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The Flying Dutchman

The legend of the Flying Dutchman is likely to have originated from the 17th-century golden age of the VOC

 

A phantom ligendary cursed ghost ship! Or real to some people. It seems that some years since a Dutch man-of-war was lost off the Cape of Good Hope, where every soul on board perished; her consort weathered the gale, and arrived soon after at the Cape. Having refitted, and returning to Europe, they were assailed by a violent tempest nearly in the same latitude. In the night watch some of the people saw, or imagined they saw, a vessel standing for them under a press of sail, as though she would run them down: one in particular affirmed it was the ship that had foundered in the former gale, and that it must certainly be her, or the apparition of her; but on its clearing up, the object, a dark thick cloud, disappeared.

 

The Flying Dutchman

 

The Flying Dutchman is a phantom legendary ghost ship that was doomed to travel around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa for all eternity. It was made famous in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.

 

The legend of The Flying Dutchman started in 1641 when a Dutch ship sank off the coast of the Cape of Good Hope. The captain, VanderDecken, failed to notice the dark clouds looming and only when he heard the lookout scream out in terror did he realise that they had sailed straight into a fierce storm.

 

The captain and his crew battled for hours to get out of the storm and at one stage it looked like they would make it. Then they heard a sickening crunch - the ship had hit treacherous rocks and began to sink. As the ship plunged downwards, Captain VanderDecken knew that death was approaching. He was not ready to die and screamed out a curse: 'I WILL round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until the end of time!" So, even today whenever a storm brews off the Cape of Good Hope, if you look into the eye of the storm, you will be able to see the ship and its captain - The Flying Dutchman. The legend goes that whoever sees the ship will die a terrible death.

 

Many people have claimed to have seen The Flying Dutchman, including the crew of a German submarine boat during World War II.

 

On 11 July 1881, the Royal Navy ship, the Bacchante, was rounding the tip of Africa when they were confronted with the sight of The Flying Dutchman. The midshipman, a prince who later became King George V, recorded that the lookout man and the officer of the watch had seen The Flying Dutchman and he used these words to describe the ship:

 

"A strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the mast, spars and sails of a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief."

 

It's pity that the lookout saw the Flying Dutchman, for soon after on the same trip, he accidentally fell from a mast and died. Fortunately for the English royal family, the young midshipman survived the curse to become The King of England!

 

The Flying Dutchman appeared as the ghost ship in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s also featured in the novel "Castaways of the Flying Dutchman" by Brian Jacques.

 

The Flying Dutchman has been captured in paintings by Albert Ryder, now in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., and by Howard Pyle, whose painting of the Flying Dutchman is on exhibit at the Delaware Art Museum.