The stories about the Flying Dutchman have been in news for more than two centuries and continue even today. The story goes something like this: an anxious captain paces the deck of his massive ship as it struggles against a storm. He was vowing to pass the Cape of Good Hope ( a rocky promontory located at the cape peninsula) whatever the cost he had to pay. A mysterious voice hears his oath and as punishment for his recklessness towards the crew, the voice of devil (mysterious voice) condemns him to sail for eternity around the sea of Cape. His glowing ship serves as a warning to the hubris among other mariners of bad weather.
Many legends of pirates and ghost ships exist, but of them the Flying Dutchman is the most popular. Let me answer your curious cravings about the glorious popularity and the history and mystery of the famous ghost ship Flying Dutchman.
1 Legends Of Flying Dutchman From The Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century
Legends vary greatly with time. The most common legend is of the 18th century and it is reported that the captain of the ship was named Bernard Fokke. Once upon a time, he have insisted to cross the known Strait of Magellan in the Cape Horn region despite the protests of his crew. This location is the southernmost point of the American continent.
Navigation activities on the ship was managed by the Portuguese navigator Fernão de Magalhães. As the region is famous for unstable climate and glaciers, it made navigation extremely dangerous and the ship was struggling since its first crossing.
Still, Fokke led his ship down the strait with its dire consequences, from which it would have escaped apparently. The captain overcame the trouble by making a pact with the devil in a bet on a game of dice. Since then the ship and captain have been cursed and condemned to sail perpetually and causing the shipwreck of other vessels that might see him. The legend has it that the captain captured other vessels inside the bottles.
In the equatorial tropics, there are legends that arose in the 17th century about Davy Jones being the captain of the Flying Dutchman. In this legend Davy Jones would be the damned captain of the ship and would be doomed to wander forever in the sea by the sea nymph Calypso, being able to disembark for a day every ten years, this is also the legend used in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.
2 Was This Story True?
The story is supported by ancient documents wherein one can find the record of a royal ship that sailed from Amsterdam in 1680. This ship was indeed reached by a storm on the Cape of Good Hope.
There are in fact several reports about this ship, with a wide variety of details described by the witnesses.
As a true account, during the Second World War, the German Admiral Karl Donitz made an official report to the Nazi government. He sent a letter to Adolf Hitler that his crews have spotted the Flying Dutchman in the course of a battle in Suez and 25 men claimed to have seen the vessel.
Most curious of all is that the ship’s captain’s name Davy Jones emerged in the 17th century and in many European, African and even Australian cultures claim to have seen the ship. But if these sightings are real, it’s still a big mystery.
3 Flying Dutchman Sightings
The legend of Flying Dutchman was first noted in the late 18th century as a famous story of a phantom vessel in the European and American tradition, but its sightings have continued into the 19th and 20th centuries.
There are two cases that either challenge the credibility of the witnesses or support them as real.
A sighting took place during World War II and featured an experienced submarine crew. Karl Donitz, the chief of the submarine fleet made a report to Adolf Hitler himself. In the report, he discouraged the attack action against the Suez Canal in Egypt because the crew of this submarine would have spotted the Flying Dutchman and this would mean bad timing and failure. Hitler thus canceled the operation.
In another famous sighting, future British king George V and his crew of 12 men on their ship, HMS Inconstant, spotted the ghost ship sailing through the wind. This according to the logbook happened on 11 July 1881 when they sailed around Australia. The legend says that Captain Cornelius Vanderdecken was cursed and condemned to wander the seas forever. He lost track of course, the compass swirled and he left going anywhere since.
Some reports mention a crew of skeletons dancing in a chain. It is also heard that the ship has the ability to lure other vessels onto the rocks. The reason may supposedly be that the captain is jealous of other ships who might pass the Cape and will do everything in his power to prevent them, whether that means spoiling their food or ensuring their death in a storm.
4 Flying Dutchman & The Tales Beyond Geographical Boundaries
The legend of the Flying Dutchman is now a part of the folklore of two countries: Holland and South Africa. Stories involving ghost ships are present in the cultures of countries colonized by Europeans, especially in critical points where the sea is brave. Ships that roam eternally, pirates with satanic agreements, supplicants at sea; these all things are part of legends that still told in the Caribbean, in the South of the United States, in South Africa & in Australia, etc.
5 Literary, Imagery & On-screen Adaptations in Artworks & Design
Many painters tried sketching and brushing the Flying Dutchman, the most remarkable being Albert Ryder and Howard Pyle. Ryder’s paintings are displayed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. The Delaware Art Museum houses the painting by Pyle.
A Dutch artist named Joyce Overheul adapted the name of The Flying Dutchman. She used the name in her crochet pattern designs (The Flying Dutchman Crochet Design). The principle behind taking the name of the Flying Dutchman was that the designs had a comparable similarity to roaming the world just like the Flying Dutchman did.
The Flying Dutchman Tobacco was popular as pipes for smoking. It gained appreciation for the packaging and design.
6 In Television Series & Comics
Scooby Doo is undoubtedly the oldest and most loved cartoon show. Back then the show featured a Flying Dutchman. The ghost was featured and modeled as per the illustrator Howard Pyle’s 1900 depiction of the character.
In the animated series named Simpsons, the Captain Horatio McCallister or The Sea Captain, is shown as a sea captain who also owns The Frying Dutchman Restaurant.
An episode of the show Supernatural shows a ghost ship heralding the death of the victims of a first mate’s ghost. One of the characters is seen comparing the ship to the Flying Dutchman.
The show White Collar (2009) features a central character figure that is not even suspected by the FBI. He is thus given the nickname “The Dutchman”, giving a link to the ship.
7 Flying Dutchman in films
A film named Pandora and the Flying Dutchman was made in 1951, and referred to the story of The Flying Dutchman. The movie starred James Mason (who played the Dutch Captain Hendrick van der Zee) and Ava Gardner (who played Pandora). The two hour film, scripted by the director Albert Lewin, showed the Flying Dutchman as a man, not a ship. It has its main action on the Mediterranean coast of Spain during the summer of 1930.
The ship made its first appearance in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean films. It appeared in Dead Man’s Chest (2006) under the command of the fictional captain, Davy Jones.
8 Flying Dutchman in literature
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote the poem- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in 1797-98. The poem has an account of a ghost ship, which may have been influenced by the tale of the Flying Dutchman.
The first Flying Dutchman short story was titled “Vanderdecken’s Message Home; or, the Tenacity of Natural Affection” and was published in Blackwood’s during 1821.
Another adaptation named The Flying Dutchman on Tappan Se was brought up by Washington Irving (1855). The captain in his adaptation is named Ramhout van Dam. The story had already been used by Irving in his Bracebridge Hall (1822).
9 Flying Dutchman in Music
A reference to the Flying Dutchman was made by Jimmy Buffett in his 1995 song “Remittance Man”, from the album Barometer Soup.
Rufus Wainwright in the song “Flying Dutchman”, from the album Poses, refers to the Flying Dutchman.
Jole Richard Hughes, (stage name S3RL) sang a song titled “Flying Dutchman”. The song was about the tales and legends based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman itself.
10 Flying Dutchman in leisure
A roller coaster in The Efteling amusement park in the Netherlands is called as The Flying Dutchman. It features a character named Willem van der Decken.
The World of Fun is an amusement park in Kansas City, Missouri. It features a swinging boat ride called The Flying Dutchman.
The Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland features a painting of the Flying Dutchman.
In Disneyland Shanghai, the park’s Pirates of the Caribbean Ride features a battle between ships under the sea; one of which is the “Flying Dutchman”.
11 Flying Dutchman in aviation
Image Credit – Pinterest
The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has a reference to the endless traveling aspect of the story by having The Flying Dutchman painted on the rear sides of on all its aircraft with regular colors.
12 Flying Dutchman in education
The Flying Dutchman is found referred in numerous educational institutes. The important and well-known cases are of them are-
The Flying Dutchmen is the name given to The Lebanon Valley College. Its mascot is that of the “The Flying Dutchman”. The nickname came up owing to the Pennsylvania Dutch Country location of the college.
The Flying Dutchman name was unofficially given to The Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. The University and its residence halls had many references to Dutch culture.
Founded by the settlers from the Netherlands in 1866, the Hope College in Holland, Michigan, is also the home of “The Flying Dutchman”.