Ship of the Dead

Ship of the Dead is a universal motif in mythology that is a means by which the SOULS of the dead leave earth for the afterworld. The Ship of the Dead appears either in a cloud, or is enveloped in a driving mist. In order to reach its destination, it soars above mountains and moors and sails at sea no matter what weather and tide conditions prevail. According to one legend, upon the death of a certain pirate the Ship of the Dead appeared in a cloud. As the ship sailed over the roof of the man’s house, the pirate’s soul entered the ship, and sounds of a stormy sea could be heard in the house.

In Borneo, the ship is known as Tempon-teloris and appears in the shape of a bird, the rhinoceros-hornbill. Traveling along with the person’s soul are all the stores which were laid out at the feast of the dead, and all the slaves who were sacrificed for the feast.



The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007

Contact us about this article:

Leave a Comment