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Ghost Ship of Captain Sandovate

Ghost Ship of Captain Sandovate

A longer version of this ghost story appears in Spooky New Jersey by S.E. Schlosser.

When Captain Don Sandovate voyaged from Spain to the New World in search of treasure, he found gold in abundance. But among his crew there were many sailors who did not wish to share the new-found wealth with the monarchs of Spain. On their journey up the Atlantic Coast, the sailors mutinied and imprisoned their captain, tying him to the main mast and refusing to give him food or drink. Day after day, the captain lay exposed to the hot sun of summer, his body drying up as the treacherous sailors worked around him. Finally, his pride broken, Don Sandovate begged: “Water. Please. Give me just one sip of water.” The mutineers found this amusing, and started carrying water up to the main mast and holding it just out of reach of their former captain.

In the terrible heat of a dry summer, the captain did not survive long without water. A few days after the mutiny, the captain succumbed to heat and thirst. The new captain, a greedy Spaniard with no compassion in his soul, left Don Sandovate tied to the mast, his body withering away, while the ship turned pirate and plundered its way up the coast. But Providence was watching the ruthless men, and a terrible storm arose and drove the ship deep into the Atlantic, where it sank with all hands, the body of Don Sandovate still tied to the broken mast.

Shortly after the death of the mutineers-turned-pirate, an eerie ghost ship began appearing along the coast, usually in the calm just before a storm. It had the appearance of a Spanish treasure ship, but its mast was broken, its sails torn, and the corpse of a noble-looking Spaniard was tied to the mast. The ship was crewed by skeletons in ragged clothing. As it passed other ships or houses near the shore, the skeletons would stretch out bony hands and cry: “Water. Please. Give us just one sip of water.” But none can help them, for they are eternally doomed to roam the Atlantic, suffering from thirst in payment for their terrible deeds against their captain and the good people living along the Atlantic coast.

Copyrighted content: This is a retold folklore story by S.E. Schlosser, who owns the copyright. This version of the story may not be reproduced, reprinted or used in any other way without the permission of the author. Teachers may link to or photocopy this story as part of their classwork.

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S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of “let’s pretend” quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children’s Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.