Friday, April 08, 2016

G Is for Ghost Ship

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:




In June of 1947, multiple ships in the straits of Malacca heard a series of distress signals.

"All officers including captain are dead, lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.”

The message was followed by Morse Code that couldn't be deciphered. Then came a grim message:

"I die."

A group of ships nearby triangulated the signal and traced it back to a Dutch freighter by the name of SS Ourang Medan.



There was an American merchant ship nearby called the Silver Star. They decided to respond to the SOS and changed their course to head straight for the SS Ourang Medan.



As they neared the ship, the crew of the Silver Star saw no signs of life on board. The captain bravely volunteered to step aboard the ship, assembling a small crew to go with him.

What they found aboard was death.




Everyone on board was dead, including the ship's dog. Despite the looks of horror frozen on their faces, there were no signs of the cause of their deaths. Not only did their bodies appear to be unharmed, but the ship itself was in pristine condition.

They decided to tow the boat back to port but as they stepped back on their own boat, the crew noticed billows of smoke pouring from the lower decks of the death ship. The ship burned, eventually disappearing beneath the water, never to be seen again.



Some say the crew died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Some say there may have been lethal cargo like nerve gas underneath the ship that killed the crew and eventually caught fire. And some say the SS Ourang Medan never existed at all.

What do you think?

⬅️ F Is for Frederick Valentich

59 comments:

  1. A poisonous gas would expand the lack of wounds and the looks of terror were probably agony.

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    1. Of course, "looks of terror" could have been embellishment as the story was told over the years.

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  2. Creepy! Lethal cargo sounds like a reasonable explanation. I wonder what they were trying to say in Morse Code.

    Cheers - Ellen | http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/2016/04/g-is-for-grounding-nancy-drew.html

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  3. but if it was a poisonous gas, why wasn't the captain et al of the silver star affected? Had it dissipated? And what caused the fire?

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    1. Or maybe he and his crew weren't on there long enough? Some gases take time to do their damage, although that wouldn't explain "looks of agony."

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  4. I'd want to say it was poisonous gas, but I'm like mshatch why wasn't the other captain and crew that went aboard affected? Could it have been some type of gas that didn't have an odor and didn't work fast?

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    1. Maybe it was carbon monoxide poisoning. I know there was a couple here who was killed in an RV a year or two ago by carbon monoxide.

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    1. JH Moncrieff wrote a ghost ship blog yesterday or the day before that was pretty creepy, as well!

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  6. Did the unaffected members have gas masks and kill everyone else before throwing the masks overboard? Have I watched too much television?

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    1. Hey, if watching TV and reading books expands our imagination, that's a good thing!

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  7. Strange and indeed spooky. This story reminds me of all the Bermuda Triangle stories I've heard through the years.

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    1. There has been a recent POSSIBLE explanation for the ships that disappeared in the triangle...something about gaseous emissions below the surface that could have sunk ships. It doesn't explain the planes that have disappeared there, though, but planes disappearing over the ocean is a pretty common occurrence.

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  8. Whether it was poisonous gas in the holds or not and I suppose the weird Morse code could be a person messed up from the gas trying to send for help, but it's also creepy that it caught fire right when the other ship went to tow it in.

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    1. That is true...if the gas was getting to them, no telling what they would have transmitted.

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  9. Creepy! Interesting though--I wonder what happened!

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    1. I guess we'll never know...but I should point out that they've had trouble even proving the ship existed. There were news stories about the disappearance but there have been doubts about the validity of those.

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  10. A very creepy story. Whatever it was the living crew were probably safer with that piece of weird sinking to the bottom of the ocean. At least we know what sunk the Titanic.

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    1. LOL, yeah, and with the Titanic, people were all alive when it went down. That makes sense!

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  11. This is a weird one because carbon monoxide poisoning wouldn't leave everyone with a terrified expression. But then again, we don't know how much the American captain exaggerated! Another intriguing mystery, I'm loving this theme :)
    Debbie

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    1. Oh yeah, you know how people can add their embellishments to stories to make them more interesting.

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  12. mysteries at sea - always strange and bizarre. Never heard of this one - poof..gone. Very weird

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    1. There is something spooky about a mystery at sea.

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  13. Loved it! What a great way to get the brain celles working this morning. Thanks for sharing. https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/

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  14. How strange. Maybe it was nerve gas. Or aliens!

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  15. I am however very much enjoying your series of mysterious stories.

    In this one I go with carbon monoxide, but why did not the exploring captain notice anything? Weird!

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  16. Carbon monoxide does sound like it there. Or the ship never existing

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  17. So bizarre. Perhaps there was some strange cargo, but wouldn't that have been logged somewhere? You would think some local authority kept log books of ships and their cargo. If the strange cargo did emit weird emissions, the shocked looks on the faces of the crew could have been from seeing their comrades simply drop dead.

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  18. Those stories are always so creepy! Carbon monoxide is a good theory, although would the crew member have known he was dying?

    Spooky.

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  19. At no point has anyone discovered any evidence that the Ourang Medan itself actually existed. This is what I think.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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  20. Again an interesting mystery. I read up on this interesting ghost ship storey and there are a lot of theories like it was possibly carrying illegal and dangerous cargo like Potassium Cyanide and nitroglycerine to avoid detection as weapon of war.... Some sea water could have seeped into the hold of the ship on rough sea and produced noxious gases that would have been painful to the crew.

    The government would not have wanted to have this to be discovered so they would have destroyed all documentation on the ship as if it never existed. But what about the families of the ship, they must have known that their men were working on the ship. Stranger than strange.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  21. Your A to Z entries have been fascinating!

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  22. Very creepy. Interesting theories about what happened. Carbon monoxide wouldn't explain the looks of horror on their faces because it's a silent killer. Poisonous cargo would make more sense. Weird.

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  23. It does sound like poisoning, but not gas. I'm thinking something they ate or drank. How in the world did the American crew miss the fact that the ship was on fire?
    Another in a series of great posts, Stephanie!

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  24. Stephanie, I just want to say that I'm enjoying your posts this month. They have been getting me to think.

    About this one, I wouldn't be surprised if it had to to with some poisonous toxin or gas. The passengers, sadly, might not have known what was hitting them at the time.

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  25. Late to the party, but yes. Toxins or gas of some sort.

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  26. How about this... Ourang Medan was a scientific experiment that failed and the Dutch government covered it up by saying the ship never existed.

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  27. That story gave me cold chills...how very creepy. I guess so, but then I think I agree with Lori. Why the faces of horror? Freaky!

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  28. Hi, I'm back online now. I've been reading your blog at the library in the meantime. Again, this is a very interesting theme and most of these cases so far are unfamiliar to me.

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  29. Wow...never ever heard of this!

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  30. That is super creepy. It was probably a gas leak.

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  31. I think that is a super scary mystery that never will be solved.

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  32. Gosh!! So horrible must have been for the crew to witness. An unexplained and mysterious death.

    www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

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  33. Gosh!! So horrible must have been for the crew to witness. An unexplained and mysterious death.

    www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

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  34. Creepy! Carbon monoxide could explain it. I was thinking contagious disease but the boarding captain didn't get sick, and the dog did.

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  35. I think that is one creepy boat picture you found. My vote is for some deadly cargo that was released and eventually brought the ship down. Good thing it wasn't anything contagious.
    Discarded Darlings

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  36. I have not heard of this and it one freaky story! This was an excellent read

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  37. Truly creepy. I, too, wonder what happened...

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  38. I've never heard of this one, but if the ship never existed how did we originally get the story? And if they died from a poisonous gas why didn't it kill the captain and crew who boarded the ship and found the dead passengers? The look of horror on their faces sent a chill racing up my the nape of neck. Where did the message, "I die," come from ? I would love to know the content of the morse code. I have to read more about this now, you've really piqued my conspiracy theory mind. The only explanation I can buy into is that something went horribly wrong that the government doesn't want the rest of us to know about and they went to great lengths to make the entrire ship and the entire incident vanquish. But, like others have stated, wouldn't the families of the people on board the ship be raising all kind of hell and reporting their family members missing? Unless they were all CIA or equivalent and their disappearance would at one time or another be expected or at a minimum not questioned by their family. Very mysterious indeed. I'm thoroughly enjoying your theme this year.

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  39. I'm sure it probably was some form of poisonous gas, still creepy, though!

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  40. Fascinating because port of Malacca was one of my favorite places to visit when I lived in Malaysia. Lots of Dutch history there but never heard the story. Now I'm curious!

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  41. Seriously creepy! I wonder what really happened? Great choice of word for G!

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  42. Probably the crew of The Flying Dutchman that flitted aboard and smothered everyone before Davy Jones called his ghost crew back. No-one saw the ghostly cannonballs being fired...
    Good luck with the rest of the AtoZchallenge.

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  43. Wow- that is a crazy story. I am sure the crew that investigated the ship trying to help were freaked out! I am thinking it was some type of deadly fumes- but it definitely makes for some food for thought!
    ~Jess

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  44. Having read the Wikipedia article about it, I'm not sure if it didn't exist, or if TPTB want to try and make it seem like it didn't exist :). If it was an accident with something secret then covering it up would be a good idea.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  45. Lethal cargo, like a poisonous gas that may have exploded later

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