Monday, January 31, 2011


Yellow Sands, East London, South Africa --- 2004

My mother told me once of something she had seen, that she experienced while looking for shells on the beach, that made her flesh crawl. I had put it out of my mind until her an I had recently had lunch at a restaurant with an ocean view and she recalled under her breath, the Ghost Ship she claims to have seen years ago and I finally asked her to recount.

It was in 2004, when her and my father had just moved to East London, on the south-east coast of South Africa. They had not found a house yet and so they had to stay at a holiday resort near his work in the meantime.
She is very fond of collecting sea shells, and therefore this is how she spent every day while my dad was at work. Yellow Sands, she said, was a retirement resort and the owners knew them, so they got a spot there. It was a private beach exclusively for the residents.

One morning at approximately 9am, she was walking along the pristine beach that stretched out ahead of her, looking for shells as always. She said that the morning mist had not cleared yet and she thoroughly enjoyed the cool fog that only allowed her sight a few yards ahead. She knelt to pick up a shell and when she stood up, her blood turned to ice.

Not more than 50 metres into the surf the mist revealed a ship, as high as her eyes could perceive it, about 5 stories, she guessed. At first she only thought it was scary for its size --maybe it was coming into the bay --- but then she realized that a ship of that size would not be able to be so close, if not running on the rocks nearby.
Then something else startled her. Had it been a ship coming in, it would have MOVED!

It lay in dead silence, not a stone's throw from the tide line at her feet, leviathan and sinister and reminiscent of a ship that would not have sailed after the turn of the century, for the giant ship in the mist here, was built of wood and rope!

It had intricate engravings and signs of craftsman skills from a time before our century. She recalled that it boasted four masts with dirty gray sails that fell triangular from the yard arms....therefore being a Barque or a three-masted Schooner, both of which, if I am not mistaken, are from the 17th to the19th Century.

And so she stood in awe, frozen in fear of the improbability and the sight of the massive wooden vessel trapped on the rocks hidden in the mist around her, and the relentless silence that the fog brought, as it does while it envelopes one in a shroud of a forgotten world that left no witnesses apathetic to its story.

As she told me the story, I could see the hair on her arms stand erect and gooseflesh so taut, that it became contageous and I felt mine follow suit. Her eyes widened as one by one, we debunked the probabilities of it NOT being paranormal.
It was too big to be that close to the shore.
It was wooden andfixed with tar.
It was lying dead still.
It was on the rocks that surfaced near the shoreline when the tide was low.
All this convinced us that our debate for realism was running thin and we realized that it had to indeed have been a bona fide GHOST SHIP.

I asked her if maybe it was a wreck that was rotting on the rocks....(yeah, and it has not rotten away in a million ebbs and flows since 18-what-the-fuck? Unlikely.)

Every doubt in my mind that it was spectral was cast out when she told me that she looked down on the sand, because it scared the crap out of her, and when she looked up, it had completely disappeared!!!! Like mist before the sun....which was exactly what revealed the geography of the beach to her.

The fog evaporated and the day was clear and there was no vessel trapped on the rocks, no ship in sight and only her tracks lay in the sand now, witness to her presence there that morning and no sign of the giant vessel that had visited Yellow Sands' rocks in the mid of morning in the plain light of day.


  1. Ghost ships (pirates and the like) have always fascinated me. The stories terrified me as a kid. Maybe it was being able to lay claim to Blackbeard or living an hour from the beach. *shudder*

  2. Sounds like she saw the infamous Flying Dutchman. I love the ghost ship thing. There were a ton of wrecks off Cape Cod before the Canal was built.

  3. It is one of my favorite parts of the paranormal. The ocean had always fascinated me, not just for the ghosts, but the arcane nature of it.

    Jojo, the Flying Dutchman is apparently only seen around the Cape of Good Hope where it went down, on the west coast by Cape Town. So I don't think this was it, but still, I'm sure there must be many many vessels that still float because of all the wars and accidents over all the centuries.