Sailors have a deep respect for the sea, mainly because it can be a very dangerous place to be. The ocean has no rules, and it bows down to no one. Going out to sea can be dangerous for that fact alone; you never know what mother nature has in store for you. Many sailors have superstitions based on old legends of the sea. They hold tight to those legends out of fear that something bad may happen to them if they don’t. The ocean is indeed a mysterious place and one that can also be frightening at times. There are many stories of unexplained things that happen at sea, and there is no better person than a sailor to tell those stories.
On the open sea, there are many mysterious happenings going on. Some things can be explained while many cannot. Many sailors have been witness to some creepy and scary things out at sea and lived to tell about these strange tales. They were lucky enough to see things that not everyone gets to see and then walked away with their lives. We have compiled a list of the creepiest tales told by sailors who witnessed some mysterious things while out at sea. Sailors, fishermen, and other people often out at sea tell their shocking tales that will leave you lying awake at night.
15. An Alien Sighting
Oh, we know they’re out there, but one sailor is sure that he saw one on radar.
“I was on an aircraft carrier. No flight operations, I was the junior guy that had to sit around and watch the radar/ CNN/ basic instinct on a continuous loop. I noticed a blip which was no big deal. Either commercial or a French carrier (Foch?) had something go on; however, the next blip showed it had traveled quite a distance. At seven seconds per sweep, it was running over 2,000 MPH. My first thought was that it was an SR-71 type badass, but my radar was for ATC; that thing would have to be pretty low for me to see it (50,000 feet, tops). The next return verified the speed. It was the fourth turn that qualifies as ‘creepy.’ The aircraft had turned 90 degrees. It was headed south; then it turned east. We had planes that could run that fast, but nothing that could turn that fast (that I’m aware of, in the early 90s). Another sweep and it was gone. Both of us were pretty excited about it. Reported it up and they blew it off. So, I don’t know about cow mutilation or alien abductions, things like that, but I was (am) absolutely convinced I saw a UFO.” (Reddit)
14. Dying Soldiers
Wartime can be a terrifying time, and for people who go to war, it often leaves a mark on their soul that can never be removed. There are plenty of things in a war that no one should ever have to see. In the case of one sailor, he experienced something at sea that was not paranormal but was horrifying just the same.
“One of my uncles was on a sub in the South Pacific during WWII. After they’d sink a ship, they’d surface. The crew of the enemy ship would swim to their sub and clung to it as it submerged. Many sleepless nights filled with nightmares of men pounding, scratching and screaming as they slowly drowned. (Ranker)” Talk about a horrifying thing to have to witness. They obviously wouldn’t have been allowed to help their enemy, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t feel for the loss of human life.
13. Floating Woman
Here’s a story of woman seen floating on the water.
“Damo and his dad were on the second night of a trip deep sea fishing, and they decided to get some sleep in the early evening so they could finish at 1 am. Around 12:30 am they started to set their gear up and, as they were on the starboard side getting bait ready, they heard a loud splash on the port side. Floating face up in the water only a few feet from the side of the boat was a young woman. She showed absolutely no signs of decomposition/bloating and she barely looked wet. She showed no signs of ‘damage’ like having been beaten or attacked and her eyes and mouth were shut. They tried to wake her up, and they threw a line to her hoping they may catch her enough to pull her back in. Damo ran to call the coastguard, and when he got back, she had vanished. They couldn’t just leave a potential dead/unconscious body floating in the water, jumped in and swam over to where she had last been, hoping he may find her under the surface but they couldn’t find anything.”
12. A Missing Plane
There’s nothing like pulling up your net to find an airplane in it. Yes, that’s right. A few sailors found a small airplane caught in one of their nets. That’s certainly something you don’t see every day.
“My dad was a fisherman for 16 years. He told me that one time when he and the crew were out fishing, they caught a plane in their net. Not a big airplane but one of those small planes that can seat 2-4 people. With two decomposing bodies in the front. Turned out to be a plane that had disappeared a few months earlier.”(Ranker) The plane had obviously been reported missing, but it’s kind of odd that no one did a real search of the area where the plane could have gone down. The bodies had been there for months with no one looking for them.
11. The Raft Without an Occupant
Your sailing, minding your own business when…
“I found myself, on my ship, somewhere in the vast expanses of the South Pacific Ocean. We had been cautiously avoiding big storms which I knew to be ALL around us (out further than the eye can see) although our local ocean area was calm and peaceful. I was on watch when I noticed something out there, in the distance, bobbing along — that I had never seen before, especially this far from land. As I got closer, I identified what was clearly a makeshift raft, made from lashed-together bamboo, with a snapped mast, and an empty cooler moored to the deck. Upon this raft was not a soul. The chances of coming across a raft, to begin with, are small enough in that part of the ocean. Thinking about the person(s) who once sailed that raft, why they sailed, and how they met their fate — that was what creeped me out.” (Reddit)
10. Underwater Visitors
These Coast Guard guys really see a lot of weird sh*t…
“I am in the US Coast Guard, and I recently was assigned to a ship. I was going through our log books to look up something and noticed that on the bridge an ‘Unknown Blue Light’ was observed beneath the water’s surface the night before. This intrigued, me, so I started looking through more of the logs. Apparently, every two to three weeks they enter lights of varying colors in places you would not expect. Usually white, red or green lights are on the horizon, or in the sky (ships and aircraft). But they seem to report colored lights under the water, sometimes moving around, sometimes stationary. Lights in the sky that are moving at extreme speeds then immediately stopping or disappearing altogether. Sometimes lights are visible to the naked eye, but when we try to look at it with FLIR or night vision, they are undetectable.” (Reddit)
9. A Hanging Man
People choose very unusual places to kill themselves, and in one case, a sailor found a man dead on his boat out at sea. He may have believed that he wanted to die in a place that he loved the most, out at sea. It’s a tragic story but one that has an eerie and haunting quality to it.
“I came across a man who’d hung himself on his boat 5 or 6 miles offshore about 4 or 5 years ago. The eerie and truly creepy part was realizing what it was. We just saw a boat out in the middle of ocean’s nowhere without anything other than blue horizon in sight, at the break of dawn, and there was fairly thick fog, as it had rained the night before. Realizing that the figure hanging from the boom was a man was one of the most haunting things I’ll ever see.” (Reddit)
8. Catching a Torso
Sailors and fishermen often find some pretty crazy things in their nets once they bring them up out of the water. But can you imagine finding some body parts when you do so?
“My father back in his commercial fishing days noticed that there was a t-shirt in the middle of his net after one tow. After a little investigation, he found that it was not a shirt, but a human torso wearing a shirt. He said he was terrified that he would open the net and a head would roll out onto his feet, but it didn’t happen. His captain radioed ahead, and they brought the torso back to the docks, where they were met by the police and a coroner. They were eventually able to identify the body (based on the clothing) as a victim of a plane crash that had occurred fairly recently. My dad said he offered a free lobster to the coroner, who graciously accepted it until he found out that it had been found in the net with the body. After that, he got angry and told him to throw it back. (Reddit)”
7. The Drowning Man
Many sailors see bodies out at sea, and sometimes they can be a trick of the mind. In a few of these cases, these bodies are paranormal in nature. In this next case, it’s hard to tell if the sailor saw a drowning man or a ghost.
“I had just reported aboard my first ship. We were in port (Brooklyn, NY), and I was over the side, on a camel (a long wooden raft that kept the ship away from the pier), scrubbing the side of the bow with a push broom. This was in December, on the East River. The river was moving swiftly and was rough. It was a cold, dreary, crappy day! Anyway, I’m scrubbing away and looking around when I see an arm raise up from the river! Just as I start to call out about this and point, it sinks out of sight! Everyone thinks I’m nuts now and starts to rag on me. I can still see this in my mind, though it’s been almost 40 years. (Reddit)”
6. Jellyfish Invasion
One sailor found a jellyfish invasion creepy because he had never heard of an occasion in which jellyfish, especially giant jellyfish, would surround a boat in a thunderstorm. The crew wondered if it was some anomaly caused by the storm.
“I was sailing by the coast of Okinawa when a thunderstorm started up in the middle of the night. Strangely, the ocean was completely still, and the weather was giving us a wonderful light show. Lightning would strike the water and light up everything around us. Suddenly, lightning struck near our boat, and we saw the most incredible sight. Jellyfish. Jellyfish everywhere. These were not the usual jellyfish that you see around the US; these things were HUGE. The lightning would strike the water, and the jellyfish would light up. The ocean literally looked like it glowed purple and red that night.” (Reddit)
5. Alien Invasion
This one is a little crazy…
“Overnight fishing trip out on George’s Bank in the middle of summer. It was around 3 am and complete dark with no cloud cover or anything, stars were amazing. I go into the cabin to grab my beer, and as I turn to look at the stern of the boat, it was about as bright as dead noon with no clouds on the back deck and surrounding area of the boat. Like someone put a Hollywood spotlight or 5 directly onto us. I blinked a few times and ran towards the back but as soon as I came out from under the cabin overhang, it was even darker than before I went inside (like when emerging from a bright room into a dark one and your eyes haven’t adjusted yet. Anyway, I woke everyone up and explained this and they told me I probably fell asleep and was dreaming. To this day… what happened, I’ll never know for sure.” (Reddit)
4. Deep Sea Monsters
There are many theories out there that there are creatures in the ocean that we have never seen before — giant beasts that live in the depths of the ocean and are thousands of years old. One crew of sailors may have run into one of those creatures.
“My dad’s crew was shark fishing off the bank of a smaller tanker ship, basically attaching meat chunks to hooks and throwing them off the back to trawl in the ocean (South East Asia/Australia area). My dad for fun made up this large (steel alloy? described it as being incredibly durable) hook to use. They attach a large chunk of meat to it and throw it off the back. A while later they haul it back in, only to find the meat is gone and the hook is bent completely straight. There was nothing it could have snagged on in the deep ocean as the boat was driving through. My dad and the crew were sufficiently unnerved, to think that something large down there could bend a large hook like that.” (Ranker)”
3. Ghostly Sailors
What would you do if you saw a ghost walk through the wall of an engine room? Aside from poop my pants, I can’t imagine what I would do. In the case of one sailor, he was starting to get used to seeing a particular ghost, and they often just stared at each other.
“My dad was a sailor, and he said that there was a ghost in the engine room. He said that weird stuff would happen during the night shift, and once, when he was alone in the engine room, he saw it staring at him before it walked through the wall.”(Ranker) That would require me changing jobs or at least getting moved to a different ship. Sometimes, spirits get attached to people, and it would be possible that it would just follow the sailor wherever he went. It was even possible that it was the ghost of someone who was once on the same ship.
2. Or Maybe It’s The Mist
The idea that you could be in fog so thick at sea that you can’t see anything is terrifying. What’s worse is imagining what’s on the other side of the fog.
“Fog at sea at night really f*cks up your senses. Everything is quiet, and you can’t see anything but the boat immediately around you. You keep looking for lights on other ships and listening for fog horns or the sound of engines in the distance, and your brain starts playing all manners of tricks on you. In a busy shipping lane, it’s a serious business, and in a very real way, it could be life or death if you miss a ship that hits you and sinks you. You start to see lights everywhere around you. You start hearing engines creeping up on you. You stop your boat and cut the engine to see if you hear anything real, and you enter an even stranger world of sensory deprivation. It’s eerie as hell.” (Ranker)
1. In Remembrance of 9/11
When you’re honoring the dead, and the dead literally arrive, what would you think? It sounds like the making of a pretty creepy story, if you ask me.
“Well I’m no sailor, but am in the military. On 9/11 2013 I was on a ship in the Red Sea. We were having a ceremony in remembrance of 9/11 when up floats a dead body right next to the ship. We were all locked down pretty quickly so that they could send out a couple of small boats to retrieve it. Never did hear anything more about it. Pretty damn weird if you ask me though.”(Reddit)
Talk about a mysterious happening… and what are the chances of it occurring at a moment when the crew was paying homage to the dead? It’s still a mystery as to whose body it was and why it was just floating around there, but I think there’s a lot more to that story.