In October, 2015, the first of 14 ‘ghost’ ships mysteriously started drifting near to the shores of Japan. One right after the other, over a period of several months, old, rickety, wooden ships, with flat bottomed hulls and none more than thirty feet in length, eerily drifted into the calmer waters along the 1000 mile coastline of western Japan. Before the silent argosy would cease, 14, of these seemingly spirit driven vessels would perch themselves for onlookers to gawk at from the shores.
And gawk they did, shaking their heads back and forth to one another, whispering as they watched for a moment as the Citizens Coast Guard towed a small, strange looking vessel along slowly behind itself.
‘Oh, dear,” they would say. “Not another one.”
But yes, it was another one. This inconceivable horror is a mysterious phenomenon that has happened quite frequently along the western shores of Japan for nearly six years now. And each time is as gruesome as the last.
On board these silent, drifting vessels, that are very heavy and quite old, with an engine that appears as ancient as the sea itself, are the skeletal remains and decomposing bodies, some without heads, some without arms or legs, of the faceless, and, eternally now, nameless seamen that have come to find themselves drifting without certain course on the great Sea of Japan. The dead are dressed in civilian garb and they all appear to be males but, due to the advanced state of decay, it is quite difficult to be certain.
Although the true number of dead, that have drifted to the shores of Japan via these strange little ships, has never been revealed, it is fair to say that, without doubt, there have been hundreds.
These strange “corpse filled ships” started appearing in 2011. They came, much like the ones that continue to come even to this day, one right after the other, in a slow, almost hypnotic procession, drifting silently across the sea, carrying their dead toward a shore that has come to expect them and to a monastery that immediately cremates the unknown dead and harbors their ashes in a Buddhist compound. The boats are dismantled and burned at once.
In 2011, 65 dead arrived silently from the Sea of Japan. 2012 brought 47 more. 2013 carried with it 80 decomposed bodies and 2014 declared 65 more. 40 came with the 14 ‘ghost ships’ in 2015 and the count in 2016 has yet to be revealed.
It can be said that a lot of strange things drift ashore from the depths of the seas on every continent in the world. But by far, the ‘ghost ships’ of Japan are definitely one of the most mysterious and creepy.