Wyoming Legends tells of a ghost "Ship Of Death" that appears out of the fog along the Platte River. They say the mast and sails are covered with frost and that on its deck are ghostly sailors gathered around a corpse whose identity is revealed when they step back. When the live person sees the face of the dead person on deck, they are known in life to the witness. That person will die on that day.

These tales have come from a stretch of The Platte River between Torrington and Alcova as well as Bassemer Bend and near Guernsey, Wyoming.

The first sightings date back to 1862, when, as the story goes, a trapper named Leon Weber saw the face of his fiancé and that she died later that day.  In 1887, cattleman Gene Wilson saw the body of his wife laying on the deck of the phantom ship and she died. Victor Heibe was chopping down a tree next to the river when he saw the ship and his friend on the deck when the crew stepped back. He died the very same day.

These apparitions seem to happen in the late fall, just in time for Halloween, I’m thinking. Legends come from somewhere, but I think these were from an alcohol fueled gathering around a campfire. What do you think?

In the meantime, when you’re along The Platte River and a fog rolls in, keep an eye open for the Ship Of Death.