Probably the most famous Ghost Ship, The Flying Dutchman has been popularized by ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ and for the big kids amongst you ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ (The Frying Dutchman). But what many people will not know is that ‘The Flying Dutchman’ refers to the Captain of the vessel, and not the vessel itself.
Several Spectral ships around the World are known as ‘The Flying Dutchman’ but I am going to refer to the original, located off the Cape of Good Hope. Here is the embellished tale:
“The Captain of the vessel, Hendrick Van Der Decken, was voyaging around the Cape of Good Hope with a final destination of Amsterdam. He swore to Round the Cape if it took him ’til Doomsday’. With a terrible storm abound, Van Der Decken refused to turn the ship around despite the pleas of the crew. Monstrous waves pummeled the vessel while the captain sang obscene songs, drank beer and smoked his pipe. Finally, with no options remaining, several of the crew mutinied. The Captain, aroused from his drunken stupor shot dead the lead mutineer and threw his body overboard, above him the clouds parted and a voice billowed from the Heavens.
‘You’re a very Stubborn Man’, to which the Captain replied ‘ I never asked for a peaceful voyage, I never asked for anything, so clear off before I shoot you too’ Van Der Decken made aim to fire into the sky but the pistol exploded in his hand.
‘you are condemned to sail the oceans for eternity, with a ghostly crew of dead men. Bringing death to all who sight your spectral ship, and to never make port or know a moments peace. Furthermore, gall shall be your drink, and red hot iron your meat’”
There have been many sightings of The Flying Dutchman, often by reputable and experienced seamen, including Prince George of Wales and his brother, Prince Albert Victor of Wales,
According to Admiral Karl Doenitz, U Boat crews logged sightings of The Flying Dutchman off the Cape Peninsula. For most or all of these crews, it proved to be a terrible omen. The ghostly East Indiaman was also seen at Muizenberg, in 1939. On a calm day in 1941, a crowd at Glencairn beach saw a ship with wind-filled sails, but it vanished just as it was about to crash onto the rocks.
The Utah Lake Monster
Utah Lake, a 150 square mile body of water in north-central Utah, has a rich tradition of monsters and other unnatural creatures living in its depths. The Ute Indians told legends about evil dwarfs living in the waters of the lake. The Indians called these dwarfs "water babies" because they made sounds like crying babies that lured mortals into the water where they drowned. The Ute also told of a "Water Indian" who would drag unlucky braves to their deaths. They also told of a creature so large it was able to swallow a man whole.
Reports from white settlers to the area soon seemed to confirm the tales of the enormous creature, at least. The first reported sighting occurred in 1864, when Utah settler Isaac Fox saw a 30 foot long reptile near the lake's north shore. According to Fox, the beast chased him to shore, then swam back to join another monster in the water. Later that same year, a visitor to Utah Lake named Henry Walker claimed he saw what looked like a large snake with the head of a greyhound.
Over the following years, several more sightings occurred. In 1866, for instance, two men claimed they saw a large yellow creature with black spots and a red forked tongue.
In 1870, fishermen found the skull of a large creature with a five inch tusk. Whether it was genuine or a hoax will never be determined, since no one is sure whatever became of this important piece of physical evidence.
Two boys claimed to see the beast in 1880. According to their story, they saw a creature approaching from the middle of the lake. They thought it was a dog or a beaver, and paid no attention to it -- until it got closer and they saw how huge it was. They claimed it roared like a lion, opening its three-foot-long alligator-like jaws and lifted itself part way out of the water. The thing had four legs, each about a yard long. The boys screamed and ran away.
As long as these tales have been told, skeptics of the Utah Lake Monster have been plentiful. Scoffers suggested that the witnesses were seeing nothing but floating logs or swimming birds and letting their imaginations run wild. Some historians believe that the lake monster tale was the settlers' way of adapting the original Indian myths.
In any case, by the mid-1880s, reports of the Utah Lake Monster ceased. Some theorize that the whole thing was a hoax from the beginning, and that lake monster hoaxes had simply fallen out of fashion.
Utah Lake State Park 4440 West Center St. Provo, Utah 84601