ParaPedia - Encylopedia of the Paranormal, Bizarre, Mysterious, & the Unexplained


The Flying Dutchman

Definition: The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. The myth is likely to have originated from 17th-century nautical folklore. The oldest extant version dates to the late 18th century. Sightings in the 19th and 20th centuries reported the ship to be glowing with ghostly light. If hailed by another ship, the crew of the Flying Dutchman will try to send messages to land, or to people long dead. In ocean lore, the sight of this phantom ship is a portent of doom.


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.


Ghost Ships


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| Mary Celeste | Carrol A. Deering | Baychimo | Eliza Battle | MV Joyita | Young Teazer | Octavius | Lady Lovibond | Ourang Medan | Bel Amica | High Aim 6 | Jian Seng | Kaz II | Zebrina | Schooner Jenny | Valencia | The Queen Mary | Flaming Ship of Ocracoke | Great Eastern | Watertown | U.S.S. Hornet | U.S.S. Constellation | Wreck of the Titan |


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