A fisherman by the name of Ben Feribee was fishing along Whites Creek in Old House Wood at night in the late 19th century when he was shocked to see a large ship floating above the surface of the water.
Feribee saw what he described as a “full-fledged ship in the bay.” He saw this huge ship come right toward him, “with lights at every masthead and spar . . . “
“Just as I thought she would strike me the helmsman put her hard a port and she passed so close that I was almost swamped by the wash.”
|Ghost pirate ship.|
He later told a local newspaper reporter in 1926, “that after the ship passed, he heard beautiful music playing.”
Feribee continued, “I could see the ship hanging over Old House Woods, just as though she were anchored in the sea. And running down to the woods was a rope ladder, lined with forms of men carrying tools and other contraptions.”
Since several witnesses have stated, they saw this phantom ship. Here is just one recent eyewitness account.
I grew up in Mathews and the summer I turned 13 years old I saw Old House Wood’s phantom ship.
One night I was with my parents as we drove to a house just on the other side of the woods—in an area behind what the locals call Shagtail.
My parents went inside to check on an elderly couple my mother took care of, I remained in the car.
It had been about fifteen minutes when I looked to the right in an area near the woods. I saw an old ship coming in from the Chesapeake Bay.
I was stunned for it was floating fifty feet above the water. I watched as it hovered over Shagtail, which today is eroded away, and then up on the beach.
It was made of wood, with three masts. There were two short masts and one tall one. The ship was huge. I saw a lot of ropes, but the sails were not up.
A gray fog moved in with the ship. I was so scared I did not leave the car to join my parents inside. Instead, I locked all the doors.
As I watched for five to ten more minutes in disbelief, I saw the fog grow thicker and then the ship just faded away.
When my parents returned I told them what I had seen. They didn’t believe me. But I talked about this ship for years afterward—so my parents began to wonder if I did see something since it had such an impact on me.
When I was sixteen years old my mother showed me an old book with stories about Old House Woods being haunted.
On one page were several eyewitness accounts about seeing the phantom ship. The descriptions in these accounts were similar to what I had seen.
I am thirty-three years old now and no longer live in Mathews, but if I visit I will never return to those woods at night.
Old House Woods is privately owned today. Many thrill-seekers have damaged this property, so the owner requests people to show respect and do not trespass.
In Part l of Virginia’s Old House Woods, various legends about lost treasure in this forest are shared.