Graveyard Shift The 14 Most Unbelievably Tragic Shipwrecks In History  

Isadora Teich
2.2k votes 589 voters 42k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the old shipwrecks you totally want to check out.

Creepy shipwrecks are some of the scariest abandoned places in the ocean, especially those shipwrecks that end in cannibalism, and there are too many of them to count. Treacherous weather, tricky geographic features, sheer bad luck, human error, there are a million things that can go wrong at sea. And if these shipwrecks are anything to go by, they often do. 

These old shipwrecks were discovered around the world, and they're as diverse as they come. From old whaling ships still floating in Antarctic waters, to ships that were found by accident buried in sand, many of these old ghost ships have a tale or three tell. In some, you can even glimpse the life that was left behind from the passengers who died, and others are filled with precious historical artifacts. 

From doomed Russian battle cruisers to the shipwreck that began the settlement of Bermuda, there is a whole world of mysterious, tragic, compelling, and sometimes beautiful shipwrecks out there. There may even be an underwater graveyard going back decades or centuries in your own back yard. Take a look at this global sampling of shipwrecks to see if there are any ghost ships in your neighborhood.  

1 178 VOTES
The Méduse
The Méduse is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 14 Most Unbelievably Tragic Shipwrecks In History
Photo: Jean-Jérôme Baugean/via Wikimedia Commons

The Méduse (Medusa, in English) was a French Navy frigate that was tasked with carrying a group of French officials to their colony in Senegal in 1816. The inexperienced captain ran the ship aground on a shallow bank, wrecking the ship. All 400 people onboard abandoned ship, including 151 who set sail on a hastily constructed raft. Their harrowing journey in the open ocean, including madness, suicide, and cannibalism, became the ghastly stuff of legend. When the raft members were finally rescued two weeks later, only 15 of the original 151 men were still alive.

In 1980, the wreck was discovered by French marine archaeologists off the coast of Mauritania and some of its artifacts were recovered and brought back to a museum.

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The Hydrus
The Hydrus is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 14 Most Unbelievably Tragic Shipwrecks In History
Photo: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

In 2015 divers discovered the Hydrus in Lake Huron, a ship that had been lost since the Great Storm of 1913. The Hydrus, a 436-foot steam ship, was overturned by a blizzard while carrying a large load of iron ore, dragging it's entire crew to their deaths along with it. During this storm, over 250 sailors died in Lake Huron. The Great Lakes have been home to more than 6,000 shipwrecks. 

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The Mary Celeste
The Mary Celeste is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 14 Most Unbelievably Tragic Shipwrecks In History
Photo: Public Domain/via Wikimedia Commons

On November 7, 1872, Captain Benjamin Briggs set sail on the Mary Celeste from New York to Genoa, Italy, with his wife and infant daughter, as well as a cargo of 1,701 barrels of denatured alcohol. On December 5, 1872, the ship was discovered entirely abandoned and empty, floating adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The cargo was all intact, and all the captain and crew's personal belongings were totally untouched, though a lifeboat was missing. Everyone on board had simply disappeared. Over the years, theories have ranged from mutiny to submarine earthquakes to attack by a giant squid - and of course, aliens - but the mystery has never been solved.

In 1885, the ship's new captain intentionally wrecked the Mary Celeste as part of an insurance scam.

In August 2001, remains of a ship matching the description of the Mary Celeste were found, but further investigation suggested it might not be the same ship after all.

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The HMS Terror
The HMS Terror is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 14 Most Unbelievably Tragic Shipwrecks In History
Photo: George Black/Wikimedia Commons

In the fall of 2016, scientists found an old British explorer ship, the HMS Terror, that had been missing for nearly 170 years. The ship, which set off in 1845 to find a shortcut to Asia through the arctic with another ship, the HMS Erebus, was found perfectly preserved. Neither ship reached its destination, and the crews of both ships, 129 men all told, died. The ship was also found, rather coincidentally, in Terror Bay. 

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