Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flying Dutchman

The Buffalo Courier

Saturday July 9, 1892


How This Remarkable Legend Has

Been Popularized.

Chicago Herald.

One of the most remarkable legends of the

sea is due to an atmospheric peculiarity in the

vicinity of the Cape of Good Hope.  The air

in that region had the extraordinary power of

unequal refraction, similar to that known to

exist  on the boundless prairies of Kansas, Nebraska,

and the Dakotas. On the great waste

 of waters which surround Good Hope the Phenomena

appears in the shape of spectral

looming, or apparent  suspension in the air, of

ships that are so far away that they cannot be

seen on the surface of the water.

These phantom-like ships suspended in mid-

air have given rise to the weird legend of the

“Flying Dutchman.”  According to the story,

which is known to be at least 400 years old, a

Dutch captain, homeward bound from the

East Indies, met with long-continued bad

weather, coupled with the wind blowing

“dead ahead.”  At the time when he was

making an effort to “turn the Cape” he was

advised to turn back and seek shelter until the

gale was over, but this he refused to do, swearing

all the while that he would “turn the

Cape’ or beat there until the day of judgment.

For this profanity, according to the

tradition, he was doomed to beat against the

winds forever.

By the sailors in the South Seas his ship is

believed to have become rotten with age, the

sails bleached and mildewed, and the crew of

the vessel reduced to shadowy skeletons.  They

have not the strength to lower a boat, but

occasionally the captain is said to hail passing

vessels, imploring rescue for himself and crew,

or at least, to take letters home to Faderland.

Taken all in all, it is a most remarkable

legend, almost equal to that of “The Wandering Jew.”

Original story from microfilm records at,
 Buffalo Erie County Public Library Central Library
1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14203

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