A curious radio message was received by numerous ships traveling along the Straits of Malacca, situated around Sumatra and Malaysia in either June 1947 or as late as February 1948. At the time, the origins of this message – an SOS – were not known. The message itself was divided into two parts, separated by Morse code that could not be deciphered. Those that received this message insisted that the transcript went:
"All Officers, including the Captain, are dead. Lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead. … I die."
Nothing else was transmitted after this chilling conclusion. Two ships, both American, picked up the messages and felt compelled to investigate. With the help of British and Dutch listening posts, the coordinates of the vessel thought to be transmitting, the Dutch freighter S.S. Ourang Medan, were triangulated and an American merchant ship, the Silver Star, was sent to the coordinates. Given the content of the distress calls, the Captain of the Silver Star wasted no time in navigating to the new heading. Several hours later, the look-out on board the Silver Star spotted the stricken Ourang Medan. Even as the rescue ship pulled alongside, no signs of life could be seen visually. All efforts to contact the crew failed, forcing the Captain of the Silver Star to organize a search party. The moment that the search party boarded, it was obvious that the messages were horribly accurate. The decks of the Ourang Medan were littered with the corpses of the Dutch crew. To a man, the victims were found with wide-eyed horror and faces twisted into sheer terror, arms trying to fight off … something. Not even the ship’s dog escaped the terror of whatever had taken place. The canine was discovered to be in the midst of snarling at the cause. The Captain was found, as one might have expected, on his bridge. The remainder of the Bridge Officers were found in the wheelhouse and Chartroom. The Radio Operator, who presumably sent the distress call, was found at his station. The engineering crew were also found at their stations with precisely the same expressions on their faces.
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All Crew Dead in S.S. Ourang Medan
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