5. The Knifenose Chimaera
Fisherman off of Newfoundland, Canada caught this rarely-seen deep sea fish in March 2016. The creature looks like a Halloween prop with its sword-like nose, neon-green eyes, and wing-like fins. Also known as the longnose chimaera and the ghost shark, the bizarre-looking fish was dragged to the surface in a net by fisherman from Nova Scotia.
4. Letter From a Soldier Killed in World War One
In 1999, Steve Gowan was fishing off the coast of Essex, England when he found a message in a bottle. The message was tossed into the English Channel by Private Thomas Hughes, on his way to fight in the First World War in 1914. It asked the finder of the note to pass it along to Hughes’ wife and expresses the wish that it find its way to her.
Hughes was killed in action two days after writing the note.
Gowan was able to track down Hughes’ daughter Emily, who lived in New Zealand, and present her with the 85-year-old message from her late father.
3. The Mummified Body of Fritz Bajorat
Bajorat, a German who hadn’t been seen since 2009, was found aboard his “ghost ship” by two fisherman about 50 miles off the coast of the Philippines in 2016. An experienced sailor and known adventurer, Bajorat took to the ocean in 2008 after splitting with his wife, Claudia. Claudia passed away from cancer in 2009.
Authorities who examined Bajorat’s well-preserved corpse, found sitting up at his radio, found no signs of foul play. The sailor may have died of a heart attack or other natural causes. It’s unknown exactly how long after Bajorat’s death the ship continued to drift.
2. The Ourang Medan
No list of the creepiest things found in the ocean would be complete without mention of the Ourang Medan. This possibly apocryphal tale first appeared in print in 1948.
The name “Ourang Medan” means “Man from Medan,” a city in Indonesia. According to the narrative, the ship was found floating near the Marshall Islands with its entire crew found aboard, dead except for one German-speaking crew member who died shortly after relaying his story to his would-be rescuers.
The dead were found with their eyes open and did not appear to have any visible injuries. In the course of the rescue attempt, a fire broke out on the ship, which then exploded and sank, making any further attempts to investigate impossible.
Accounts of the tragedy that befell the Ourang Medan vary. Some reports say it carried a cargo of hazardous materials, possibly nitroglycerin or potassium cyanide. Others have mentioned the possibility that a boiler room malfunction may have caused the crew to succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Still others speculate that the crew died of a more mysterious, possibly paranormal encounter with something creepy at sea. In some versions of the report, the faces of the dead crew members were frozen in expressions of unfathomable horror.
In any event, the phenomenon of the Ourang Medan “ghost ship” can’t be verified. No ship by that name appears in Lloyd’s Shipping Register, an indication that the entire story may be simply an old sailors’ tale.
1. The Tattooed Arm of Jim Smith
In 1935, two fisherman off the coast of Sydney, Australia caught a net full of fish, including one irate, struggling tiger shark. The men deposited the shark in the local aquarium, where it proceeded to horrify a crowd of onlookers by spitting up a human arm with a distinctive tattoo of a pugilist.
The arm turned out to belong to Jim Smith, a former boxer and petty criminal who’d been working as a police informant. Local police tracked down the alleged killer, Patrick Brady. Brady was arrested and tried, but acquitted by the jury, who felt that Smith’s severed arm did not in itself prove that Smith had been murdered or was even dead.