Antarctica is touted as one of the most haunted places in the world. Sure, this is based on the number of ghosts per capita, but with a population fluctuating between around 1,100 brave folks in the winter to 4,400 during the summer, there is said to be roughly one perturbed spirit for every nine people that inhabit the desolate continent.
The spirits of explorers, scientists, and tourists are believed to wander the icy wasteland and the abandoned buildings they once inhabited during their lifetimes. Whether by plane crash or exposure to the extreme temperatures, many have involuntarily included themselves among the Antarctic ghosts.
The schooner Jenny left port in 1823 and was never seen again until a whaling ship made a horrifying discovery years later. Apparently, the Jenny had become trapped in the ice and the entire boat was frozen. Crew from the whaling ship noticed people on Jenny's deck, but when they boarded, they realized the people had been frozen solid and perfectly preserved. According to the legend, they discovered a journal entry written by Jenny's captain. His last entry is nothing short of chilling:
"May 4, 1823. No food for 71 days. I am the only one left alive."
Jenny was left to sail on as a ghost ship.
In the early 1900s, the race was on to be the first to reach the geographic South Pole. In 1911, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his team set out on the Terra Nova Expedition and set up camp at the edge of the Great Ice Barrier. While some men stayed behind with supplies and shelter, the rest of the team ventured onwards.
The expedition did not go completely as planned; a rival reached the pole about a month before his team. In 1912, Scott and four other men he had selected to join him on the expedition perished on their way back to the hut. Frostbite, gangrene, and starvation plucked them off one by one. On March 29, 1912, Scott recorded his final journal entry:
Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more. R. Scott. Last entry. For God's sake look after our people.
Scott's hut still stands, and people who have visited said they felt uneasy and uncomfortable. Voices and footsteps have been heard, and some people felt like they were being watched. There is also a cross placed close to the hut in memory of a member of the Scott expedition who passed.
Sir Edmund Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who climbed Mount Everest with Sherpa Norgay Tenzing. In May 1953, they became the first known people to reach the summit.
Seeking an even more extreme exploration, Hillary reached Antarctica five years later and found himself at explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's abandoned hut. Shackleton passed in 1922.
In the hut, Hillary believed he saw Shackleton's ghost:
I'm not a person who really sees things very much but when I opened the door I distinctly saw Shackleton walking towards me and welcoming me.
Antarctica became a frequent tourist destination in the 1970s. Tourists booked day-trip flights from New Zealand and enjoyed a leisurely, aerial view of the harsh, icy continent. One such trip turned fatal due to low visibility and pilot error. The plane crashed into the side of Mount Erebus at 300 mph, and the impact instantly killed all 257 passengers.
Apparently, the corpses were stored at McMurdo Station, an American base on Antarctica's Ross Island, and many visitors to the site believe the ghosts of the people are still hanging around. Visitors claim to hear voices, see short trails of unexplained footprints, and feel strange presences.
One McMurdo Station worker remembers:
As soon as I entered, something was weird... I took a couple of steps in (and) the hair on the top of my head stood on end - footsteps upstairs; undeniably footsteps. A slow cadence of footsteps. I froze. It went from the back of the building to the front.