The Mystery of the SS Ourang Medan: A Ghost Ship with a Deadly Secret

Have you ever heard of the SS Ourang Medan? It was a supposed ghost ship that met a tragic end in the waters of Southeast Asia sometime in the 1940s. According to various sources, the ship became a shipwreck after its entire crew died under suspicious circumstances, leaving behind a scene of horror and mystery. But what really happened to the SS Ourang Medan? And did it even exist?

The Origin of the Legend

The story of the SS Ourang Medan first appeared in a series of articles in a Dutch-Indonesian newspaper called De Locomotief in 1948. The articles claimed that the ship was sailing from China to Costa Rica with a cargo of oil of vitriol, a highly corrosive substance. The ship encountered trouble in the Strait of Malacca, near Indonesia, and sent out a distress signal that was picked up by another ship nearby.

The message read: "We float. All officers, including the captain, dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole of crew dead... I die."

A rescue ship called the Silver Star responded to the call and found the SS Ourang Medan adrift. A boarding party entered the ship and discovered a gruesome sight: all the crew members were dead, their faces frozen in terror and their mouths open in agony. Even the ship's dog was dead, snarling at an unseen enemy. There were no signs of injury or violence on any of the bodies.

The rescuers were about to tow the ship to port when they noticed smoke coming from below deck. They quickly abandoned the ship and barely escaped before it exploded and sank into the depths.

The Lone Survivor's Story

One version of the legend added a twist: there was a sole survivor of the SS Ourang Medan who managed to escape in a lifeboat. His name was Jerry Rabbit, and he washed up on an island in the Marshall Islands ten days after the incident.

He told his story to a missionary who later relayed it to an Italian journalist named Silvio Scherli. According to Rabbit, the SS Ourang Medan was smuggling dangerous chemicals that were poorly stored and leaked into the air, causing the crew to suffocate and die. He also said that the ship was deliberately avoiding authorities and had a shady history.

Rabbit died shortly after telling his story, leaving behind many unanswered questions.

The Truth Behind the Myth

So, was there any truth to the legend of the SS Ourang Medan? Or was it just a hoax or a fabrication?

The answer is not clear. There are no official records of a ship named SS Ourang Medan or any of its crew members. There are also no records of any rescue operation or explosion in the Strait of Malacca around that time.

Some researchers have suggested that the story may have been based on a real incident that was exaggerated or distorted over time. For example, some have pointed out that oil of vitriol is actually sulfuric acid, which could have caused an explosion if it came into contact with seawater.

Others have proposed more sinister explanations, such as piracy, mutiny, sabotage or even supernatural forces. Some conspiracy theorists have even linked the story to secret experiments with biological weapons or paranormal phenomena.

However, without any solid evidence or reliable witnesses, these theories remain speculative and unproven.


The SS Ourang Medan is one of the most intriguing and mysterious stories of maritime lore. It has inspired books, movies and games that explore its possible origins and outcomes. However, until more information comes to light, it remains an unsolved mystery that continues to fascinate and haunt those who hear it.

What do you think happened to the SS Ourang Medan? Do you believe it was real or not? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


(1) Ourang Medan - Wikipedia.
(2) The Eerie Legend Of The SS Ourang Medan - All That's Interesting.
(3) SS Ourang Medan | The Dark Pictures Wiki | Fandom.


Has the Ourang Medan ever been found?

Most people agree that the story of the Ourang Medan is an urban legend due to the fact that there were never records of a ship named the Ourang Medan.

What was the last message of the Ourang Medan?

The real legend of the SS Ourang Medan inspired this secret, as the ghost ship's radio operator had also sent an SOS revealing that the crew is dead, followed by the final phrase "I DIE."

What is secrets of Ourang Medan?

Secrets of the Ourang Medan (divided into 2 parts of 25 pages each) are the fourth (part 1) and fifth (part 2) segments in Man of Medan's Special Features. They can be unlocked by finding all the secrets.

What does Ourang Medan mean?

The SS Ourang Medan is an abandoned WWII freighter lost in South Pacific Ocean. The area serves as the main location in which key events of The Dark Pictures Anthology's first installment, Man of Medan, take place.

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