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Urban Legend : The Story of the Ghost Ship S.S. Ourang Medan

The frightening story of the S.S. Ourang Medan is as whimsical as Blackbeard’s headless body swimming around his ship before sinking under the depths. Despite the intrigue, it is a mystery that’s gone unsolved to this day! This seemingly impossible event is believed to have happened in the 1940s. Based on the story, the S.S. Ourang Medan Dutch boat was passing through the Malacca Strait when it ran afoul of a mysterious catastrophe. Ships that were nearby reported getting a horrifying distress call. “All officers including the priest died, lying in the chart room and also on the bridge, probably the whole crew dead,” it said. There was a frenzy of Morse code. In the end, the radio operator had the final word: “I die.”

Is The Crew Cursed?

Rescuers who stopped the vessel, it is said, found the boat as depicted. The crew was dead, their bodies strewn around the decks. Teeth bared, into the sun using their upturned faces, staring, as though in fear. Even the dog of the ship was dead, suspended within this weird state, mid-growl with an assailant or horror unknown!

That is just the start of the mystery of the Ourang Medan. Reports go on to suggest that after the boat has been staged, a fire broke out forcing individuals who had arrived to evacuate. After they did, the ship exploded with a force before sinking without a trace. Eventually, it had been lifted out of the ocean.

This leaves us with not merely one but two mysteries to think about: what triggered the subsequent explosion, and what resulted in the death of the Ourang Medan’s crew?

The Facts Of The Matter?

This renowned story leads to many types of endings. Most importantly, there’s neither the mention of the S.S. Ourang Medan’s registration in Lloyd’s Transportation enrols nor in any official record of this eccentric “incident” onboard been detected. The reason the date of the event has been tough to pinpoint is that paper reports tell versions of the narrative over a while, each embellishing and incorporating details along the way. Nevertheless, believers assert this narrative is real.

It’s said that the boat’s registry wasn’t discovered because it was enrolled in Sumatra. The vessel’s name translates to “Man in Medan”–Medan is a town in Sumatran island. Professor Theodor Siersdorfer who has been pondering the situation for a half-century, found that an old German book is entitled Das Totenschiffin der Südsee (1953), or The Death Ship. Courtesy of now-deceased scholar Otto Mielke, this booklet is believed by some to provide proof as was its tragic fate, that the ship was actual. It delivers an intriguing potential regarding the origin of the explosion that caused the Ourang Medan to the depths.

Das Totenschiffin der Südsee indicates that potassium cyanide and nitroglycerine have been stored in the ship’s hold. This could undoubtedly clarify the sudden accidental destruction in addition to the nebulous character of any documents of the vessel. From the tense climate at the end of World War II, those were sensitive materials to be hauled and could spark an incident if they are used carelessly.

So, What Happened?

Most reports claim the bodies were unwounded, although an attack definitely wouldn’t be out of this question. The circumstances hint towards discharge of harmful gases–another controversial and volatile, yet familiar, cargo in the international climate. The potential for the supernatural incident was raised, and that is impossible to confirm. There are actually many loose ends here, but one thing is for sure: the situation is just one of the most fascinating in nautical history. Much like Jack the Ripper’s identity and many other mysteries, it is a precisely impossible character that continues to capture our imaginations.

Ready to start your getaway to Medan and The Ghost Ship? Visit Wonderful Indonesia, and don’t miss out on the magic!

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