Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship in several maritime legends, was a sign of bad luck, particularly for sailors. In most versions, the ship appeared off the Cape of Good Hope, the southern tip of Africa. The legend was inspired by the story of a Dutch sea captain named Vanderdecken who boasted that he could complete the journey around the cape during a fierce storm. He swore that he would do so or keep trying forever. As punishment for his rashness, he was condemned to sail around the cape until the end of time. A similar version of the legend involves another captain who was forced to sail across the ocean forever because he had sold his soul to the devil. In 1843 the composer Richard Wagner wrote art opera based on the tale of the Flying Dutchman, which spread the story's popularity.

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