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Ghosts & Hauntings

Six haunting tales of ghost ships throughout history

Owen Jarus livescience

Ghost ships have long sparked fascination and fear, from mariners and non mariners alike. These spooky vessels run the gamut from phantom ships that appear as eerie apparitions to real-life abandoned wrecks to those craft that disappeared mysteriously with no survivors, such as the HMS Erebus that was lost in the Canadian Arctic in 1845. Here’s a look at some of the most haunted ships throughout history.

El Caleuche

El Caleuche is a ghost ship said to sail the waters off the coast of Chile. “El Caleuche always sails at night and appears suddenly through the fog or mist, brightly lit,” writes author Ann Bingham in her book “South and Meso-American Mythology A to Z” (Chelsea House, 2010). The ship “guards the waters and punishes those who bring hardship to the sea or the creatures that live in it.”

The ship’s crew is said to consist of dead, shipwrecked, sailors along with witches. The witches are said to leave the ship by riding a seahorse named Caballo Marino Bingham added. Apparently the witches and shipwrecked sailors are a happy crew. “On calm nights, it is said, music and laughter can often be heard coming from the ship,” Bingham writes.

© Parks Canada
HMS Erebus and Terror

HMS Erebus and Terror

On May 19, 1845, two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, departed England and set sail for the Canadian Arctic. Their goal was to travel through the treacherous waters of the Northwest Passage that separated the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Led by Sir John Franklin, the ships were to collect samples and conduct scientific studies along the way. Out of the 134 officers and men on the expedition, not a single one ever returned.

Messages later discovered by a rescue mission indicate the ships became trapped in ice off of King William Island in the Canadian Arctic. Franklin died on June 11, 1847, and the ships were abandoned on April 22, 1848. The initial survivors attempted to cross the ice and reach safety on the Canadian mainland. [See Photos of the Lost Ship from the Franklin Expedition]

Recently, Parks Canada archaeologists found the wreck of the HMS Erebus during the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition.

København

København

© State Library of Queensland
København

On Dec. 14, 1928, the København, a Danish East Asiatic Company sailing ship left the Rio de la Plata (an area between Uruguay and Argentina) en route to Australia. It was notable for having five masts.

“She was a well-found vessel, fitted with wireless (radio) an auxiliary engine and ample lifeboats,” writes Hamish Ross in Sea Breezes Magazine. “A training ship, she had a crew of 60 men, many of whom were cadets, some from very prominent Danish families.”

The ship was in touch, through radio, with the Norwegian steamer William Blumer on Dec. 21, but after that it was never heard from again.

“Following the København’s disappearance, many theories sprang up as to her loss, but the most likely seems to be that she struck an iceberg in darkness or fog,” writes Ross. “There were also reports of sightings of a phantom five-masted vessel in 1930.” In 2012, a wreck was found at the island of Tristan da Cunha that could potentially be the København.

HMS Eurydice

HMS Eurydice

In 1878, the HMS Eurydice, a Royal Navy training vessel, was lost while sailing near the Isle of Wight. A sudden snowstorm sunk the vessel, killing 364 crewmembers, on what had been a calm day. The storm occurred so suddenly, the ship’s crew didn’t have enough time to react, according to news reports.

The “Eurydice continued at full sail with her gun ports open before disappearing in the midst of the blizzard,” writes Victoria Bartlett in an article on the BBC website. Ultimately, there were only two survivors, Bartlett notes. The ship was refloated but, being heavily damaged, was scrapped.

Since then, there have been stories of a ghostly HMS Eurydice haunting the area where the ship sank. “Sailors and visitors are also said to have witnessed sightings of a ‘ghost ship’ off the Isle of Wight,” writes Bartlett. In the 1930s, a British submarine reported encountering the ghostly vessel. Additionally, “Prince Edward reportedly saw the ship while filming an ITV documentary in 1998,” Bartlett writes.

Mary Celeste

Mary Celeste

 

On Dec. 4, 1872, a boarding party on the British brigantine ship named the Dei Gratia found a ship named the Mary Celeste adrift at sea in the Atlantic Ocean, not far from the Azores. The ship was completely deserted, the boarding party found.

Of the 10 people known to have sailed aboard the Mary Celeste, none were ever found. A lifeboat was missing, but the ship’s log gave no indication as to why the Mary Celeste was abandoned. The boarding party found that there had been some flooding, with at least one pump out of order. The ship was carrying over 1,700 barrels of alcohol, a few of which had spilled open.

There was little damage, and the flooding posed little problem. A crew from Dei Gratia pumped out the water and sailed the Mary Celeste to Gibraltar where the British authorities began an investigation into what happened. They were unable to come up with a definitive answer, and the case of the Mary Celeste has remained unsolved ever since.

Different ideas have been put forward. A few barrels of alcohol had spilled open, which might have made the crew afraid that their hold was going to explode. This could have prompted their captain, Benjamin Briggs, to order them to abandon ship. It’s also been proposed that Briggs thought the flooding was worse than it actually was. With at least one pump not working, he may have given the order to abandon ship. [In Images: Ancient Maps and Sea Monsters]

Other, more far-fetched ideas involve sea monsters, mutineers or pirates.

Flying Dutchman

© PLRANG | Shutterstock.com

The most famous ghost ship of all is the Flying Dutchman, said to haunt the waters near the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

“The term ‘Flying Dutchman’ actually refers to the captain, not his ship,” writes Angus Konstam in his book “Ghost Ships: Tales of Abandoned, Doomed and Haunted Vessels” (Lyons Press, 2005).

There are several variations of the story, but the most famous one is that the ship’s pilot, Captain Hendrick Vanderdecken, who lived in the 17th century and served with the Dutch East India Company, encountered a storm off the Cape of Good Hope, Konstam notes. “He swore that he would spite God’s wrath, and take his ship into Table Bay, despite anything that God and the elements could throw against him,” Konstam writes. But the ship hit a rock and sank, taking the entire crew along with it.

As punishment, the captain and his ghostly crew are said to sail the waters for all eternity, hoping one day to be forgiven. “They were hence refused admittance into every port, and are ordained still to traverse the ocean on which they perished, till the period of their penance expires,” reads a story, published in an 1803 book by John Leyden, describing how the crew’s punishment worked.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Reality show to be filmed in medieval “haunted castle” in Wales

British celebrities will take part in a reality show at the medieval castle of Grich in the city-county of Conwy (Wales), which, according to legend, is full of ghosts. It is reported by The Sun.

According to data from open sources, the castle was built in 1283-1289 by order of Edward I of England. For four years one and a half thousand people erected the fortress and walls. The castle is surrounded by a stone wall with round towers and loopholes. 

According to local residents, the ghost of the previous owner, Countess Dandonald, who died in 1924, wanders around the castle. According to legend, the woman’s spirit is angry because her husband took the valuables out of here. 

About ten years ago, a mysterious silhouette appeared in the photo, which was noticed on the first floor of the castle in the former banquet hall. In addition, it is rumored that objects are moving mysteriously in the castle. Also, fans of everything mystical believe that there you can meet the ghosts of gamekeepers and a maid who died after falling from a horse.

The creators of the reality survival show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! Became interested in the legends of the ancient castle, in which celebrities perform creepy tasks. 

The producers are delighted with Greich Castle. It is planned to spend almost 1 million pounds and six weeks to prepare the location for filming.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Loftus Hall is the most famous haunted house

Almost any house built 150 years ago is tempting to think of ghosts. Of course, if it was not restored beyond recognition. But a special pleasure is to visit, or at least look at photographs of a house in which ghosts are definitely found. Well, exactly: in the opinion of its owners and those who live nearby.

Loftus Hall is one of those. Even if, in the opinion of the locals, ghosts were not found in it, they would be worth inventing again – this is how the atmosphere of this gloomy house located on the windswept and washed by waves of the Hook Peninsula in the Irish County of Wexford has to do this.

But, before we tell you what is so paranormal in this Loftus Hall, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with real historical events related to the house. Moreover, they are worthy of attention without any devilry.

Photo # 2 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

We can say that the history of the house began in 1135, when the Norman knight, Raymond Le Gros, landed on the peninsula. To assimilate faster, the knight renamed himself the more familiar to the Irish ear by the name Redmond.

The castle, built by the knight, stood for two centuries, until in 1350 the descendants of Redmond built a new house in its place. It is interesting that they were building right during the Black Death – a plague pandemic that arrived in Ireland by ship from Bristol a year earlier. The new house, Redmond Hall, was named.

Photo # 3 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photo: Shutterstock

Three centuries later, in 1650, the house became the site of one of the fiercest sieges of the Irish Uprising. The owner of the house, 68-year-old Alexander Redmond, with his two sons, a couple of local activists and a tailor who happened to be in the house at an unfortunate time, barricaded himself and bravely repulsed the attack of almost 90 British for several days. 

In all fairness, most of these Englishmen have crawled into neighboring villages, indulging in robbery and violence, instead of laying siege to an impregnable home.

The attack was repulsed with the help of the Irish forces arrived in time, which attacked the British under the cover of a thick fog, which in time fell on the Hoek Peninsula.

According to local chronicles, Alexander repelled several more attacks. When the British nevertheless conquered Ireland in general, and Redmond Hall in particular, Cromwell even let Alexander die in peace in his own house – for his courage.

Photo # 4 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

Well, after the death of Redmond, his relatives were evicted from the house and soon the house was sold to a family of Englishmen named Loftus, who live nearby. 

Subsequently, the Redmond repeatedly tried to sue Loftus Hall back, but to no avail. But as compensation, they were given land in the neighborhood.

The Loftuses moved rapidly up the court stairs. If in the 18th century the head of the family was called Baron Loftus of Loftus Hall, then already in 1800 the title of Marquis of Eli was created especially for the Loftus.

Actually, the 4th Marquess of Ely gave the modern look to Loftus Hall. A major renovation was undertaken by the Marquis in the second half of the 19th century: he very much hoped that Queen Victoria would come to visit. After all, the Marquis’s mother was her maid of honor!

Photo # 5 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

The Queen never came. But the 4th Marquis of Ely became the owner of a luxurious house with such unprecedented conveniences as flush toilets at that time. And, alas, the owner of huge debts. Soon the house had to be sold and its wanderings began among different owners.

In 1917, the house was sold to the monastery order of the Sisters of Providence. In 1983, the house was converted into a hotel. Well, in the early 2000s, it was acquired by the Quickly family. In 2020, it became known that the house was again put up for sale. Moreover, Quickly emphasize that they will not choose a new owner, but “the house will choose him.” And that’s why…

The story of how the devil sailed to Loftus Hall and what happened after his visit dates back to the 19th century. It sounds like this.

On a cold rainy night, a dark-robed rider rode up to Loftus Hall on a dark horse. He said that his ship was caught in a storm and had to dock in a nearby bay. The Loftuses were away, the family of their distant relatives, the Tottenham, lived in the house. They sheltered the rider and offered him shelter and bread.

Photo # 6 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

Tottenham’s daughter, young Anna, immediately fell in love with a mysterious stranger. A couple of days later, in the evening, everyone sat down to play cards. During the game, Anna dropped the map and, bending down to pick it up, saw that the stranger had cloven hooves instead of legs.

The stranger realized that he had been discovered. He immediately soared up, surrounded by devilish flames – and, as expected, made a huge hole in the roof.

It would seem that the devil is expelled, you can live on. But Anna, after the disappearance of the stranger, became not herself. She went crazy by leaps and bounds. The family, frightened by this development of affairs, locked the girl in her favorite sewing room.

There Anna sat, almost motionless, clasping her knees with her hands and soon died. 

According to another version of the legend, before her death, she managed to give birth to a child – that is, the devil did not lose time during two days in the house. 

Anna was not buried in an ordinary coffin: they could not straighten her and buried her in a sitting position, in which she spent the last months of her life.

Since then, according to numerous testimonies of guests and owners of the house, ghosts of a girl have been walking around the house. And the house itself has become a place of attraction for lovers of everything paranormal and creepy – excursions, especially popular on Halloween, are regularly conducted in Loftus Hall.

If you consider yourself a mystic, but do not have the opportunity to visit Loftus Hall yet, we recommend watching the gothic horror film The Lodgers 2017. It is filmed entirely in the luxe and eerie interiors of Loftus Hall, and has received excellent critical reviews. Here’s the trailer:

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Ghosts & Hauntings

The ghost of the Haycock Manor Hotel: a beautiful legend about a frequent visitor to an ancient building

For decades, the Haycock Manor Hotel, located in the small English village of Wansford, has attracted tourists by claiming to be the home of the ghost of Queen Mary Stuart.

Mary of Scotland, aka Mary Stuart, according to legend, visited the Haycock Hotel on the way to Fotheringay Castle, where she was executed. Why, in this case, she chose a hotel in a small village as her last refuge , and not a stone castle, is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, visitors to the hotel claimed to have seen the ghost of Queen Mary, the Mirror writes.

The last resting place of Mary Stuart

Because of her intrigues against Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart was put on trial and sentenced to death, which took place at Fotheringay Castle. On the way to the castle, Mary of Scotch stopped at the Haycock Hotel.

Mary Stuart

Despite the fact that the woman spent only one night in the hotel, this is the place she, for some reason, decided to choose as her last home. At least that’s what those who encountered her ghost say.

Manifestations of supernatural powers

Many of the hotel guests, who ventured to spend the night in the last refuge of Mary Stuart, complained about strange things that happened to them.

Some guests claimed to have seen a ghost, which they identified as Mary of Scotland. Why they were so sure that the ghost was exactly Mary Stuart is not clear, because the history of England has a large number of women rulers, and it is simply impossible to remember them all.

Other hotel guests recall seeing an obscure ghostly cloud-like figure in the oldest part of the hotel. They also shared that they often encountered the feeling that there is someone else in the room – someone who cannot be seen, but can be felt.

Hotel Haycock

Guests also reported that they heard quiet voices and footsteps, although there was no one else in the rooms.

Despite the fact that such stories can scare ordinary people, they are not of interest to real seekers of the paranormal, since they can easily be explained by the dilapidated state of the building.

haycock hotel

Haycock Manor is currently closed for renovation, which means that if the phenomena of supernatural forces could be explained by the state of the hotel, then after the renovation they should disappear.

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