check it out this summer!

  • purityshannon

    hi jfrater u deleted my comment?

  • Amrendra

    DanF you are awesome. What a great list you have complied. i was so hooked to your article. This is how a list should be made. cheers!!!


    And they would've got a way with it, if it wasent for you meddling kids!

  • Bidzi

    Nice list….what a start of a new year….. carry on………….

  • chrom3d

    The "Frying" Dutchman is scary, imagine waking up in the morning and having a Dutchman frying your breakfast for you..

  • namewee

    I will be dead by 2048, too old :(

  • weegmc

    Unsolved mysteries, missing people, Bermuda triangle references and ghosts to boot. Great list.

  • Snorri

    The message sent from the Ourang Medan really creeps me out, and the whole story too of course

  • Top Kill

    Awesome list. I am doing research on the paranormal and this made my day even though i have encountered most of these ships in my studies and also here on listverse.

  • vcbecky

    Great list! I'm pleasantly surprised that the Flying Dutchman is not #1!

  • suffix

    My kind of list! Good job!

  • ryan

    What about the Mayflower? awesome list.

    Poker Training

  • Psyche

    I like the Octavius one…it could still be out there…sailing…crew aboard, but no one alive to hear the wooden parts creaking and groaning…creepy!

  • Shit, now I won't be able to sleep… XD

  • jagc1969

    Awesome list ! And I would like to know more of DanF´s real adventures too.

  • Jay Poe

    Just think, with all the new and advanced technology such as GPS and whatnot, we may never have a ghost ship again.

    • ukdanf

      Found a ship a few weeks ago that had lost power to its generators and had been drifting for weeks, was about to run out of food and water in a few days, no one knew it was there. Could have turned out pretty bad.

      Also look up Kaz II :)

  • roidedup

    Interesting list, but the Flying Dutchman should be nr.1.

  • violatorofsanity

    The ocean is big, really big – there's bound to be a few random things still floating around in it…or under it. #1 Sounds interesting but since it sunk not long after and it can't actually be verified as ever existing then it is most likely created by a combination of port and something other then tobacco in the captains pipe.

  • jlk

    Gaaahhhh!!! Why does NO ONE seem to know the difference between lead and led? The past tense of lead is not lead! It's led!!!! Can someone, somewhere please learn this?

    • Chris

      That is why Jimmy Page left the 'A' out of Led Zeppelin, because people are stupid.

      • Name2

        You mean Jimmy Pge? Yeh, Robert Plnt agreed.

  • Another Navy Guy

    In 1982 I was standing watch on a US Navy destroyer. About 3 a.m. on a clear night I was told to keep an eye out for a ship coming from dead ahead on a collision course. (They had a blip on the radar.) I was relieved from my post about ten minutes later. I told the other guy to look out for the on coming ship and went down to the bridge to stand my next post. By then the radar blip said that the on coming ship was only ten miles away. Still no sign. We had the two forward lookouts, the Con Officer, Quartermaster and a couple of other people looking for this ship, nobody saw anything. We changed course to avoid a collision. According to our radar the ship passed down our port (left) side at a distance of about 1000 yards. Still nobody saw anything. We kept going our way and this "ghost blip" kept going it own course.

    • ukdanf

      A vessel which detects by radar alone the presence of another vessel shall determine whether a close-quarters situation is developing and/or risk of collision exists. If so, she shall take avoiding action in ample time, provided that when such action consists of an alteration of course, so far as possible the following shall be avoided:

      (i) an alteration of course to port for a vessel forward of the beam, other than a vessel being overtaken; and

      (ii) an alteration of course towards a vessel abeam or abaft the beam

      By the way although I am British I work with US 5th Fleet Battle Watch. Good bunch of guys, i am having fun :)

  • Matt

    Mary Celeste isn't a mystery anymore, really.

    read for yourself…

    • ukdanf

      Its a theory, not proof. I have read that before though.

  • Human?

    AWESOME LIST. Definitely one of the best lists this site has seen. The creepiest thing is how the Morse code guy said "I die" on the Ourang Medan. I am very glad to see that your research was reliable-most people think that the Mary Celeste was in the Bermuda triangle. Also, good picture selection I especially like 1,3,and4. Please make some sort of follow up

  • Andy

    There was a recent one off the coast of Australia:

    • ukdanf

      yeah I originally include it on the list but removed it and added the Young Teazer. I took it off for 2 reasons. 1. I thought it was too recent so didnt want to include it out of respect and 2. The coroners report came up with an explanation, although I thought the events seemed much too specific to necessarily be true.

  • xt3h0m3g4x

    I suspect that the Ourang Medan met the fate of encountering the Flying Dutchman and his crew :O

  • bluesman87

    Cool list been to the place where the "Dutchman" was sighted (you dont use the word Dutchman here its a kind of slur thats what my Afrikaans teacher told me)

    Also i thought this list was about ghost shits – like when you have a really hot fart and it feels like you sharted and you run to the bathroom ………… and the shit has mysteriously disappeared -ghost shits wooooooo ooooo , dont wear it out .

  • Dean Luke

    I never heard bout the Ourang Medan spooky ship, you know actually I came from Medan, north sumatera, indonesia. The word Ourang(pronounce orang) Medan has the meaning the people of Medan. Probably some people had the evidence to prove this story. ==’

  • YouRang?

    I understand there was already a group with “Lead” in the title, and Page and Plant didn’t want to steal that. Songs are another matter…

  • Dude

    I knew the Orang Medan was going to be no.1.I always stumble upon that story late at night,and it always gives me creeps.

  • now if your interested into derelicts or ghost ships contact [email protected]


  • Herwandi

    Perhaps ?!!,Who Realy Exactly The Real Story.

  • Gentry

    I enjoyed this site alot. Where are you stationed? Former non issued army wife here! LOL. Thanks for keeping us safe Sailor! Great Info!

    • DanF

      I am British, I guess from the words you used you are a former US army wife? :)


    I beloved up to you’ll receive performed right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you would like be turning in the following. unwell indubitably come further formerly again since precisely the similar nearly a lot ceaselessly inside of case you defend this hike.

  • shosenikeugg


  • chinarens


  • denise

    what a great list to be able to go back in time by reading about these ships quite informative.

  • I buy the alcohol theory of the Mary Celeste and that the crew and passengers were lost in the boat they had boarded to vacate the ship.

  • nikeairmaxbb


  • Why There no Fetoitl

  • david

    the story of the octavius was featured in one of clive cusslers novels atlantis found in which a crew of a whaler discovers the conditions of a ship roughly 80 years old in the same details as written above

  • Preethi


  • Steve

    Hey really appreciate your list, this is great!