Although this happened in the 1940s, the mystery of the Ourang Medan continues to make the list of mysterious ghost ships even today. Legend has it that two American ships, sailing through the Strait of Malacca, were summoned by a distress call from the Ourang Medan. Upon arriving, they discovered the entire crew, including the ship's dog, dead and inexplicably had expressions of terror on their faces.
The SS Ourang Medan (the name means Man from Medan which is a Sumatran Island in Indonesia) was apparently a Dutch vessel that encountered difficulties while making its way through the Strait of Malacca. An article published on ripleys.com describes the distress call from the Ourang Medan as follows: “All officers including captain dead, lying in chartroom and on bridge, probably whole crew dead,” it stated. Then there was an unintelligible frenzy of Morse code. The radio operator had the final word: “I die.”
According to the article, although some claim such a vessel never existed based on the fact that it wasn't registered with Lloyd's Shipping Registers, others claim that that was because the ship was registered in Sumatra.
The article goes on to explain that those who responded to the distress call discovered as follows; The crew was indeed dead, their bodies strewn across the decks. Not only that, but they were found“teeth bared, with their upturned faces to the sun, staring, as if in fear…” Even the ship’s dog was dead, frozen in this ghastly state, mid-growl at an assailant or horror unknown!"
Many myths have since surfaced as to the cause of these mysterious deaths. Some claim it was done by pirates, others claim it was due to supernatural causes and yet some claim it may have had something to do with the cargo consisting of nitroglycerin and potassium cyanide.
Before a proper investigation could be carried out, the ship caught fire and exploded and took its secrets to a watery grave.