This is a true story...though I still can't believe it happened to me. That's the time when I used to serve on ships in capacity of cadet that was my first and last F.G. Ship (F.G. Stands for Foreign Going). Ship's name was M.V. Spar Ruby. Whole crew was Indian. I still remember, march-2006, we were passing through North Atlantic, heading for Trieste, Italy. We were carrying wheat, in that passage maintenance of hatch covers was due. Hatch covers are opening of holds in which we carry cargo (wheat), same like cover of some box. Weather was very fine so hatches were partially open for no. 1 hold which is located in the foremost part of the ship and painting work was going on, as we could not finished whole on that day, it was kept open so that paint can get dry underneath the cover.
At around 10:30 at night, chief officer rang in my cabin and asked me to close the hatch. I changed in my shoes, took a torch, and informed the bridge (from where control of the ship is done) that I'm going on deck. After reaching there, I started the Hyd. Pump and start closing operation, I closed one cover and went forward to close other, suddenly my torch went out of order, rather than going back, I informed bridge on walkie-talkie to switch on forward lights, 3rd officer was on watch and he informed me that it'll take 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile I lit one cig, I was enjoying the puffs, when suddenly I heard some scratching noise behind me, I thought there was some malfunction with hatch cover and I turned back with usual alert, but I got completely got frozen to see the view, there was a lady standing in some light clothes, she got short hair and her face was not so clearly visible, I could not understand how I was able to see her in such a dark. I could not make a single move, I wanted to shout but such a thin voice was coming out of my mouth. Suddenly she started moving towards me, I wanted to move back but my foot became like they are nailed on deck. She was continuously moving towards me but with a slow speed, she took around 30 sec. to cover the distance of around 15 yards between us. Now she was close to me like hell. Her face was just 5 inches ahead of mine and I saw her very thoroughly, she was such a pretty lady of about 35, maybe from some South American country. In spite of her beautifulness she was pale yellow. Most strange were her eyes, which were carrying sadness of whole world. Until I got comfortable with the situation, all three lights of fore part were on, I moved my head towards the light in anticipation and in hardly a sec. I looked back to the lady, GOSH no sign of her, I lost consciousness...
"Pratap, are you all right?"
I came back with my mind; chief officer was bending over me and asked me softly as I opened my eyes. Chief Officer was a nice guy; he didn't ask a single thing and told everybody to leave the room so that I can rest. He instructed the duty seaman to take care of me in 2-3 hours interval.
Next day, I told everything to chief officer innocently, he told me not to take such things to heart, as it happens due to heavy workload on ships. Even I didn't take that incident seriously and forgot like a horrible dream.
Mid of April, next month, we had just loaded steel coils from Alexandria, Egypt. We were heading for U.S. It was my duty to go inside the hold everyday to take temperatures. It was 4th day from departure, in the evening I was doing the job, almost finished, I entered in no.5 hold, reached to the bottom, put thermometer on floor and start noting the readings. All of sudden I don't know why I turned back; same lady was sitting in the space between two coils. Same outfit but today she was weeping, I clearly could see the wet face. I gathered all my courage and asked her who she was. No answer... I again asked but nothing, I don't know how I could be so brave, I shouted on her and that should have been avoided.
Suddenly ship started rolling, we were in Mediterranean Sea and that was so unexpected. That can be dangerous due to shifting of steel coils, so duty seaman who was outside the hatch took down some steps on ladder and shouted to come up, again that attracted my sense and as I looked back no sign of her.
After that incident that lady became part of my life. She started to appear in the accommodation also. First I saw her near crew's toilet after dinner. After some days in the radio room. Frequency of her appearance increased. I thought this is high time to do something because that was affecting my work also. Thousand of times I asked her "what you want" "in what way I can help you" "I have done something wrong with you" But no answers.
She uses to continuously stare at me. I told everything to 2nd officer now, who was comparatively close to me. He took everything seriously and makes report to chief officer, who was apparently angry with me due to my frequent mistakes in work. He told that I'm pretending to get away from work. 2nd officer was not happy with this because he knew that I'm sincere with my work. Though he was not believing stories completely but agree that something wrong is happening with me.
That day he called me in his cabin and we had some vodka, in that drunken state I started crying and told him that maybe this is all psychological but all is true. And why it is happening to me, I didn't even see the face of that lady before in my life, I haven't done anything wrong with any female in whole of my life, and all that. In that state I left his cabin and came to mine. I just fall on my bed and went to sleep.
After midnight I felt that somebody is pulling my bed sheet forcefully, I woke up and that was worse, she was standing in front of me, lights were on and there was mere distance between us. She was in bluish gown today with some Arabian style of small cap on head. In few moments my body was wet and I felt that my body was heavy, that I can not make a sheer move. My hands started shivering. She took some steps forward, came close to me, sit on my bed and put her hand on forehead. After that she said something in some strange language with a pleasant smile on her face. I could not understand a single word but had a feel like she is saying, "don't be scared of me, I'll do nothing" "sleep, you need that" she started massaging my forehead softly with lot of love and affection in her eyes.
I forgot all my stress. She was continuously saying something like some lady singing a song for her baby. Her voice was soft and touching. I closed my eyes and suddenly the scene came across my mind when I was leaving the home and my mother was weeping and I saw her face for the last time. I started crying; she quickly got up from bed and went in the corner of the cabin. I asked her to come near but she was so scared like she has done something wrong to me. Suddenly she crossed the bulkhead (partition or separation between two cabins) like a smoke and disappeared. First time I saw a supernatural thing.
I started crying heavily, not because of fear, but this time because she was gone; also some drinking effect was there. Though nobody was able to hear that at that time of the night, but Captain was just passing by, he heard the sound and came inside my cabin. Seeing Captain in my cabin, I stopped crying due to his image but tears were continuously coming out of my eyes. He asked me what happened but I was not able to tell. He took me to his cabin, offered me some coke. He talked to me on various topics and after soothing me a lot, he finally asked me the reason why I was crying as he was expecting this due to some homesickness. I told him the whole story, he was quite angry with chief officer not reporting him such a serious incident. Captain was catholic from Mumbai. He told me not to worry and gave me some religious literature with instructions to use. After that we saw a movie in captain's day-room. In morning, 4 clock, I left the cabin and after getting fresh went on bridge for my watch (my watch timings were morning and evening 4 to 8).
I was quite fresh with new energy, c/o (chief officer) asked me about the change, I told him nothing. From that day onwards I was no more scared, though I strongly believed that some aroma or some energy or something unnatural around me every time. I felt that I'm faster, more powerful, smarter, more enthusiastic that anytime. Every thing was going just great. Everybody was happy with me due to the change.
One evening captain asked me if everything is going fine and after that he advised most shocking thing; "PRATAP, do not whistle on ships anytime" And that picture flashed before my eyes when I first saw that lady, while smoking, I was whistling loudly as that is in my habit that if nobody is around me, I start whistling.
I was shocked. But after that, everything was not that bad at least. That great soul was not at all dangerous though she brought me a great change. I never think of her or call her as some devil or 'bhoot' or something like that, though she's been a great memory to me.
It's now almost six months, I left Spar Ruby. Due to my mother's constrains, I'm not allowed to join back and that was my last F.G. Ship. I still remember that gorgeous face with big blue eyes with endless affection.