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Ghost Ship on the Gulf

Posted on September 22, 2009

My ghost story started on July 3rd , 2009. What we had planned was a family outing, what we got was an adventure of a lifetime.

I’ve been trying for several months to get my wife to agree to an overnight trip out on the Gulf Of Mexico. My (Melissa) would say “David (that’s me), We’ll drift off and end up in Mexico”. Finally I got her brother “Mike” and his girlfriend “Georgia” on board with the overnight camp out plan I had. My 15 yr old son (Cody) was looking forward to a camp out on the water since the first day I mentioned it. Melissa reluctantly agreed to go along after finding that her brother was on board with the plan.

On July 3rd this year, we worked our way through the crowded boat ramp with our supplies in hand at Crystal River’s public access in Florida. After taking what seemed like forever to find a place to park the truck, we were on our way. The channel heading out to the Gulf was crowded with boaters getting ready to celebrate the coming holiday.

Crystal River

Crystal River

Our 24 foot cabin cruiser usually handled rough water rather well, but today with all the boats, it might as well been a hurricane out there. Waves were three or more feet and they were hitting us from every direction. Melissa and Georgia were in the cabin trying to keep things from falling off the shelves. Cody was in his all time favorite spot way up on the bow. Mike was with me in the cockpit.

As we went past Shell Island at the entrance to the Gulf, Mike pointed out how packed the Island was with people camping. I told Mike the engine sounded like it was running good and strong today and maybe we should go out on the Gulf ten miles or so to get away from all the commotion. Mike agreed and the way we went.

We went 20 miles west of Shell Island before the water was calm and the other boaters were few and far between. We decided another 5 miles would be just about perfect. Judging from the fuel gauge, we were still looking pretty good.

Crystal River

Crystal River

So here we are 25 miles from any source of land and we found a nice 33 foot hole to drop our anchor in. The water fairly calm, not real calm but calm enough to keep the boat from rocking.

Cody was fishing off the bow, Melissa and Georgia were cooking on the deck , Mike and I were just setting back telling fish stories and reminiscing things from our childhoods. We weren’t really paying much attention to the time, and before we knew it night was starting to set in.  I told Mike that my plans were to stay a little closer to Shell Island and then catch the fireworks over King’s Bay the next night. Mike on the other hand was quite happy right where we were. I had Cody pull the anchor up, and we started heading due east. We only made it another 4 miles before I was having a hard time seeing what was ahead and I really didn’t want to wrap my boat around a channel marker or run up on one of the many oyster bars. We manage to find another hole that was 27 feet deep and I could here the local chatter over the marine vhf radio. We dropped one anchor over the back and my storm anchor over the front (just to put Melissa at ease over drifting). The GPS said we were staying perfectly still.

I had two brand new marine batteries onboard and we were on battery 1, so leaving the anchor light and fans on all night wasn’t a problem at all. I could switch to battery 2 in the morning to start up and head back in. Long about 11pm Melissa and Georgia were in the cabin with the table set up playing cards. Cody decided he had enough and was snoring away in the bunk. Mike and I were trying our luck at some night fishing and listening to a few cd’s.

The fish were biting better than good. It seemed as soon as the bait hit the water we had a fish on. It was mostly black tip sharks and now and then we would land a sea trout. Then it was like someone flipped a switch, our bait sat in the water without even a nibble. Mike made the comment that maybe we caught them all. I just laughed it off and continued fishing.

Mike was up on the bow with his pole and I was sitting in the back, all was silent except for the women and their card game. All at once Mike yells “Dave, did you hear that?”. I told him I didn’t hear a thing. Mike said “ I heard a bell ring about three times or so”. I told mike I thought it was a screw that came loose in his head. A few minutes later just as Mike said “do you hear it?” I heard it as well. I heard a bell ring three times that sounded like it came from the south west. I stood up and looked and at the same time Mike and I saw what looked like a light flickering in the distance. The light was exactly south west  from our position. We heard the bell again, exactly three times.

I felt a panic in my chest, I thought we had drifted and it was a lighted buoy  with a bell (probably Port Richy or Tampa). I got up and ran over to the GPS to see where we moved to. The GPS showed us on the exact spot we anchored. I shut the GPS unit off and turned it back on just to refresh the satellites and make sure it wasn’t stuck. It still showed us dead on the anchor spot. We checked the anchors to make sure they were secure, they were. By now we were hearing faint voices coming from that direction. Mike and I agreed that it must be another family on a boat spending the night. Then we wondered if the three rings from the bell meant they were in trouble. I tried to call the other vessel on the marine radio, with no luck. I left the radio on scan, just incase we were on different channels.

By now the women were up in arms and panicking. Cody was out of bed and wondering what all the commotion was. Mike suggested we pull anchor and go see if they needed help. I on the other hand decided that we should hold off a few minutes and think things over before possibly putting ourselves in harms way. It’s hard to see the shallows and oyster bars in the pitch black night.

Thirty minutes had gone by and the bell was still ringing, the light was still flickering and the voices were getting somewhat louder. I even thought that the ringing was more distinct and the light was brighter than before. I wasn’t sure if they were or if it just seemed that way because I was tuned in on them.

Another half an hour had gone by and sure enough, they were getting closer. I knew we weren’t moving, but they were headed our way. It’s now 1:30AM and some vessel or something is headed our way. It wouldn’t be long before we would see it.

I started the motor to not only bring battery number 1 up to charge, but to have enough power to work the spotlight. I wanted whoever was out there to know where we were. I did not want some partying drunks to run into the side of us. Besides, maybe we could see what was going on and if someone needed help, we could help.

The spotlight in their direction showed absolutely nothing. The odd thing was that with the spotlight off, they looked to be no more than 400 yards away and closing in. We couldn’t see their flickering light with the spotlight on, so Mike thought it would be good to shut it down and wait until they came in closer.

The flickering light had stopped along with the bell. We all sat on deck in total silence waiting for the next little sound that would indicate that they were still out there.

A half hour had passed with no sounds, no lights and no voices. A cool breeze had picked up and there was a light to moderate chop on the water. Not a one of us felt the least bit tired. We were all wide eyed and waiting for the next thing to happen.

The marine radio started making a loud static sound, which scared the living daylights out of every one of us. After messing with the radio trying to quiet it down, I gave up and shut the radio off.

We were all setting there talking softly as if someone might hear what we were saying when Mike’s jaw about hit the floor. Mike was looking behind me and not saying a word. I said “what?”. Mike still said nothing. Georgia (who was sitting by Mike Said “Oh My God!!). Melissa and I both turned around to see what was going on.

Still today I have a hard time believing what I saw. No more than 25 yards from us was a huge and I do mean HUGE wooden ship of some sort. This large wooden vessel just sat there and it looked to be as real as you and I. I could see every fine detail of this large boat. My heart was pounding and my mind was on pause. I never heard a sound as this thing pulled right up behind where I was sitting. We could all hear the sounds of people moving around on board and voices that we couldn’t quite make out. I think part of the reason we couldn’t make out the voices was due to a language barrier or something. It sounded sort of like English, but not exactly. Very hard to explain.

We all sat there for God only knows how long. It was as if we were paralyzed and all track of time was lost. That being said, I’m not sure how long the ship sat there beside us or how long before other events started taking place.

The bell rang three more times. This time it was louder than ever, startling us all. Three men looked over the side of the great ship down at us and one of them yelled (amazingly in plain English) “hail, hail, hail, heed my words”. There was a slight pause then the man yelled down to us again “ we have been sent to deliver a message to you and to those who would listen. Due to the ways of this world you live in, you are going to see world turmoil as never seen before. Prepare yourselves, the signs of the times are at hand”.

The men then vanished back onto the boat and the boat started to drift off. Mike was the first to speak “get the light, I didn’t catch the name of the boat”. We spot lighted for 20 minutes or so, but never saw the ship. It was like it vanished into thin air.

I marked that spot on my GPS and Mike and I have been back to that spot many times with cameras trying to get some sort of proof that we’re not insane. The only thing we’ve seen since we went back was a light in the distance and the faint sound of a bell ringing three times. The great wooden ship never came back to us. I guess maybe we all went insane there for a little while. If you don’t believe this story, well that’s okay, I have a hard time believing it myself, and I was there.

Sent in by David, Copyright 2009 TrueGhostTales.com

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20 Responses to “Ghost Ship on the Gulf”
  1. Karen M. says:

    Wow that is so cool, I wish I would of saw that! There is one ghost ship that keeps showing up around the coast of California, but I can’t remember the name!

  2. DarStarr says:

    Thanks for the great story, but you have totally creeped me out now! That prophecy is extremely scary, especially in these times!

  3. Kris C. says:

    This is really scary along with the predictions of the world coming to an end in 2012 by the Nostradamas and the Mayan calendar estimations.

  4. Tammy says:

    this is very interesting, a good ghost story.

  5. Christina says:

    Amazing and well told story. I doesn’t scare me in the ‘end of the world’ way, but it definitely is creepy. It’s also a warning and if it takes others from other times to make us clean up our act then so bet it. People have the power to change destructive paths, we just have to make that stand and use our energy and strength to change things, for the better.

  6. child like says:


  7. jimmy says:

    GREAT STORY! i only wish i could have been there. ive really gotten more into ghost in the past couple of years and i would love to see or even just experience something as “exciting” as what you’ve experienced. good luck on trying to take pics. if you do post them. Thanks again for the story

  8. meli§a says:

    very well told story. indeed that is very scary about what you & everyone with you witnessed. however, i don’t believe the world is going to end in 2012, everyone thought the same thing when year 2000 occured. please let us know if you ever encounter this again. very creeeepy!!

    thank you =]

  9. DarStarr says:

    I agree with you. I don’t beleive the world is going to end in 2012 either. I remember growing up and being maybe 5 or 6 years old and my sister being all worried because the world was going to end. I actually think the worlds ended about 20 times since I was a kid! LOL
    I do believe this world is in turmoil, and that there is more to come, but I don’t believe it is going to end.

  10. Tony L says:

    I don’t believe in any of that “Nostradamas” hoopla. He just had a good promoter. His predictions are so vague they could mean anything. Not one of his predictions ever fortold of anything before hand. People have read things into them afterwards. BUT, the mayan calender thing and the Bible code both predicting the same date does make it interesting. I layed in bed just before going to sleep last night after watching a true crime episode and seeing the fiance three and a half months pregnant and the murdered mans mom going to a survivors of violent crimes support group, and all the others turning loose balloons with emotional sentiments written on them, into the sky. As I stared at the back of my eyelids my heart filled with grief at the atrocities mankind commits against itself. I realized that we were not going to make it as a species. It would take the return of the Lord and the fullfillment of all that was written in the word. The promis was all we had to look forward to. without it all would be lost. The realization of that relieved me though because I then had something to look forward to.

  11. NimNod the She Goat.... says:

    Actually I believe this one, how bizarre is that?
    Hate the message foretells doom and gloom though.

  12. Tony L says:

    I think I believe this one too. I bet there are many many others out there who will never come out with what they are experiencing and dreaming in these times. It would be out right scary to hear or read all of them.

  13. rozzy says:

    WOW…cool story. Very interesting.

  14. David says:

    We’ve tried to go out there with a camera and a video camera a few more times, to see if we could capture some kind of proof of this. Not so much to prove it to others, but to prove it to ourselves. I think twice out of about 8 trips out there we could hear the bell and see a flickering light in the distance, but never really saw the ship or it’s passengers. We considered that this could of all been some sort of practical joke on us, but it would of been a very well played out one. Trips out there are expensive and money is tight right now, so I don’t plan on making any more trips out there for a while. Between gas and over night supplies we were spending around $250 a trip.

    With any luck maybe somebody else will see this and have a way of photographing it. I looked online for similar stories and did run across a couple of ghost ship stories that were a little more south from here (Tampa area). I’ve never really been much of a believer in this sort of thing. I’m still not sure that I believe what I and the others onboard saw.

  15. Jodie says:

    Great story – thanks for sharing your experience!
    Creepy warning…but I don’t believe in that whole 2012 End of the World fluff that people post about. If the Mayans could predict the end of the world as we know it, why didn’t they foresee their own demise? LOL

  16. DarStarr says:

    How very right you are!!! LOL!

  17. David says:

    I don’t believe this message had anything to do with the 2012. I just got the feeling that things are going to get a whole lot worse before they got better.

    My son and I will be out fishing that same area Sunday. If nothing for nothing else, it’s an excellent fishing hole

  18. Tony L says:

    I don’t think I buy into the 2012 thing either. It says in the bible that we wont know the time. But I do believe life on this rock will get worse before it gets better. The common decency man (or woman) needs to feel for their fellow man does not exist. Looking at us as a species it saddens me. Why should we be worth saving? Our only hope is a loving God. I would imagine there are signs of the times all around us if we saw them.

  19. David says:

    We’ve been out in this area several times fishing and nothing has happened since. We went out Saturday late afternoon to do a little fishing and ended up spending the night. Before we left I looked up the tide charts, the weather charts, but I forgot to check the moon. I thought, “nice clear sky, the moon will be bright”… Wrong!! More like, no moon in sight.

    I can navigate my boat almost anywhere as long as I have a little bit of moon lighting alng with my GPS. Saturday night was so dark I couldn’t see three feet in front of the boat. My running lights weren’t much help other than keeping other boats from running into us. The bulb in my spotlight decided it was time for replacement as soon as I flipped it on. I thought things might happen out there the way things were already going, but nothing. It was just a peaceful night.

    Maybe next time.

  20. Julie says:

    Oh my God..this gave me chills! It’s so prophetic… and it makes a lot of sense considering how things are going not so well…

    Wow what an amazing experience!! I wish I could have seen it. Hmmm…I have an uncle living in Florida who owns a boat…maybe I can make him go check it out. =D

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