The Real Story of Davy Jones Locker and the Flying Dutchman
Pirates of the Caribbean movies have renewed interest in such folkloric figures as Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman, while simultaneously muddling their stories. At no time was Davy Jones captain of the famed ghost ship.
“Davy Jones’s Locker” is an old seafaring term for the bottom of the ocean, the grave of all who perish at sea. There are numerous tales about the origin of the expression, most of which attempt to identify a real Davy Jones. One version has Jones running a pub in London, where he press-ganged unwary customers into serving aboard pirate ships by drugging them and then storing them in the pubs ale Cellar or Locker. other stories relate Jones to Jonah, the biblical figure who spent 3 days and nights trapped in the belly of a big fish.
The term “The Flying Dutchman” is often used to refer to a ghost ship that is doomed to sail the oceans forever, but it is more accurately a reference to the captain of the Ghost Ship. Legend holds that in 1680, Dutch Captain Hendrik Van Der Decken’s ship was wrecked in a terrible storm off the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa. As the ship sank, the captain’s dying words were a vow to successfully round the infamous Cape even if it took him until Doomsday.
Over the years, whenever there is stormy weather off the Cape, seafarers have reported seeing a phantom ship battling the waves, with a ghostly captain at the wheel. In 1939, dozens of swimmers on a South African beach reported sighting a 17th-century merchant vessel off the coast and then seeing it suddenly vanish Into thin air.
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