The Flying Dutchman Ghost Story

The Flying Dutchman Ghost Story

The year is 1641 and a Dutch galleon has set sail from Amsterdam heading for the port of Batavia in Dutch East India.

Time is of the essence and its captain is keen to fill the hold with the treasures of the east and return home. The crew reach the most dangerous part of their journey in record time; the point where east meets west at the very edge of the discovered world.

To port is the stretch of Africa known as the Skeleton Coast where the wooden bones of a thousand wrecked ships lie broken and shattered on the rocks.

To the South is the Cape of Storms where the ice cold Atlantic and the warm Indian Ocean clash in a maelstrom of turbulent currents and massive waves.

As they reach the rocky headland a terrific storm blows in. The galleon is tossed and thrown about the sea. Petrified, the crew beg to head for the safety of the nearest port at Table Bay, but the captain refuses.

Arrogant and obstinate, he believes he can defy nature and beat the raging tempest. Inevitably, he loses the battle and the ship is lost.

This should be the end of the tragedy but it isn’t, the stricken ship is to be seen again, not once but many times. Far from being the end of a sad tale of loss and destruction, the Flying Dutchman ghost story has just begun….


The History of the Flying Dutchman

In 1641 the galleon Vargalde Vlamingh left the port of Amsterdam for the port of Batavia, now known as Jakarta, in Dutch East India.

The name of the ship roughly translated into English as The Flying Fleming and later became corrupted to the Flying Dutchman.

This was a period of great economic growth for the Dutch and they were keen to exploit newly discovered territories in the east.

The voyage to Batavia was hazardous and dangerous though. The most dangerous part was rounding the Cape of Storms, now known as The Cape of Good Hope.

The Cape of Good Hope

Captained by the intrepid Hendrick Vanderdecken the crew was determined to make the trip in record time and return home safely to Amsterdam.

As they approached the southern tip of Africa, a turbulent storm began to buffet and toss the ship like a toy on the waves. Notorious for its tempestuous weather and unpredictable seas, the crew and captain had expected to be challenged on this part of their voyage.

Nothing could have prepared them though for the storm that met them. Terrified and mutinous, the crew begged to put into port but the captain refused. An arrogant man, he decided instead to take on the might of nature and continue onwards.

As the storm raged on, Vanderdecken is said to have screamed out ‘I will round this Cape even if it takes me to Doomsday’. In this act of defiance, his fate and that of his crew, was sealed.

The man who thought he could take on the might of nature and God, had failed. The consequences would be terrible. The ship was cursed to sail the seas forever, its ghostly crew condemned to be earthbound until other souls took their place.

Witnessed by hundreds over the centuries and recorded in the log books of many ships, to see the tattered red sails of The Flying Dutchman lit by the glow of an unearthly light, is a portent of death and destruction.


Sightings of the Flying Dutchman

Capetown 1689-90: The first recorded sighting of The Flying Dutchman came from Capetown in 1690. The small settlement of Capetown was caught up in a fervour of superstition and speculation during this period.

A comet had recently been witnessed streaking across the sky, a sign that death would follow. An unexplained sickness then gripped the settlement and many lives were lost.

On Christmas Eve a two headed lamb was born, another sign that something evil was afoot. Then, on January 29th 1690 a red sailed galleon was witnessed heading into port in the morning light.

Shrouded in mist and bathed in an eerie light, her approach was witnessed by many on shore. The sea was calm but the galleon was soon enveloped in a blanket of fog.

Later in the morning, those waiting on shore were astonished when the fog lifted and the ship had disappeared, so astonished that the incident was recorded in the history of Capetown as an evil omen.

H.M.S. Leven 1823: Many confirmed accounts of sightings of The Flying Dutchman have been meticulously recorded in the log books of the British Royal Navy adding further credence to the stories of witnesses.

In 1823 H.M.S. Leven was sailing near Capetown when it was approached by the ghostly galleon on two occasions. On the second occasion a small rowing boat was seen being lowered from The Dutchman.

Aware of the stories and superstitions surrounding the galleon, Captain Owen of H.M.S. Leven refused to acknowledge or contact the other ship and changed direction.

Another witness who also recorded his account of these two incidents was the respected academic and statistician, Robert Montgomery Martin, later to become the Colonial treasurer of Hong Kong.

S.S. Pretoria 1879: The crew of the steamship S.S. Pretoria witnessed strange lights in the distance, which they took to be a ship in distress.

Altering course, they sailed towards the lights convinced they would discover a stricken vessel. By the time they arrived at their destination, the lights and the vessel had disappeared.

King George V 1881: Perhaps the most convincing and credible of all witness statements is that of the (then) future King George V of England.

A midshipman on H.M.S. Bacchante on July 11 1871, he and others were alerted at 4:00 a.m. by the shouts of a lookout.

The lookout had spotted the red tattered sails of a galleon in the distance. The future King, as well as 13 others on the Bacchante clearly witnessed and recorded their contact with the ‘Flying Dutchman’. The King himself wrote:

“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 two hundred yards distant stood out in strong relief as she came up.”

The sighting was also recorded by the crew of H.M.S. Cleopatra and Tourmaline who were sailing in convoy with the Bacchante.

Sadly, in this story the sighting of the Dutchman was indeed a portent of tragedy. The unfortunate lookout who had been first to spot the ghostly apparition, fell to his death from the yard arm later that same day.

S.S. Waratah 1909: Known as The Titanic of the southern seas, the S.S. Waratah set sail from Durban in 1909 and disappeared into thin air.

Its wreck has never been discovered and all passengers were presumed drowned. The last person to see the Waratah was the captain of the SS. Clan McIntyre.

At a public inquiry into the Waratah’s disappearance Captain Phillips stated that on the day in question he first saw the ghostly apparition of The Flying Dutchman before its image evaporated.

Later in the day he saw the Waratah sail towards the point where the Dutchman had disappeared from view.

American Whaler 1911: The crew of an American whaling ship recorded having to change course when a red sailed galleon almost collided with them.

The Royal Navy 1923: On January 26th 1923, four crew of an unidentified Royal Navy ship witnessed The Flying Dutchman.

The four men identified as fourth officer Stone, second officer Bennett, a helmsman and a cadet were so astounded that they agreed to give an account to the Society of Psychical Research.

They clearly observed the ship for a fifteen minute period as it approached their own vessel. As it reached them the ship disappeared as suddenly as it had first appeared.

Muizenburg 1939: Muizenburg is a coastal suburb of Capetown. The Flying Dutchman was sighted here by German sailors on the eve of the Second World War.

After the war U boat commander, Admiral Karl Doenitz also confirmed that the crews of German U boats spotted The Flying Dutchman many times during the six year conflict.

Glencairn Beach 1941: On a calm day in 1941, a large crowd of sunbathers and swimmers enjoying the beauty of Glencairn beach near Capetown saw a galleon with red sails come close to the shoreline.

About to founder on rocks, the audience of bathers felt compelled to watch in horror as events unfolded. Just as the worst was about to happen the galleon vanished into thin air.

H.M.S. Jubilee 1942: In the midst of the Second World War, the British ship H.M.S. Jubilee was heading for the Royal Navy Base at Simonstown near Cape Town.

On watch were the second officer Davies and the third officer Nicholas Montserrat. Montserrat went on to become the famous author of ‘The Cruel Sea’.

At 9 PM the pair spotted a strange ship in the distance and signaled to it, to identify itself. The ship did not respond. Davies later recorded in the ship’s log that the vessel was a schooner of a type he did not recognize.

He also recorded that it was moving under full sail although there was no wind. To avoid a collision H.M.S. Jubilee had to change course at the last moment.

Both men were said to be profoundly affected by their experience .There is no question that they exaggerated the events which took place during wartime.

The Straat Magelhaen 1959: In 1959 the crew of the freighter Staat Magelhaen were sailing off the coast of South Africa when they were in a near collision with a sailing ship, later identified as The Flying Dutchman.


Conclusion

There are few people more superstitious than sailors. Who can blame them when their occupation is at the mercy of Mother Nature and fraught with danger and hazards?

It is no wonder that the Flying Dutchman ghost story has been embellished and added to over the years as the tale is told and retold.

A tale of a defiant captain challenging God and nature, the retribution exacted upon the Dutchman’s crew serves as a lesson to all of those sailing the seas.

Some sailors swear that Captain Vanderdecken comes ashore every seven years to search for a faithful woman. Others say that the crew of the Dutchman try to pass on messages to their loved ones.

Many believe that the restless souls of the Dutchman’s crew can’t move on until they find others to take their place. A fascinating and intriguing story, it is the subject of books, film and opera.

It would be easy then to dismiss the sightings of The Flying Dutchman as the fevered imaginings of superstitious sailors if it were not for one thing.

Sightings of this ghostly ship have been witnessed and recorded by the most impeccable of sources including, academics, writers, high ranking naval officers and even royalty.

These men have no reason to fabricate their experiences, indeed the opposite is true!

Haunted Houses In Cincinnati, Ohio

Haunted Houses in Cincinnati Ohio

Do you find castles, hayrides or graveyards filled with phony ghosts, weapons, chainsaws and mazes amusing? Are you done with the monotony of life and are looking forward to experiencing real paranormal activity?

Do deaths, gore, torture and spookiness give you an Adrenalin rush? You, my friend, are one of those adventurous folks who love to dig into weird mysteries of the world.

Join us at one of the creepiest ghost hunts in some of the most haunted houses in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Top 5 Haunted Houses In Cincinnati, Ohio…

1) Stenton House:

The Dutch built Stenton House in 1850. This eerie Victorian mansion witnessed the suicide of a Dutchman and two young pupils.

The past occupants of the building have reported ghostly apparitions, spooky sounds of objects hitting the floor on the topmost story and phantom footsteps.

After the Second World War, the mansion was subdivided into multi-unit dwellings known as the Cornell Place Apartments.

As of now, the owners use this property as private residence. Some apartments were sealed for safety purposes.

Guest tours and photography is discouraged because the government respects the privacy of its corporeal as well as spiritual residents.


2) Tracy’s Home on Dunham Road, Amelia:

The Tracy family occupied this farmhouse during 1802 to 1803. A group of native Indians called Cherokees from the surrounding woods raided the house in that period.

The riot resulted in sudden death of the youngest girl of the Tracy family. Since then, her spirit has been chasing people away.

Cincinnati Ohio

In 2005, the descendants renovated the house for visitors. Some parts of it are open for tours while rest of the house is restricted for the guests.


3) McClung House:

A sweet little deserted house on the Main Street with a dark history of homicide. Who wouldn’t want to explore it?

The McClung House built in 1870 had no supernatural history until 1901, when two lovebirds by the name of John and Rebecca McClung moved there.

John was a jealous, aggressive and dominating character. He forbade Rebecca from mingling with the neighbors.

She was not allowed to go outside without his permission. Often, the people saw Rebecca sitting by their bedroom window, admiring the outside scenery.

Downtown Cincinnati from Devou Park in Covington

One day the neighbors heard her pleas for help. When the police arrived at the crime scene, they found John with a bloody log by the mutilated corpse of Rebecca.

However, John was later acquitted due to lack of substantial evidence. After the incident, many folks have seen Rebecca’s spirit walking around the graveyard.

A few neighbors have seen her sitting by the same window. She is still upset because John was not convicted for her murder.


4) Chambers Road House:

A deserted house in shambles, with unkempt lawn and a messy barn sets out the mood for a horror story. There are plenty of stories floating around this “supposedly” haunted place.

Two decades ago, a family of five occupied the house. The husband was mentally sick and as per the local tales, he shot his wife, two kids and horses occupying the barn. The youngest one escaped to a nearby tunnel. The father, who later committed suicide, eventually murdered him.

There are reports of ghostly sightings in the house, the barn and the nearby tunnel. You can see a few bullet holes and dry blood splattered across the walls.

The unnatural aura surrounding this place attracts ghost hunters and paranormal experts from all over the world. Some of them reported peculiar sounds like neighs, screams and gunshots after the sunset.

If you want to explore this place, be a little cautious and make sure, you are never alone!


5) The Handlebar Ranch:

Tiny Town AKA Munchkinville, formally known as the Handlebar Ranch has nothing to do with black magic, witches or murders, just a bunch of pissed off retired midgets.

It is a village of evil circus dwarfs, located towards the north of Cincinnati, near Mt. Rumpke. Like some bad rural myths, the stories surrounding this village pass on from one generation to another.

Annie and Percy Ritter, the last living owners of the house died in late 1990’s. Although we’re not sure where the midget rumors started, but Annie’s barely 5-feet-tall frame and unfriendly attitude towards teenagers might have something to do with it.

Munchkinville

In 2002, this 30-acre piece was transferred to the Rumpke. At present, the place is in mess. All that remains of it is cemented walls, lonely wooden bridge, crematory, the wagon wheel gate and a church for devil worshipers.

We don’t recommend trespassing, unless you want to irritate the midgets.

With this, we complete our list of the top five haunted houses in Cincinnati, Ohio. They go beyond the bogus Halloween homes and incite true fear in the hearts of the bravest men. Do remember to visit them!

The Hinterkaifeck Mystery

The Hinterkaifeck Mystery

Bavaria 1921 and the end of a long cold winter. Who could possibly know then, that a small farm seventy kilometres from Munich and close to the small hamlet of Kaifeck, was about to provide Germany with one of its most enduring mysteries?

Almost a century later and the events of Friday 31st March still baffle amateur sleuths and paranormal investigators.

The Hintercaifeck mystery remains unsolved, posing far more questions than answers. Intriguing and puzzling, it provides the German police with a most frustrating cold case.


Hintercaifeck Farm

Hintercaifeck Farm was a small farm a short distance from the hamlet of Kaifeck. Backing onto a forest, the farm was relatively isolated.

Although it was small, the farm was successful and the occupants, although not rich, were certainly comfortably off.

The owner of the farm Andreas Gruber, lived there with his wife Cazilla, his widowed daughter Viktoria Gabriel and her children Cazilla who was 7 and Josef 2.

On the 31st March, Maria Baumgarten, a very unlucky lady, arrived to replace the Grubers’ maid who had left six months before. The cast of this mystery was complete and the scene was set for a very gruesome murder to take place.


Murder in The Barn

Sometime during the evening of Friday 31st March, the first two victims of this shocking crime, Viktoria Gabriel and her daughter Cazilla, were lured into the barn of the farm and attacked.

Possibly returning a cow to its stall and still wearing their day clothes, they entered the barn and met their deaths. Both mother and child had been partially strangled before being attacked with a pick axe.

The poor child did not die immediately and was found clutching clumps of her own hair which she had pulled out herself.

Murder in The Barn

Sometime later that evening Andreas Gruber and his wife Cazilla entered the barn in their night clothes and were also killed. Their attacker then entered the house and murdered the small child Josef and the maid Maria, as they slept in their beds.


Strange Events

One of the most fascinating aspects to this case is the strange series of events which preceded the murders. The Grubers had been without a maid for six months before the unfortunate Maria arrived to meet her fate.

The previous maid had fled, convinced that Hintercaifeck Farm was haunted by a malevolent spirit who moved around the attic. Clearly nobody had warned the unfortunate Maria before she took up the post.

A few days before the murders Andreas Gruber had been disturbed by footsteps in the snow outside his home. The footsteps emerged from the nearby forest and led to his door, they then ended abruptly.

There were no visitors to the farm and the footprints did not belong to any of the occupants. A search of the farm revealed nothing. That evening Gruber heard noises from the attic above, again a search revealed nothing.

Strange Events

Over the next few days attempts were made to break into a shed on the property, a strange newspaper was found in the doorway of the house and a set of keys to the farm disappeared. Gruber was concerned enough to discuss it with his neighbors.


The Investigation

By the 4th April 1921, the absence of the family was raising concern and a group of neighbors arrived at the farm to investigate. What they discovered adds another bizarre twist to this story.

The animals on the farm had been tended to and were well fed, despite almost five days passing since the murders. There was food on the table in the house and a fire had been lit.

The murderer clearly felt confident enough to stay around for a few days, without being discovered. The bodies in the barn had been neatly stacked and covered with hay, Maria the maid was covered with a sheet and the toddler Josef, with one of his mother’s skirts.

Over 100 people were interviewed by Munich police determined to crack the case and solve the murder. Robbery was clearly not a motive as jewelry and coins were found in the house and would have been easily discovered.

Eventually, frustrated by the lack of progress, the police took the decision to decapitate the bodies of the poor victims, sending their heads to Munich to be examined by clairvoyants for clues.

They could offer no answers. The cold case was reopened in 1996 by police and again in 2007.

The final conclusion was that the original investigative techniques were too primitive and that too much time had passed to solve the case. They did state though that there was a prime suspect for the murders, but refused to release the name out of defence to the suspect’s family.


The Suspects

Viktoria Gabriel was widowed almost seven years before the murders took place, yet she had a two year old son, Josef. Viktoria was insistent that the father of her son was a local man Lorenz Schlittenbauer.

He denied that he was the father of the child and in turn accused Andreas Gruber of incest with his daughter. Viktoria was in the process of suing Schlittenbauer for alimony when she was murdered.

Was this Schlittenbauer’s way of avoiding alimony?

One of the first neighbors to discover the bodies, others remarked at his coldness when seeing them for the first time. Indeed, he busied himself feeding the animals and preparing himself food while they waited for the police to arrive.

Another theory suggests that Viktoria’s husband was not killed during the First World War as previously thought and incensed to discover she had a child by another man, resorted to murder.

Although there is no grave for Karl Gabriel, other soldiers testified that they had seen him die on the battle field.

Viktoria had drawn her life savings out of the bank a few weeks earlier and borrowed a sum of money from a friend in order to buy a farm. She later left this sum of money in the confessional of the local church, clearly her plans had changed.

The Suspects of Hinterkaifeck

Falling asleep in school one day, the child Cazilla told her teacher that she was tired because her mother had run sobbing into the forest the night before and the family had been up late searching for her.

Had Viktoria begun a secret relationship that had gone wrong?

Was it coincidence that Maria Baumgarten arrived on the very day of the murders?

The Grubers had found it difficult to fill the post. Did Maria take the post because she was in trouble desperately trying to escape from someone or something who discovered her destination?

Or is there indeed a supernatural explanation for the murders of this poor family. Was the Gruber’s first maid correct when she said the farm was haunted by a malevolent spirit?


Conclusion

The Hintercaifeck mystery is unlikely to be solved today. Lovers, husbands or the supernatural , you decide. One thing is for sure though, almost a century has passed and the answers lie hidden in the dim and distant past .