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Off the Usual Path

Phantom Ship

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from the journal of a seaman, eye witness to the ghost ship.

A page from the journal of   'name obscured'
 
A ship of the Royal Navy was in sail the evening of April 24, 1781. All was well on the last watch. Most of the crew were in their bunks, as it was around one hour past midnight. The only crew on deck were the first officer of the watch, 10 seamen, and myself. I am the second officer.
 
"Ahoy! Ship off the port bow." shouted the lookout, "300 yards!"
 
The first officer looked toward the area referred to. He saw a ship that seemed to be aglow in a red mist. He took up his telescope and attempted to sight the name. The mist covered the ship so throughly, the name could not be found. "I see a seaman. He's trying to lower a boat." the first officer stated, wonderingly.
 
"Sir!" said I.   "This is the phantom ship called the Flying Dutchman! We mustn't allow any contact with the crew!"  By this time the seamen had seen it, and they were all affright, as were we.
 
We stood on the deck watching the ship for only a minute, when the lookout reported a boat had been lowered from the phantom. One of its crewmen was rowing toward us.
 
"Sir," I reiterated. "We cannot allow anyone to come aboard from the cursed ship. It will be calamity for us all!"
 
"Ship, ahoy!"  the seaman in the small boat shouted. "My Captain asked that you take this packet of mail, if you please."
 
"Alert the Captain of the situation," the first officer ordered me. I did not hesitate, but hurried to the Captains cabin.
 
"Sir, we have encountered the ghost ship Dutchman! The first officer requires instructions!
A fellow has asked us to take aboard his mail packet."
 
The captain, who had encountered this very ship as a young seaman, shouted orders as he ran.
"Do not allow anyone to come aboard! Take nothing from their hand! All men to your stations, move this ship! Now!"
 
The seamen were relieved to hear the captains orders.  Their eyes had locked on to that blood red ship in fear. The shouts woke them from their mesmerized state, and all took heart. Quickly, they readied the ships sails. There being not much wind at that time of night, the crew called on the seaman's gods, and the wind begin to blow mightily. The sails bellowed out with the first gusts.
 
Moving the ship was a risky affair, for it was in a fiord, near the Cape of Good Hope. The choices though were none, considering what they were. We did eventually safely navigate the fiord, and left the red-misted, ghost ship behind, as the lookout acclaimed.
 
A few hours later, we were laughing and joking to relieve the uneasiness, thinking we had escaped the curse. That wasn't to be though, as the lookout fell to his death from his post as he attempted one last look for the red mist of the phantom ship.