Kings Who Have Seen Ghosts: 1911

The Flying Dutchman, Charles Temple Dix.

The Flying Dutchman, Charles Temple Dix.


Living Kings Who Have Seen Phantom Apparitions.

(By EX-ATTACHE in the New Orleans “Times-Democrat.”)

King George is the only living ruler who can boast of having actually seen the spectral ship known as the “Flying Dutchman.” Indeed, there is no record of any anointed of the Lord having ever seen it in the past, although some of them were, like him, sailors by profession.

George, it may be recalled, as a midshipman made a tour of the world on board the warship Bacchante with his elder brother, the late Duke of Clarence, and the story of the voyage, as recorded in the diaries of the young princes, was published some time afterwards in a book entitled “The Cruise of the Bacchante.” In it is to be found the following paragraph taken from George’s diary:

“At 4 a.m. the Flying Dutchman crossed our bows. A strange red light, as of a phantom ship, all aglow, in the midst of which light the masts, spars and sails of a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief as it came up on the port bow.”

This encounter of the Bacchante with the phantom ship took place in the southern latitudes of the Atlantic, and, although this uncanny apparition, so


is held to presage death and disaster to those who set eyes thereon, yet nothing untoward seems to have happened to mar the success of the remainder of the cruise of the warship bearing on board the two princes, one of whom is now Great Britain’s King.

That the Flying Dutchman should have been seen by George and his brother, as well as by all the officers and men of the watch of the Bacchante, and the apparition made a matter of official record in the ship’s log, is a remarkable circumstance. For it is, perhaps, not one in a thousand of the vessels that sail the southern extremity of Africa, from the Atlantic into the Indian Ocean or vice versa, who can boast of having seen the craft, which, according to some, is commanded by the Dutchman, Van der Decken, and according to others by a German noble of the ancient and historic house of Van Falkenberg.

There are three other kings now living who share with King George the distinction of having witnessed spectral apparitions—namely King Frederick of Denmark, King Gustav of Sweden, and King Haakon of Norway. The experiences of the three monarchs in question occurred at Stockholm some eighteen or twenty years ago, when the then Crown Prince of Denmark, now King Frederick, was paying a visit with his wife and children to the late King Oscar. The present Queen of Denmark, at that time crown princess, is a Swedish princess and a niece of Oscar.

One day during the stay of the Danish royalties King Frederick, who is perhaps the most level-headed and matter-of-fact of now-reigning sovereigns, happened to enter a room for the purpose of getting some article which he had forgotten there earlier in the day, but backed out of it, pale and trembling, declaring it was full of armed men who had forced him to retire. He added that they were


On another occasion Prince Charles (now King Haakon) was writing letters in a saloon illuminated by lamps and a number of wax candles, when, suddenly raising his eyes from the paper, he caught sight of a man arrayed in eighteenth century costume, standing at the other side of the table and gazing fixedly at him. Prince Charles jumped up from his seat, with the intention of starting round the table and throwing himself upon the intruder, who, retreating to the wall, vanished from sight.

Nor was this all. On the last night of the stay of the Danish visitors, the then crown prince and crown princess of Denmark were seated at a table with King Oscar and his eldest son (now King Gustav) playing whist. The expression on the Swedish Crown Prince’s face suddenly attracted the attention of the other players. He had become as pale as death. His cards had dropped from his hands and his eyes protruded even more than usual as he gazed into vacancy.

King Oscar, thinking his son had become ill, seized him by the shoulders with the object of rousing him, whereupon Crown Prince Gustav exclaimed that he had caught sight of the blood-stained apparition of some unknown person standing at the other side of the table, and that it afterwards had


Of course all this may sound ridiculous and childish to ordinary people who do not believe in the supernatural. But even they would experience an uncanny feeling if forced by circumstances to reside in a house which had been the scene of a suicide or murder. Of all the royal palaces of Europe, there is none that has been the scene of so many tragedies as that of Stockholm. Its foundations, more than one thousand years old, may be said to be literally sodden with blood. To such an extent has it always had the reputation, even in former centuries, of being haunted, that it has been twice entirely razed to the foundations and reconstructed, with the object of dislodging the supposed ghosts.

Star, 5 August 1911: p. 1

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: One wonders if persons of royal blood haunt and are haunted more frequently than commoners. Mrs Daffodil has previously written about the apparitions of Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Jane Seymour, Queen Catherine Howard, Mary, Queen of Scots, wailing of death from the Tower of London, Queen Draga’s ghost, and a haunted Danish royal castle, which gives a fuller account of King Frederick’s vision.  The files of the Society for Psychical Research are bulging with tales of many other royal apparitions including the White Lady of the Hohenzollerns, who terrified the superstitious Kaiser, and the many haunted royal palaces in Britain and Scotland. The stories from Glamis Castle alone (the home of the late Queen Mother) would fill a substantial volume. Mrs Daffodil has heard modern-day “ghost-hunters” say that their talent for “seeing ghosts” runs in their family. Perhaps Queen Victoria, the “Grandmother of Europe,” passed along something more than the haemophiliac gene to her progeny.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.



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