Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World
Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World

Patrick Lynch - July 20, 2017

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World
SS Baychimo. Historic Mysteries

6 – The Disappearance of the Baychimo – (1931)

The SS Baychimo was a steel-hulled cargo steamer that went missing in 1931 along the Alaska coast. It was spotted in 1969 but has not been seen since. The Baychimo was constructed in 1914 and launched the following year. It was destined to sail over treacherous waters as its main mission was to carry furs, pelts and other cargo between the trading posts of the icy Arctic waters. It also made trips to Alaska and British Columbia with passengers and cargo.

After nine successful journeys over the harsh seas, it hit trouble on October 1, 1931, when on a routine journey to Vancouver with a cargo of furs. Alas, the crew did not realize that winter had come early that year, so the ship had to face icy waters and blasts of freezing wind. A sudden blizzard descended and trapped the ship and its frightened crew. The captain of the Baychimo knew that the crew had to abandon ship and they proceeded to the town of Barrow on foot.

They safely made it to the town and stayed there for a couple of days before returning to discover the fate of their ship. To their surprise, they found the Baychimo had broken free from the ice and was drifting aimlessly on the water. The captain elected to wait for an opportunity to retrieve the ship and set up camp. However, the weather worsened, and on October 8, the ship was trapped in ice once again.

On October 15, the Hudson Bay Company, the owners of the vessel, took action and sent a rescue team to help the crew. 22 people were rescued, but the captain and 14 others refused to leave and elected to remain in the camp. A blizzard on November 24 took the ship out of the captain’s line of sight. The dejected crew packed up and left, but one week later, an Inuit seal hunter said he saw the Baychimo drifting 45 miles from its last location. The captain found the ship but decided it was not seaworthy so the crew salvaged as much as the cargo as they could and finally abandoned ship forever.

Incredibly, the Baychimo survived the winter and tales emerged of it sailing around the north Atlantic waters. It followed a strange pattern as sometimes it was out to sea and on other occasions, it was near the coast. Some intrepid explorers tried to board the ship, but it evaded their efforts very skillfully for a vessel without a crew. On other occasions, sailors claimed it vanished in front of their eyes.

The last sighting of the Baychimo was in 1969. Despite concerted efforts to locate the vessel, not a trace has ever been found. Perhaps it finally sank, or else it was salvaged in secret? How did it manage to avoid being boarded despite dozens of attempts? It is incredible that it survived almost 40 years in some of the world’s most unforgiving waters; it seems improbable that it could last another 50 years because surely, its hull finally gave way and it sank?

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