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8 Eerie Ocean-related Mysteries

by Estelle
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Just over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean. Thus far in 2020, humans have only explored around 5% of it. Imagine what may lie just beyond our reach: species of the deep we have yet to come across or a lost Megalodon from prehistoric times. Perhaps a long since vanished shipwreck thought to be gone forever, or the lost city of Atlantis. Maybe something dark and disturbing, who knows? While we wait for the experts to explore the unknown, below are some mysteries to ponder.

See Also: 10 Dark Mysteries Involving Strange Cults

8 19th Century Shipwreck

Photo credit: Newsweek

On 16 May 2019, researchers aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Okeanos Explorer were in the Gulf of Mexico when a remotely operated vehicle they were testing stumbled across what looked like a 200-year-old shipwreck.

Upon closer inspection, it was revealed the ship was built with wood that includes copper sheathing and would have been about 124 feet in length before it sank. At this point however, more questions than answers arose. Archaeologists still don’t know where the ship came from, exactly how old it is, what happened to the crew or even what type of vessel the ship was.

The only clue spotted at the time of discovery was the number 2109 on the rudder and iron and copper items scattered nearby. Burnt pieces of timber suggested that the ship may have caught fire before sinking. After the discovery was made public, Frank Cantelas from NOAA expressed hope that other expeditions would be undertaken to try and uncover the mysteries surrounding the shipwreck.[1]

7 Mysteries Of The Black Sea

Previously known as both the Inhospitable Sea and the Hospitable Sea, the Black Sea is a treasure trove of oddity and mystery. Like the Bermuda Triangle, the Black Sea is the centre of strange creature sightings, unexplained phenomena and bizarre disappearances. In 2000, Robert Ballard announced the discovery of evidence that people perished in a huge flood of the Black Sea. This discovery was linked to the story of the biblical flood as explained in the book of Genesis and naturally stirred up a whole lot of controversy.

In the Middle Ages, Turks and Russians reported seeing whirlpools in the Black Sea that swallowed up ships and islands. These whirlpools would apparently appear on calm waters without any kind of warning. This led to fishermen avoiding the area as they considered it to be cursed.

Five Soviet bombers disappeared over the Black Sea in December 1945, never to be seen again. In 1990 a Greek plane vanished as well. This gave rise to the theory that there may be a magnetic anomaly present that causes electrical malfunctions. It is said that in 1991, a Russian oil platform broke free from its moorings and drifted out to into the Black Sea. Investigations allegedly revealed that all 80 workers were missing. Their abandoned possessions and half-eaten meals were the only evidence that they were ever on the platform. [2]

6 Namse Bangdzod

Photo credit: The Jakarta Post

On 27 December 2018 the Namse Bangdzod, a 1,950-ton oil tanker with 11 crew and a captain onboard, set off towards Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta from Sampit, Central Kalimantan. Its arrival was expected the following day. However, on 28 December, all contact was lost with the vessel in Ujung Karawang waters. The last data input tracked by officials was on 3 January 2019.

The National Search and Rescue Agency, Basarnas, believed that the tanker may have been hijacked by pirates. The Navy disagreed, saying that the route travelled by the tanker was deemed to be very safe and there had been no ransom demand. The Navy also claimed that the ship had been recorded changing position several times, moving from Jakarta Bay to Sunda Kelapa Port, but was not found in either place.

Maritime expert, Oloan Saut Gurning, said that an accident was highly unlikely as no distress signal had been sent and he didn’t believe the tanker was adrift at sea as the Navy would have found it in that case. Basarnas was to continue searching the ocean for 4 days whereafter the police and Navy would take over the search. To date, the tanker remains missing.[3]

5 Death Island

Koh Tao is an idyllic island which lies on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Tao means “Turtle Island” and its coral reefs are inhabited by beautiful sea creatures including turtles. There is variety of accommodation options here catering for the budget conscious as well as those who want to spurge on luxuries. This place is a truly amazing holiday destination… on the surface at least.

Its beauty and luxury cover a dark and disturbing core of criminal activity. Shady rumors of body parts floating in shallow waters and the island being controlled by the local mafia were thrust into the spotlight after a series of unexplained deaths. People are now wary of travelling to Koh Tao, or ‘Death Island’ as it has been dubbed, and with good reason. In 2012, Ben Harrington died after his motorcycle hit an electricity pylon. He was the only one on the bike at the time and his wallet and watch were nowhere to be found after the accident. His mother believed he was the victim of a crime involving a trip wire, especially after the coroner was reluctant to state that the cause of death was “accidental.”

In September 2014 two backpackers, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, were found murdered on the same beach Ben Harrington had stayed before he died. It was revealed afterwards that Hannah had been raped before she was killed. Local police failed to secure the crime scene or monitor the island’s port. Instead they focused on grilling two Myanmar migrants who were eventually found guilty and handed the death sentence for the murders. However, officers allegedly failed to collect DNA samples and test the victims’ clothing. Two weeks after the murders, another body was found on the very same beach; 24-year old Luke Miller was found at the bottom of a swimming pool.

Then 23-year old Valentina Novozhyonova vanished from a Koh Tao hostel, never to be seen again. Six weeks later, the body of a young girl was discovered, but it was not Valentina. Instead it was the remains of Belgian tourist, Elise Dallemagne; her body had been burnt and wrapped in T-shirts.
Christina Marian Annesley, 23, was found dead in a Koh Tao bungalow in January 2015. Her remains were kept inside a temple for days before a post-mortem was done, leading to a UK coroner rejecting the Thai results due to incompetence.

All these unexplained deaths led to rumors of a serial killer family on the island, or involvement by the local mafia. Either way, there is yet to be any kind of closure for the families left distraught and devastated.[4]

4 A Shipwreck And A Curse

The HMS Wasp was built in 1880 for fishery purposes as well as lighthouse inspections. She also ferried bailiffs around who would carry out evictions at several locations. The Wasp was very popular in Derry and frequented the port here along with her sister ship HMS Valiant. On 21 September 1884 the Wasp was set to sail to Moville to collect bailiffs and other staff who were to carry out evictions on Innistrahull Island. The route was a well-travelled one, and spirits were high.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck soon after. At 3:45 am the Wasp struck the rocks at Tory Island. It sank within 30 minutes. 50 crew members lost their lives, with a mere 6 surviving the accident.

Afterwards, an account from one of the survivors indicated that as the Wasp neared Tory Island, she was going only by sail and her boilers were off. She was aimed to sail between the Tory light and the mainland instead of going around the island which would have been safer. Also, the survivor claimed that all the senior officers were fast asleep leaving junior crew members in charge.

Even so, most agreed that the accident was very strange, especially since the ship hit the rocks right below the lighthouse. The water was calm and the weather good. The Tory light shone brightly after the sinking, but opinions differ on whether the light was on during the time the Wasp approached the island. Some believe that the light was extinguished on purpose, to prevent the Wasp from bringing bailiffs to the island. Others claim that the Tory’s Cursing Stone had been unleashed upon the vessel, which ultimately led to the disaster. An Admiralty enquiry did not provide any clues as to what exactly went wrong and the sinking of the HMS Wasp remains shrouded in mystery.[5]

3 Mysterious Divers

Divers are not exempt from paranormal experiences while they are exploring the depths of the ocean. Not only have divers heard the sound of boat engines starting up while the ocean surface above them was clear of boats, but they have also heard strange grinding noises coming from the engine room of the Japan Hoki Maru ship that sank in Truk Lagoon in 1944.

In 2007, a group of divers were exploring the ocean surrounding Grenada. After tiring themselves out underwater, the group returned to their ship to go over each another’s notes of what they had seen below the ocean surface. One group member asked if his mates had seen another diver in a white shirt waving at their group. No one else had seen this mysterious diver and a head count was done to ensure no one was missing. Everyone was accounted for and there were no other boats or ships in the area. The group never found out who the diver in the white shirt was.

In 2012, scuba instructors were diving in Santa Rosa, California when they spotted an unknown diver with a pink tank diving and floating near a blue hole. They swam closer to check whether the diver was in trouble, but just before they could reach the hole, the diver disappeared. Shook up, the scuba instructors immediately notified the police who in turn told them that the figure at the blue hole has appeared to other divers as well before disappearing.[6]

2 Utsuro-Bune

A strange tale that has long since dissolved into folklore with several add-ons, is the one that tells of a strange boat that washed ashore in Japan on 22 February 1803. Fishermen who saw the boat, claimed that it was roundly shaped with top windows and strips of metal at the bottom. They boarded the vessel only to find a lone passenger sitting beside a wall that had been scrawled over with strange writing. The passenger, a young woman with red hair, held a box in her lap and couldn’t understand the language of the fishermen. She also refused to let go of the box.

The incident was given the name utsuro-bune/hollow ship and at the time the fishermen thought the woman may have been a princess who carried the head of her dead lover in the box she held so tightly. Not knowing what to do with her, they set the boat adrift at sea with the woman inside it. They had never seen glass windows and metal strips such as appeared on the boat, and therefore eventually arrived at the theory that the woman may have been an alien.

Others didn’t have any use for the alien theory, and instead believed that the red-headed woman was a spy from Russia. In modern times, experts are of the opinion that the boat may have been covered with a dome to improve its seaworthiness hence its rounded shape, but there has to date been no explanation or further theories on who the woman may have been, what she carried in the box and what the writing on the walls of the boat meant.[7]

1 Sea Monsters

Sea monsters in all shapes and sizes are the stuff of legends. It’s hard not to feel a little thrill at the mention of the Kraken or colossal squids or cannibal sharks. Stories of sea monster encounters have been around for hundreds of years. One of the more famous tales tell of G. H. Hight and a companion traveling to Madagascar in 1889 only to have villagers tell them of a huge green sea serpent that had attacked a fishing boat and ate one of its four occupants. It then chased the three survivors all the way onto the beach before disappearing back into the sea. Hight too witnessed the serpent after organizing a search party to look for the unfortunate fisherman that had been attacked by the monster. He and other men shot at it, but to no avail. Naturally there is no proof to back up this tale and the only account of it appeared in The Washington Herald in March 1909.

Another unsettling story saw the light in Fate Magazine in 1965. 16-year old Edward Brian McCleary set off on a day out at sea in the Gulf of Mexico with four friends in 1962: Warren Felly, Eric Ruyle, Larry Bill and Brad Rice. McCleary returned home alone, exhausted and terrified. He proceeded to tell police that a sea monster/dragon had appeared in the water and proceeded to attack and kill his friends. He described the monster as having a neck that was 12 feet long, green scales and an elongated head that resembled that of a turtle.

McCleary refuted claims that he had mistaken a submarine for a terrible sea beast, and he went on to say that news outlets refused to publish his story unless he omitted the story of the sea monster. Larry Bill’s body was allegedly found (he had drowned) but the other three boys never were. Naturally very few believed the story of a sea creature coming up from the depths to attack teenagers. It remains a mystery what exactly happened that fateful day.[8]

fact checked by Jamie Frater

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.