Check out the most mysterious abandoned ships! From haunted ghost ships to mysterious boats lost at sea, this list of mysterious ship wrecks is still unexplained to this day!
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10. The Ourang Medan
In 1947 (or, 1948, according to some accounts), a disturbing distress call was picked up by two American ships at British, and Dutch listening posts in the Strait of Malacca. The message said, “All officers including captain are lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew.” This was followed by a burst of indecipherable Morse code, then a final, grim message
The men at the listening posts triangulated the message and determined it came from a Dutch freighter vessel called the Ourang Medan. A conscripted American vessel named the Silver Star was dispatched on a rescue mission.
The rescuers entered a living nightmare. After hailing the Ourang Medan and receiving no reply, they boarded the vessel. Corpses littered the decks, all of them with the same terrified expression and their arms reaching out as if grappling with an unseen assailant. Even the ship’s dog was, its mouth curled in a snarl.
As they investigated, finding even more corpses in the boiler room, the rescuers made a strange observation. Despite it being over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the air in the lowest part of the hold was extremely cold. None of the sailors could explain the phenomenon. They also couldn’t find any damage done to the ship itself.
The crew of the Silver Star decided to tow the Ourang Medan back to port. However, as soon as they finished fastening the tow line, they saw smoke boiling up from the lower decks, specifically from the Number 4 hold. The boarding party barely had time to cut the tow line and return to the Silver Star before an explosion ripped through the vessel. The explosion was so strong, it actually lifted the ship out of the water before it disappeared below the waters of the Strait of Malacca.
One theory as to what happened on the Ourang Medan is that it carried some form of nerve gas that escaped, everyone and causing the explosion. It doesn’t account for the strange cold down below, however. At any rate, we will probably never know for sure what happened.
9. The Carroll A. Deering
In August 1920, the Carroll A. Deering set sail from Norfolk, Virginia with an experienced captain and a crew of 10 men bound for Rio de Janeiro with a cargo of coal. Its original captain, William H. Merritt, fell ill shortly after departure and was replaced by Captain W. B. Wormell. Despite this sudden change, the ship delivered its cargo on schedule and set sail to return in December. So far so good!
Captain Jacobson aboard the Cape Lookout Lightship in North Carolina sighted the vessel bound for its home port on January 29, 1921. The Carroll A. Deering hailed the lightship and reported that the ship had lost its anchors. Captain Jacobson took note, but couldn’t report it because his radio was out. He later described the crew of the Carroll A. Deering "milling around" suspiciously on the fore deck of the ship.
Two days later, the schooner was seen stuck on Diamond Shoals, a treacherous stretch of water. Rough waters kept anyone from reaching the wreck until February 4, when rescuers discovered the Carroll A. Deering to be abandoned. Two lifeboats, personal belongings, key navigational equipment, some papers, and the ship’s anchors were also missing. Despite an investigation by the fledgling FBI, no trace of the crew or the ship’s logs were ever recovered.
8. The Octavius
In 1761, a ship named The Octavius departed London loaded with cargo bound for China. It reached its destination and took on another load for the return trip. By then, it was 1762. The captain decided to take advantage of unusually warm weather and risk an attempt through the Northwest Passage. Even though no one had been able to navigate it successfully yet. No one saw the Octavius for thirteen years and people assumed it succumbed to the Arctic.
On October 11, 1775 the whaling ship The Herald, while working in waters west of Greenland, spotted a ship drifting along. They boarded her only to find the entire crew below decks frozen solid. The captain sat at his desk in his cabin, frozen stiff with pen in hand apparently in the middle of a log entry.
The ship was The Octavius. According to the last log entry, dated 1762, the captain’s chance at conquering the Northwest Passage had failed and the ship was locked in ice.
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