One of the most famous of the ghost ship
s, the Lady Lovibond went down on Friday, February 13
, 1748, and is said to reappear off the Kent
coast every fifty years.
The ship was at sea on February 13 because her captain, Simon Peel, had just been married
, and was celebrating the occasion with a cruise
. Despite the longstanding sailor's superstition
that it was bad luck to bring a woman
on board, Peel had brought his bride Annetta with him on the ship.
According to legend, one of the crew (some accounts say the helmsman, some say the first mate) became smitten with the captain's new bride. While Peel, Annetta, and their guests were celebrating the marriage below deck, the crewman was seized with a fit of jealous rage. He steered the ship onto the treacherous Goodwin Sands, killing everyone aboard.
The first sighting of the phantom Lady Lovibond was confirmed by at least two ships, and was so realistic that the captain of the Edenbridge thought he'd barely missed a collision. Its 1848 appearance actually convinced local seamen that a wreck had occurred -- they sent out lifeboats in hopes of rescuing the survivors. Captain Bull Prestwick sighted her in 1948, and reported that she did in fact look real, but gave off an eerie green glow. There was no 1998 sighting.
The Goodwin Sands, which are located off the Kent coast near the town of Deal, are England's most fertile grounds for ghost ships. The Lady Lovibond shares the area with two other phantom vessels: a liner called the Montrose, and the Shrewsbury, a man of war.