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Creepiest Ghost Stories From The Sea

Updated February 4, 2020 16.5k votes 3.2k voters 225.1k views13 items

List RulesVote up the scary tales that make you afraid you'll see ghosts the next time you're sailing the high seas.

If you've ever stepped foot around a campfire, you've probably heard your fair share of ghost stories. Maybe it was about a headless man in the woods or the ghost of a child long lost. But are you familiar with the tales of ghost ships? Ghost stories that take place on the sea? Sure, we've all heard about Bermuda Triangle stories, but there are plenty of other terrifying tales that take place on the open ocean. Prepare to be spooked while reading through some of the scariest ghost ship ghost stories from around the internet.

  • 1

    The Ourang Medan

    The legend of the Ourang Medan may be one of the creepiest maritime ghost stories ever told. It goes as follows: sometime in the 1940s, ships near the Strait of Malacca received a signal from a Dutch cargo ship, the SS Ourang Medan, in distress. When the rescuers boarded the ship to save the crew, they made quite a grisly discovery. The entire crew had perished, without any signs of foul play.

    It is said that terror was frozen on their faces, they laid all throughout the ship, and many had their arms reaching out for help. Before an investigation could get underway, the ship burst into flames, burning any evidence which may have helped solve the mystery of the Ourang Medan.

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  • 2

    The Octavius

    Legend has it that the Octavius traveled from England to the Orient in 1761 and made it there the following year. However, on the trip back home - while traveling through the Northwest Passage - it became lodged in ice, and its crew members perished.

    The Octavius was found drifting off the coast of Greenland by a whaler in 1775. The crew members were still below board, frozen more than a decade after their disappearance.


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  • 3

    The Mary Celeste

    In 1872, after just one month at sea en route from New York to Italy, the Mary Celeste was discovered sailing aimlessly near Portugal. Curious, the discoverers boarded the ship, only to find the lone lifeboat was gone and the 10-person crew was nowhere to be found.  

    Piracy and mutiny were ruled out - there weren't any signs of foul play aboard the ship, and the crew's belongings were left untouched.

    Over the years, people have both theorized that the crew abandoned ship, or that the Mary Celeste succumbed to the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. Either way, legend has it that every time the ship changed hands, bad luck seemed to follow. In the end, the boat was purposefully destroyed by its owner.

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  • 4

    The HMS Eurydice

    Photo: Illustrated London News / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    On March 1878, en route to Portsmouth from Bermuda and the West Indies, the naval ship HMS Eurydice was caught in an unbelievable snow storm off the coast of The Isle of Wight. The ship capsized and sank, taking the lives of all but two of the 281 crew members. A young Winston Churchill bore witness to the event. 

    Since capsizing, many reports have been made of having seen the ship afloat just where it is said to have sunk. Some of these reports have even been made by reputable sources, like Prince Edward, who claimed to have seen the ship sail off into the mist while filming a documentary more than 100 years later.

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