House of History: the Podcast

What happened to the Ghost Ship S.S. Ourang Medan and its Crew?

March 22, 2021

In early February 1948, a strange and urgent morse-code SOS, three dots, three dashes and three dots again, came from a Dutch cargo ship, the S.S. Ourang Medan that sailed through the Strait of Malacca.

When deciphered, they spelt: “... All officers, including Captain dead, lying in the chartroom and on Bridge …. Probably whole crew dead…” A series of frenzied gibberish dots and lines followed, before the closing message came in, simply stating “I die.” And then nothing more. Upon investigation of the ship, indeed, the entire crew was found deceased, supposedly with shocked expressions on their face. But the rescue parties could not identify anything that could have caused it.

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