In “Pirates of the Caribbean – Secret of the Cursed Chest” the creation of Davy Jones, the sprawling-looking ruler of the seven seas, is largely influenced by the great and dark legend of the Flying Dutchman, Terror of Sailors …
Second film of the saga, Pirates of the Caribbean, the secret of the cursed chest is essentially nourished by pirate myths, revolving around the treasures and mysteries of the sea. We thus meet a supernatural character, Davy Jones, and the legendary sea monster, the Kraken, known in legends since the 12th century.
“There are so many supernatural tales of the sea and no one has ever linked them to a great pirate movie or a swashbuckling movie.” explained Ted Elliott, screenwriter of the film. “We alluded to it in the first film, with a line in which Will talks about finding himself in the clutches of Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy). In Pirates of the Caribbean: Secret of the Cursed Chest, we set out to explore this Davy Jones, to find out who he is. We also incorporated another very famous sea legend, that of the ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman, and we combined the two. “
The Flying Dutchman, the most famous of the ghost ships
As often, if not always when it comes to legend, it is difficult to be able to go back to the sources of this type of story, to separate the true from the false, from what must also be considered as one of the great fears. sailors.
Originally, it could be the exploits of a Dutch captain by the name of Bernard fokke, in the 17th century. Employed by the Dutch East India Company (a rival of the English East India Company), he was known to travel between Europe and Asia with disconcerting speed for the time. Only three months and four days in 1678, to reach the island of Java from the United Provinces. Rumor has it that these highly unusual performances are attributed to the Devil’s assistance.
In addition Fokke was, it seems, very ugly, which at the time gave credence to the idea of a possible diabolical pact … On his facial features, however, it is now only pure speculation: in 1808, the British destroyed the only statue of this figure of navigation, which stood on the small island of Kuipertje, located in the Dutch East Indies. So we don’t know what he looked like.
In any case, it was in 1790 that the Flying Dutchman was mentioned for the first time in the accounts of the Scottish John McDonald’s voyage at sea, Travels in various part of Europe, Asia and Africa during a serie of thirty years and upward. “The storm was so strong that the sailors said they saw the Flying Dutchman. The most common story is that a Dutchman arriving in Cape Town on a stormy day wanted to enter the port but could not find any pilot to accompany him, which led the boat to its doom. Since that time, the vision of the ship appears in bad weather “ McDonald wrote.
But it was really in 1821, forty years later, that a detailed and written version was published in an English newspaper. At the time, the term “Flying Dutchman” designates the captain and not his ship.
The legend takes place off the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, on a stormy evening. The worried crew asked the captain, named Hendrick van der Decken, not to continue their journey and to take cover. But the captain, drunk, would not have wanted to hear the pleas of his crew. The latter would then have mutinied.
In the clash, the captain allegedly killed the leader of the mutineers, throwing him overboard. The moment his body made contact with the ocean, a luminous form would have appeared and doomed the captain to sail the oceans for eternity with his phantom crew, killing anyone who saw him. Since then, the captain has haunted the rough seas on stormy days …
A ghost ship … Reported several times
The Flying Dutchman’s ship was reported several times, especially during the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1835, the crew of a British ship claimed that they saw a strange ship approaching theirs on a stormy day before disappearing. In July 1881, Duke York, future King of England under the name of George V, claimed to have seen the famous ghost ship sailing in Australian waters; like a sinister omen before the death which struck the lookout of his ship which made a fatal fall from the mainmast. The ship would also have been seen in 1939, and even in 1942, in the middle of World War II, off Cape Town … And since? Nothing.
Below is an excerpt from a very interesting report by Thalassa on the legend of the Flying Dutchman, which above all sounded like a warning to reckless sailors …