The S.O.S From The Ourang Medan
A strange thing happened at the Strait of Malacca in the 1940s. A Dutch merchant vessel, The Ourang Medan had encountered some difficulty and sent out an S.O.S message to surrounding ships. The message they received was as confusing as it was terrifying.
S.O.S. from Ourang Medan * * * We float. All officers including the captain, dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole of crew dead * * *.
A few confused dots and dashes (of Morse code) later, two words came through clearly. They were:
This would be the last thing heard from the Ourang Medan.
It was not unheard of for pirates to attack merchant vessels. Fearing this, a near by ship, the Silver Star, had received the SOS call and decided to investigate. They arrived at the apparently undamaged Ourang Medan and pulled along side it to attempt a rescue. Upon boarding the ship, the crew of the Silver Star was met with a grizzly sight.
Corpses littered the deck and bowels of the Ourang Medan.
The faces of the crew were contorted with fear with their eyes staring up to the sun straight ahead. According to the rescue team from the Silver Star, the corpses looked like terrible caricatures. As the crew continued to investigate, the more death they found. Seemingly every living thing on board the Ourang Medan was dead, including the captains dog. None of the bodies showed any signs of injury. It was almost as if they had just dropped dead. Moreover, during their search for survivors on the ship in the boiler room, the rescue party felt a sudden drop in the temperature nearing 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Eventually, the Silver Star began preparations to tow the ghost ship.
Before the Silver Star could begin the journey however, a fire suddenly broke out in the number 4 cargo hold of the Ourang Medan. Just as the tow cables were cut, a fiery explosion engulfed the Ourang Medan. The crew of the Silver Star watched as the Ourang Medan sunk beneath the water.
Almost immediately, theories began to form surrounding the ghost ship.
One explanation for what happened points blame at unsecured cargo. Specifically a combination of potassium cyanide and nitroglycerin or even wartime stocks of nerve gas. Rough seas could have caused the cargo to come loose. This would have lead to asphyxia and poisoning among the crew.
While at the same time, another theory puts forward the possibility of the deaths having been the result of Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. An undetected smoldering fire or malfunction in the ship’s boiler system might have been responsible for the shipwreck
Adding to the mystery, records show that the Ourang Medan may not have existed at all.
Many skeptics point towards the lack of any records of the mystery ship. Furthermore, no registration records could be found in any country for the Ourang Medan. The lack of any hard evidence involving the ship has caused many to believe that some, if not all, of this story is a work of fiction. Whether it was a work of fiction or something else, the Ourang Medan has certainly left its mark on history.
Want to hear us try and solve this mystery?
We certainly give it our best shot on our show Get Spooky. Give us a listen wherever good podcasts are found!