The World’s Most Famous Ghost Ship Is an Enduring Symbol of Empire

28 Oct
A painting from 1683 shows Dutch East India Company ships in South Africa's Table Bay, the northern end of the Cape of Good Hope.

A painting from 1683 shows Dutch East India Company ships in South Africa’s Table Bay, the northern end of the Cape of Good Hope. PUBLIC DOMAIN

IT’S SAID THAT NOT ALL who wander are lost, and that’s mostly true. Some are just damned for all eternity—like the crew of the Flying Dutchman, perhaps the most infamous ghost ship to haunt the seven seas.

But before it sailed all seven, serving as an omen of doom for any sailor who saw it, the Dutchman made its name off the coast of Africa—as an English creation dressed up in Dutch clothing, says Agnes Andeweg, a literature professor at University College Utrecht who specializes in Dutch literature and cultural memory.

So begins Isaac Schultz’s fascinating report on the backstory of the Flying Dutchman legend. You may read the entire piece at Atlas Obscura here.

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