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This section contains articles on phenomena or versions that may be interesting or useful to researchers of the unexplained facts in one way or another.

Ghost Ships

Added Tue, 18/04/2017
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Many myths and legends are associated with anomalous phenomena in water spaces. Since man began to move on the water, many mystical stories have appeared. The most famous of them are associated with ghost ships - sea vessels that are afloat, but do not have a crew, or all its members are dead.

The reason for the appearance of legends about ghost ships lies primarily in the superstition of sailors. These people spend many months among the boundless expanses of water, abandoned to the elements, and their profession has long been considered one of the most superstitious. Since ancient times, during storms, sailors prayed for salvation to all the gods and otherworldly forces known to them.

After all, because of the superstition of the sailors, a mystical story about the "Flying Golandets" appeared - a ghost ship that cannot land on the shore and is doomed to surf the seas forever. It is believed that the captain, the crew and the ship itself are cursed. There are quite a lot of versions of the legend that explains this state of affairs: the captain sold his soul to the devil in order to get to the right place or survive a storm, the ship did not come to the rescue of a ship in distress, for which he was cursed by his crew, etc. Regardless of the reason for the wandering of the "Flying Dutchman" across the sea, his description practically does not change from legend to legend. As a rule, it is observed only from afar, sometimes surrounded by a glowing halo.

It is not surprising that when something unusual really happened, sailors often attributed it to the action of otherworldly forces.

The legends about ghost ships are based primarily on visual observations. Sailors often see ships in the sky or at some distance from the surface of the water. A very unusual encounter is with a ship surrounded by a bluish halo. There are stories in which such a "ghost" ship not only appears in the distance, but also goes to ram. In addition, sometimes ships are found completely empty, without a team, abandoned, as if in a panic, as well as ships whose entire crew is dead.

The most famous ghost ships, whose names have become common names, are the "Flying Dutchman" and "Maria Celeste" already mentioned above.

"Maria Celeste" or "Maria Celeste" is a ship abandoned by the crew for an unknown reason and discovered on December 4, 1872, 400 miles from Gibraltar by the ship "Dei Gratia" (Dei Gratia).

In total, there are several hundred documented cases of encounters with ghost ships, not counting the many legends transmitted orally.

In 1902, the German four-masted barque "Freya", which left the Mexican port of Manzanillo on October 3, was discovered 17 days later half-submerged with a strong list to port. Despite the fact that no storms were observed off the western coast of Mexico at that time, the masts of the Freya's masts were broken. There was no crew on board. The reasons for his disappearance remained unclear.

On January 31, 1921, the five-masted schooner Carroll A. Deering was spotted by the lighthouse keeper of Cape Hatteras on the outer edge of Diamond Shoals Shoal. All the sails of the schooner were removed, there was no one on board except the ship's cat. The cargo, food supplies and personal belongings of the crew members were intact; but the lifeboats, chronometer, sextants and logbook were missing. The steering was disabled, and the ship's compass and part of the navigation instruments were broken. The reasons for the disappearance of the team (9 people) and the captain could not be found out.

In 1933, a well-preserved empty lifeboat of the passenger steamer SS Valencia was found, which sank back in 1906.

In February 1953, the cargo ship "Holchu" with a cargo of rice was discovered by the sailors of the English ship "Reni". The ship was damaged by the elements, but the lifeboats were in their places. There was a full supply of fuel and water on board. Five crew members disappeared without a trace.

In 2003, the vessel "High Aim 6" was found without a crew. Five days before the discovery, the vessel was seen with its engines running, and it was found with completely empty tanks.

The tanker "Jian Seng" washed ashore in Australia in 2006. Despite a thorough search, even the owner of the mysterious vessel was not found.

In the same year 2006, a small vessel "Bel Amica" was discovered. Remnants of food, clothing, a map and the flag of Luxembourg were found on board. It was even possible to find the owner of the ship, it turned out to be a certain Frank Ruaru, but he refused to tell why his ship was off the coast of Italy.

In 2007, the catamaran "Kaz II" was discovered. The engine of the small vessel was running, and there was a laptop in the cabin. The people from the catamaran were never found.

Let's figure out what could be the true reasons for the appearance of these and other similar ghost ships.

The reason for the sailors' observations of ghost ships that sailed in the sky or suddenly disappeared, first of all, of course, are mirages. Complex mirage phenomena with a sharp distortion of the appearance of objects are called "fata morgana". They occur when several alternating layers of air of different densities are formed in the lower layers of the atmosphere (usually due to temperature differences), capable of giving mirror reflections. As a result of such reflections, real objects give several distorted images on the horizon or above it, partially overlapping each other and rapidly changing over time.

The mirage of long-range vision appears when the earth's surface heats the air masses, after which they go up and cool down. If there is a warmer layer above the layer of cold air masses for one reason or another (for example, winds from the south brought it here) and at the same time a very thin layer, and the temperature difference is large enough, then refraction will occur. Light rays that are reflected from objects that are located on the earth's surface will make an arc and go back down, but no longer to their direct source, but tens and sometimes hundreds of kilometers away from it.

These phenomena allow us to explain the ships floating in the sky, periodically observed by sailors and mistaken for ghost ships.

But what is the reason for the appearance and independent movement of really detectable abandoned sea vessels?

The reason for the drift of ships, of course, is the sea currents - constant or periodic flows of water that exist in the thickness of the world ocean. In the oceans and seas, huge streams of water with a width of tens and hundreds of kilometers and a depth of several hundred meters move in certain directions over distances of thousands of kilometers. These flows are capable of carrying huge ships without a crew on board, which explains the appearance of "ghost ships" in different parts of the world ocean. Underwater currents are capable of carrying wrecks of sunken ships, not allowing them to be found in places of flooding, which also gives rise to rumors about various anomalies.

Map of the currents of the world ocean in 1943

The cause of death of the crew may be a pirate attack, mass poisoning or epidemics. For example, in the period from the 16th to the 18th century there were quite a lot of "plague ships". At that time, the sanitary condition of ships was extremely low, epidemics raged on board many of them. The British Admiralty introduced harsh laws against "plague ships", and since 1701, no ship could enter an English port without quarantine. If, after a special inspection, it turned out that there was a plague on the ship, the captain had to immediately go to the open sea. So the entire crew of the ship could die of the plague, and the ship continued to drift with the current.

It is also believed that the appearance of ghost ships can be caused by various rare natural phenomena, such as stray waves or infrasound. Wandering waves, or "killer waves" are single waves 20-30 meters high (and sometimes more) that periodically occur in the ocean. The hull of a ship that has encountered such a wave may not withstand the enormous pressure of the water that has fallen on it, and the ship will sink in a matter of minutes. Infrasound can also affect the mental state of the ship's crew, lead to hallucinations, a depressed state, a sense of panic and, ultimately, to an emergency evacuation from the ship.

There is also a category of cases where the appearance of the legend of the ghost ship was facilitated by a confluence of circumstances:

In 1929, the schooner "A. Ernest Mills" sank in North Carolina in front of the evacuated crew. But soon she began to be noticed floating in those waters. It turned out that the ship was carrying salt. After sinking, the cargo began to come into contact with water and gradually dissolve. When he emptied the hold, the schooner surfaced again.

The situation with the vessels "Rumni" and "Frigorific" is no less well known. The coal miner "Rumni" accidentally crashed into the vessel "Frigorific". It began to list threateningly to starboard. The captain ordered the boat to be lowered, and all eleven of the crew quickly descended into it. The culprit of the misfortune, the English collier Rumney, drifted and soon picked up the sailors in distress. By the time the French boarded, the Frigorific had disappeared into the fog. The Rumney moved slowly forward. Two miles later, the captain of the coal miner saw that none other than the refrigerator truck he had just sunk was moving towards him out of the fog. There was a collision. To the sailors, what happened seemed mystical: the sunken ship decided to take revenge. However, the explanation turned out to be quite simple: it turns out that before the collision, the helmsman secured the steering wheel and in the confusion did not notice that it was jammed. The ship left by the crew could only move in a circle. The Rumney was moving forward at a low speed, and the Frigorific was moving in an arc, and its course inevitably intersected with the course of the coal miner. And if after the first collision, the water did not get into the engine room, as it turned out, then after the "revenge" it began to flow inside the French vessel, and the sailors who revealed its secret had to urgently leave the "avenger", which after a few minutes lay on board and disappeared into the waves.…

Thus, logical explanations have already been found for most of the known cases of ghost ships sightings. Nevertheless, based on the large number of continuing reports of new cases of collisions with them, the belief in the supernatural among sailors does not fade.


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