Friday, October 27, 2017

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is a nautical legend about a ghost ship that sails the oceans forever. Superstitious sailors claim that sighting the Flying Dutchman is a sure sign of doom and misfortune. The earliest literary reference claimed this Dutchman was lost attempting to round the Cape [of Good Hope] in a storm.

In 1941 journalist Aycock Brown told this Outer Banks story about the wreck of the Maurice R. Thurlow:

"Few ships have ever grounded on Diamond Shoals and come off – that is, nothing came off except the wreckage which usually fetches up on Ocracoke Beach. The Maurice R. Thurlow was a notable exception. She struck in a storm on October 13, 1927. The lookout at Cape Hatteras station, 10 miles northeast of Ocracoke Island, sighted her distress signal and motor lifeboats put out and saved the crew of nine.

"When the morning of the fourteenth dawned, the Thurlow had vanished. It could not have broken up in that time – although stranger things happen in the Graveyard of the Atlantic – so the Coast Guard Cutter Mascoutin was dispatched from Norfolk to search for her. The cutter found no trace, but 13 days later a Dutch oil tanker sighted the vessel in the North Atlantic. More Coast Guard vessels put out to run down the Flying Dutchman, but she was never sighted again – a phantom ship."

Click here for more about the Legend of the Flying Dutchman.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a transcription of a letter describing the September, 1944, hurricane, its aftermath and cleanup. You can read the letter, with vintage photographs added, here:  

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