People have legitimate fears of water. How can you REALLY ever know what lurks just under the surface?
Here, people who work at sea share the creepiest/ strangest thing they've ever seen while on the job.
1/24. Merchant seaman here. I have travelled world wide with over 50000 miles under my belt having crossed the Atlantic, Indian and pacific oceans multiple times.
The thing I have seen a few times that really creeped me out were whilst on watch at night. And on several occasions witnessed meteorites similar if not bigger to the ones caught on dash cams in Russia. Also seemingly close to the ship. Even audible to the human ear if outside on the bridge wings.
2/24. I've been on large container ships up and down the coast here. Whenever you're in the middle of a storm its quite exciting. Its hard to describe the sea in the middle of a storm. The swells get huge and rough. When lightning hits the sea you see it light up a huge area and start to froth.
The scariest though is being on the bridge in a trough between two swells and seeing the water rising up on either side of you like a wall.
3/24. During my time in the Navy, we once transited through the Bermuda Triangle at night. Being the Navy, there was plenty of people playing on the whole erie-ness of our location as it was. But at one point I stepped outside to have a look. It is typically quite dark on a Navy ship in the middle of the ocean at night, so it was quite a shock to see the water actually glowing green where we were. It looked a lot like we were sailing through an ocean full of the chemicals you find in light sticks. It's pretty wild to see, especially in the triangle. I found out later that it was most likely bioluminescence from plankton in the water.
4/24. On a 41 foot sailboat in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, with about 7 other men, doing a shake-down/ test cruise, planned to be out for about 12 hours. Mid 1980's, not as reliable weather prediction resources. We get caught in a tropical storm, winds gusting into the 50 mph range, just this short of a weak hurricane. We had just barely rigged storm hawsers and storm sails because the one fellow onboard who was the best sailor sensed the storm was almost on us, otherwise we would have died. During the storm itself, I expected to die at any time. For what seemed like 15 minutes, we were in a maelstrom, no visibility, but then it passed. We would live!
This was at about 3pm, and although there was cloud cover of course, the ambient light was such that you could see 2 miles or so in any direction.
If you're familiar with the sea, you know that such storms, particularly in shallower depths near land masses, dredge a lot of things of the sea floor.
We're all on deck, working lines, checking damage, etc. and the bay around us is choppy and churning and foaming. Old time-y sailors often used the saying "the sea is confused." I look about 15 feet of the starboard side and something swims to the surface, breaks the surface, looks at us, then submerges again.
It was like a thin man, with humanoid shape, arms articulated like a man, a human head, but its skin was covered in scales like a snake. It looked at us, blinked its weird, heavy-lidded eyes, then dove back under.
So maybe you need to know a few things about me at that moment. No drugs, no alcohol, no injuries. I was elated because I was glad to be alive, but my senses in that situation were sharpened, not dulled. I had, at that time, about 6 years experience on ships and fishing boats, and had seen squid, octopi, flying fish, sharks, skates, etc. all around the world. I was not the type of guy to see a patch of seaweed and call it a sea monster.
I made an instant decision that I was not going to say anything. What could I say? "I just saw a strange creature, take my word for it!" The men on this boat were all mechanics and engineers and professionals. Why get a reputation as a flake? At the time it was important for each of us to get "D" skipper or OOD qualifications, and saying something like that would be frowned upon.
And as I stood there in my life vest, soaking wet, hooked onto the steel lifeline, glad to be alive, one of the other sailors, a USN Captain with over 30 years experience in the surface navy, piped up and said,
"I just saw a brown thing pop up on the surface! It looked like a lizard man, with a scaley face. It blinked at us with these big eyes and then went back under!"
"Yeah, I saw it too," I said. No one else said that they had seen it.
Then we sailed back to the pier later that day and didn't speak of it again.
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5/24. On the Pacific side of South America, I believe we were off the coast of Peru or Chile, can't quite remember... I was working night shift so I was out on the flight deck to watch the sun come up. Strangest damn thing I've ever seen... The ocean was dead calm like a lake. Seriously, no ripples, no waves, just dead calm. Like you found a small pond up in the mountains that was completely undisturbed. The moon was bright in the sky still as the sun had not yet begun to rise but there was still a lot of light from it. The moon made it feel all the more eerie. And besides the noise from the ship, it was completely silent. One of the weirdest experiences I've ever felt.
6/24. I was caught in an electrical storm while fishing. This was in Lake Ontario, running 8 foot graphite rods on down riggers. I was standing on the deck watching the rods, and I noticed blue sparks start jumping from rod to rod. A split second later, lightning struck directly behind the boat. That was probably the loudest natural sound I will ever hear in my life.
7/24. When I was younger, my dad and I went deep sea fishing all the time. The creepiest thing that ever happened to me was when we decided to do a little more surface fishing further out on the open ocean, rather than fish for grouper and whatnot. So I'm sitting with my feet off the edge of the boat, and my dad hooks a fish. It seems pretty big, based on the way it was pulling, so I look over to see if he needs help. Then something slowly brushes my legs. I looked down and there was a 4-5' barracuda brushing against my legs. I froze, and seconds later it shot off. When my dad felt the line go slack, he started reeling in faster. The barracuda had bitten off most of the fish. It was only a mouth on a hook, really.
8/24. When I was stationed on the USS Underwood and we were in the Persian Gulf, the water was as flat as glass. We were just steaming along (no land anywhere in sight) and we pass a sheep bobbing in the water. There wasn't a ship to be seen, but here was a sheep in the ocean.
We all had a laugh.
9/24. A friend of mine (known as 'Damo') was an avid fisherman and he and his dad used to go out sea fishing whenever they could. A few years ago he told me this story and it creeped the hell of me so this seems like an appropriate place to tell it!
Damo and his dad were on the 2nd night of a trip deep sea fishing and they decided to get some sleep in the early evening so they could go for whatever fish they were after at around 1 am (the best time to get this fish apparently). Anyway they only had a small-ish boat but the weather was extremely pleasant and the sea was calm to the point of stillness so they figured it would be a great nights fishing for them.
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.
As there was almost no swell they figured it was either a large fish or some gear had somehow fallen in so they went over to have a look (story continued on the next page...).
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Floating face up in the water only a few feet from the side of the boat was a young woman (they reckoned she couldn't have been more than about 30 at the most). She showed absolutely no signs of decomposition/bloating and there was nothing tangled in her hair (all of which would normally suggest she had been in the water for some time). She was wearing a simple white skirt and a blue coloured strappy top, both of which were 'clean' and apparently looked barely wet (again, all indicating she had only just gone in the water).
She showed no signs of 'damage' like having been beaten or attacked and her eyes and mouth were shut. Damo said she looked totally peaceful and like she was simply asleep and just floating on her back in the water.
They were both totally freaked out by the whole thing but reacting more to the need to make sure she was ok (instead of just standing there trying to work out where she came from) they tried to wake her up (shouting to her etc) and they threw a line to her hoping they may catch her enough to pull he back in.
She showed no signs of movement and the splashing around they were making with the rope served only to let her body drift further away from the boat. When she was a few meters away, Damo ran off to grab a fishing rod, hoping they could pull her in that way and his dad ran to the cabin to try and call a coastguard for help.
When Damo got back to the side, she had vanished.
He frantically searched around and splashed into the water with the rod (thinking she had bobbed under water or even drifted under the boat somehow) but the body had vanished.
Eventually his dad, figuring 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.
They did eventually drive the boat around in a good half km circle but they never saw the body again. The coast guard did come out (and obviously Damo and his dad were kind of interrogated to make sure they hadn't murdered/dumped the body) but nothing came of it all.
The freakiest thing about it all was that the boat was thoroughly checked before they had set out fishing the day before so they could say with certainty that there had been no woman on board when they set off (either a dead body or a stowaway/homeless woman). The apparently 'fresh' state of the body kind of removed the possibility that she had been in the water a while and that they just found the body and they were far enough out from land (and nowhere near any other boats) that her appearance there was just totally unexplainable, as was the way the body just disappeared.
Damo and his dad hadn't been gone more than 20 seconds from the side of the boat but in that time the body just vanished.
They were both really shaken by the whole thing and were most terrified by the fact that her appearance was proceeded by the heavy splash in the water, to them suggesting the body had only just entered the water from their own boat.
They tell the story now as a kind of "you won't believe what happened to us once" type thing, but it shook them badly and neither has been back to the same fishing spot since.
10/24. We saw one in the middle of the English Channel and it was the strangest thing. There was thin cloud but the sun was visible through it. We were within the total eclipse zone and could see the shadow coming from miles away. It looked like the biggest, most angry storm I've ever seen. Generally the darker the clouds the more it's going to hurt. This was a darkness as dark as is possible at sea during the day. Talked to my dad about it afterwards and we both felt a real uneasiness getting worse and worse the nearer it got. Our bodies and subconscious were readying us for dealing with a really dangerous situation.
It was just like how people sometimes describe sending a ghost. A cold chill and feeling really on edge. It really was like a ghost storm.
A lot of sailing becomes instinctual after a while and you get a feeling about what's coming from watching the clouds and waves off on the horizon. The eclipse gave off every sign of absolute nastiness but passed without any real world effect other than darkness. Really creepy.
11/24. Nothing particularly specific. I've been sailing all my life and have somewhere around 6,000 sea miles as well as years and years of inland dinghy racing experience.
The sea just does strange things sometimes. Wind against tide and underwater obstacles causing weird currents create unnatural waves and it starts to feel like the sea is just throwing water at you at random.
Fog at sea at night really messes with your senses too. 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 manner 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're hearing anything real and you enter an even stranger world of sensory deprivation. It's eerie as hell.
12/24. I've been fishing in Alaska for the last six summers with my dad. Never seen anything "unexplainable," but have been creeped out a few times. A lot of it comes from lack of sleep since we are out there for up to sixty hours at a time with no more than four hours between every time we put the net out. Anyway, here's a few things:
I was on deck by myself late at night and I thought we pulled in some kind of giant squid, but it was just a tree wrapped in a kelp ball...
We've had a 600lb shark caught in our net, that was scary.
Caught two porpoises at once, they had already drowned when we got to them. Not so much creepy as it was startling, then it was just sad.
Found two oil drum sized pieces of styrofoam about three-hundred yards away from each other. We figure they were tsunami debris from the one that hit Japan in 2011, interesting that they would stay so close together for so far.
Found an acoustic guitar in its case floating near a beach, the strings had rusted away but the body was in good shape.
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13/24. Not so much seen, but definitely heard. I'm in the Navy and about 12 years ago I was standing watch in a Submarine engine room. We were underway, can't for the life of me remember where to, from, or just making circles. It was the mid watch and I sat down to catch up on some logs. That's when I heard a woman's voice and felt the hairs on my neck stand straight up (no women on subs then).
I got up, looked around and found the other watches shooting the breeze or doing their daily tasks. I thought maybe I had dozed off and dreamt it. I sat back down and heard it again, and it sounded like it was coming from outside the hatch I was sitting under. I said "screw this" out loud and went to just be around the other guys on watch. I still get chills thinking about it, even now.
14/24. My Dad spent years at sea and has many stories from his time on tanker ships as an engineer. One time the ship was being slowed down by something they couldn't explain, mechanically fine, turns out they had a large dead whale wrapped around the bow of the ship slowing them down.
But the creepiest story was a simple one, the 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 too 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.
15/24. Probably asking about ocean related crazy stuff but 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 continuous loop...
I noticed a blip which was no bid deal. Either commercial or a French carrier (Foch?) had something go on, however the next blip showed it had traveled quite a distance. at 7 seconds per sweep, it was running over 2,000 mph. My first thought was that it was an SR-71 type but my radar was for ATC, that thing would have to be pretty low for me to see it (50,000' tops). The next return verified the speed. It was the fourth one that qualifies as "creepy". The aircraft had turned 90 degrees. Was headed south, then turned east. We had planes that could run that fast, but nothing that could turn that fast (that I'm aware of, early 90's). Another sweep and it was gone.
Buddy of mine in the CDC (combat direction center) saw the same thing. 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.
I remember flipping over to the "plot page" on the CCTV. We were at 41 41n 17 36 e.
16/24. Well about three years ago I went out with a friend on his 'yacht' off the coast of Newfoundland. It was around maybe 2 or 3 in the morning and early fall, so there was a bit of fog (nothing too serious). We were just going out for a late night cruise to relax and see if we could find any cool fish/inverts/etc near the surface. After an hour or so of uneventful yachting we decided to call it a night and turn around. As we started heading back to shore, behind us we noticed a dim red light in the distant fog. We slowed down to watch it. It was slowly blinking, which stopped us from noticing that it was creeping towards us. We went inside to grab my friends camera and when we came back it seriously closer and moving quicker too. We could now hear the haul groaning as if it was under pretty heavy tension. We took a picture, with flash, and the light stopped blinking. The ship started to speed up so my friend got on the radio (not too familiar with how the system works, so fill in the blanks here experts) and started trying to find a wavelength they were on so he could tell them to slow down and go around us. When we came out of the cabin, it was basically right upon us. Like less than 10 feet away, this huge rusty ship with a red light on the nose (story continued on the next page...).
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Next thing we know, it's hours later and we're waking up to sunrise. The yacht had been drifting freely for hours with the engines still off. Our cameras were gone, as was my cellphone (my friends was a crappy camera-less phone). We reported it to the police, but they laughed us off as two young guys who got too drunk and couldn't handle ourselves out there. We weren't drinking though, so we know something happened.
17/24. Not the strangest on here but here is my tuppence worth.
Last October I was on a survey vessel between the Shetland Islands and the Faroe Islands.
The sea was like a mirror, unusual for the Atlantic and a thick fog had surrounded us for days. We were collecting core samples from the sea floor and I was working nights. Out of nowhere, thousands of tiny birds appeared out of the fog. Some settled on the boat, all silent. Others flew clockwise around the boat, darting in and out of the fog.
This continued for a few hours until around 4am the birds just started dropping dead out of the sky. Thump! And a tiny, fragile dead bird next to me. This continued until daybreak when the fog finally lifted and the birds disappeared along with it.
We were finding the bodies for days afterwards.
18/24. The father of a friend of mine used to work on a boat and he told me they once had a ball of lightning dancing around on deck.
Before he told me about that I never even knew such a thing existed/could happen.
19/24. One of the strangest/most beautiful things to see, is when there are dolphins swimming round the ship at night and there is bio-luminescence. If there's no light pollution or moon light, all you can see is ghostly trails of the light in the water and hear something breathing in the water below you.
20/24. A friend of mine has been a fisherman for a long time. Once he was off the grand banks late at night, piloting a 50' trawler while the rest of the crew slept. He was alone in the [removed: crows nest] upper wheelhouse nursing a bowl of weed when he caught a glimpse of what he said was a large black metal object several dozen yards off his starboard bow. He shot a glance just soon enough to see something large disappear beneath the waves, but he didn't know precisely how large or how far it was due to poor visibility. He looked at his radar and sonar but saw nothing. Moments later, a massive column of winged black steel burst forth from the sea roughly 50 yards off his port. He said he soon realized he was looking at the tower of a Trident nuclear submarine. He attempted to hail the sub several times to no avail. After a few minutes, it slipped beneath the surface and vanished without leaving a trace on his radar or sonar.
21/24. My dad is a fisherman. A ghost sighting are occurs all the time. One time, while he is doing a his job , he heard his name were shouted outside in the sea. And one time, he was sleeping while waiting for water to rise, he woke up with a pale women looking right at this face.
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22/24. This happened about 6 months ago... Bit of background, I've grown up on boats and beaches. Family have always had a boat and I have always fished.
However this story didn't happen when I was out in the ocean, I was at a friends house just after the moon had risen. It was a fairly bright night as I was sitting with a group of friends on a beach house deck. Anyway none of us had actually taken any drugs or started drinking yet, we had just gotten back to the house.
I remember looking out at the view of the beach and the moon. The bright moon was shining a fairly wide path from just below it across the water and onto the beach but all the other water was dark. You can imagine it like this. Although you could see the occasional wave break as the white wash caught some light.
Anyway I noticed a red light going from left to right (this is strange because a starboard, green, light should have been showing on that side of any boat) at a cracking pace. Like it looked like some serious type of speed boat flying. I pointed this out to my friends and a few of us noted how quick and smooth this boat was flying across the bay.
It eventually moved near the light of the moon and as we all watched it fly past it was literally just a red light. Like a giant red ball. As soon as it hit the other side of the moonlight it disappeared. I kind of assumed it was a drone but it was seriously quick, it disappeared and was a long way out skimming what looked very close to the water on a surf beach...
23/24. I was on a deployment on a LHA, standing port aft watch late at night. We were out patrolling near Somalia, and of course everything was pitch black and even after you got used to the darkness, it was still really dark.
There was this access hatch thing that normally is bolt down against the bulkhead. it gave access to steam pipes or something, no idea.
That night I was sitting on the capstan drinking a Rip-It (ship store ran out of red bull a long time back) and I noticed that the hatch was off, and the hole just revealed inky blackness.
I thought whatever and continued sitting and sipping, then something caught the corner of my eye in the hatches direction.
I dismissed it as a shadow, maybe a boatswains mate was walking the flight deck checking for people sleeping on watch or something.
I got up and started pacing around, to give the impression I wasn't slacking and whatnot. Heard a tap and spun around, and saw a shadow duck into the opened area of that hatch. It looked like a persons head ducking back into the area.
Now the hatch was probably only a little bit bigger than what you could stick your head and shoulders into. Naturally I thought someone was messing with me and trying to scare me, or something. So I wandered over there, brought out tiny led flashlight and took a peek in there.
Nothing but haze grey painted stuff and some kind of plumbing.
I brushed it off as lack of sleep and just my eyes tricking me, but that hatch area stayed open the rest of the cruise and I was always wary of it in the back of my mind when standing that watch.
24/24. This was maybe 10 years ago, and I was sailing with my family, moving a sailboat from the Connecticut shore to Boston, and this happened on an extremely foggy day. I also remember the day being pretty windless as well so we were just motoring along instead of sailing.
Now, the general procedure for sailing in such thick fog is to use radar and foghorns to try to prevent any collisions from happening. At some point we started hearing huge, loud horn blasts, just repeating from somewhere to our right in the fog. It seemed normal enough, someone signalling their position to anyone in the vicinity, then after maybe 15-20 minutes of sailing and listening to these horn blasts, we eventually came upon what was making them. Maybe 100 feet from our boat, a huge submarine appeared, and looked like it's just sitting still. The weird thing was the suddenness of it's appearance.
An enormous black shape appearing out of the fog at sea was pretty creepy to me at the time.