‘Death Ship of the Platte River’ Spotted This Time of Year
This is the time of year when we start to get heavy fog rolling across the plains along the banks of the Platte River. If you spend any amount of time along the river, be sure to keep an eye out for a ghostly ship of death!
A Wyoming legend tells the tale of a ghost ship that sails the Platte River and can be spotted between Torrington and Alcova, Wyoming. The legend refers to the boat as a "Ship of Death” and it is cursed to forever sail upon the sometimes dangerous river waters.
This phantom ship is said to rise out of a strange mist that quickly becomes a massive rolling ball of fog. As the ship grows closer, witnesses have reported that the ship's sails and masts are covered with frost.
Upon closer inspection, if you should ever get a glimpse of it, you'll notice that the crew stands on the deck (also covered with frost) and are supposedly huddled around a corpse lying on a canvas sheet. The legend continues that the ship always foreshadows the death of someone who will die on the day that it is spotted.
Pay particular attention to the crew, because as the crew steps back the identity of the corpse will be revealed. The identity of the person being revealed will be someone known by the witness and that person always meets an immediate demise.
The first alleged sighting was made in 1862 by a trapper named Leon Weber. When the crew stepped back, the corpse revealed the body of Weber’s fiancé who died later on that same day. Another sighting of the phantom ship was made by cattleman, Gene Wilson in 1887, when he saw the body of his wife laid out on the canvas. In 1903, another tale describes that when Victor Heibe was chopping down a tree on his riverfront property, he spied the ship. Laid out on the deck was the body of a close friend.
Every case was reported in either the early spring or in the late fall, and in all cases, the person seen upon the deck of the phantom ship has died on the very same day.
One of the most recent sightings was said to have occurred at Bessemer Bend on the Platte River west of Casper. Another recent sighting allegedly occurred six miles southeast of the town of Guernsey, south and east of Casper.
Attempts to take pictures of the phantom ship never turn out as the camera usually produces a photo that is either solid grey in color or shows only a white haze surrounded by fog.
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Source: Legends of America