The supernatural history of the Flying Dutchman allegedly began in the 1600s when this ship was sailing from Amsterdam to Batavia (now Jakarta) captained by a fearless and extremely experienced Dutch Mariner called Henry Van der Decken. All went well until they encountered a terrible storm while attempting to sail around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.
Every effort made aboard the ship to combat the elements and continue their journey was in vain, but Van der Decken dismissed his crew’s frantic pleas to turn the ship around. Instead, shouting blasphemous paths skyward, he swore vehemently to defy even the Almighty and succeed in navigating onwards through the storm Table Bay.
Suddenly a heavenly figure appeared on deck but Van der Decken refused to touch his hat in deference and brazenly shot at the figure with a pistol. In response, his divine visitor strongly proclaimed that he and his ship would never find rest, condemned to sail the seas for eternity and would bring disaster to all who encountered them.
To prove even further, many sober sightings of the cursed ship are on record and most are from Cape of Good Hope because that was the last time they sailed when Van der Decken shot the angelic figure blasphemously. In 1939, Helene Tydell and about 60 other sunbathers at False Bay near Cape spied the Flying Dutchman across the sea before vanishing in full view of its audience.
The most famous Flying Dutchman sighting was accompanied by an unforeseen tragedy since according to legend the Flying Dutchman will bring bad luck to those who encounter it. In February 1857, Joseph Somers and his crew were sailing across the seas to the island of Tristan da Cunha. Shortly afterwards, Joseph Somers saw a wrecked ship not worthy to be sailed mysteriously sailing and disappearing within seconds. For a moment Joseph Somers thought it was just the seasickness kicking in but soon after, his crew and himself mysteriously caught on fire. Unaware of when or how the fire started.
Despite the sober sightings concrete enough worthy of proving the existence of the Flying Dutchman, sceptics claim that such sightings are nothing more than mirages of real ships sailing elsewhere, but eyewitnesses consistently describe a vessel that is incongruously old fashioned in appearance. Very different from modern ships, it closely recalls a seventeenth-century Dutch East Indiaman – the precise identity of the Flying Dutchman.
The Phantom of the Flying Dutchman cursed to sail the seas for eternity: