Last night I re-watched Ghostbusters (2016), this time the extended cut. There was a scene where one of the government agents mentions a couple mysterious incidents and I was curious if they were real.
- Agent Rorke: Sheriff in New Mexico reports a UFO encounter, the crew of the S.S. Ourang Medan dies mysteriously, the entire town of Langville, Montana goes missing.
- Jillian Holtzmann: It does?
- Abby Yates: Okay, but we're talking about relocating. No one's being killed here. Right?
- Mayor Bradley: They were turned inside out.
- Erin Gilbert: Their skin is on the inside of their body?
- Mayor Bradley: Their skin is on the inside of their body because their organs are on the outside.
- Abby Yates: But, they're okay, right?
- Mayor Bradley: Sure.
- Jillian Holtzmann: I think they're dead.
If Langville, Montana disappeared, it must've also vanished from the internet. I couldn't seem to find anything about it disappearing in articles or even on Google Maps.
That said, many towns have seemingly disappeared, but more often are the result of dying industries, natural disasters, or dried up resources. The West is littered with towns set up during the late 1880s transcontinental railroad race. Some were boom towns set up quickly overnight to support an influx of gold or silver prospectors, only to be abandoned when a bigger vein was discovered elsewhere or the opportunities disappeared.
The Ghost Ship SS Ourang Medan
Of the three mysterious episodes mentioned by Agent Rourke, the Ourang Medan seems to be the only one possibly rooted in some truth. And who doesn't love a good ghost ship story?
The SS Ourang Medan falls somewhere between conspiracy theory, ghost story, and ill-documented history.
In June 1947 a ship either off the Marshall Islands or the Solomon Islands (a difference of ~1,500mi/2,500km) sent out a distress call picked up by two American ships:
"S.O.S. from Ourang Medan * * * we float. All officers including the Captain, dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole of crew dead * * *."
A few confused dots and dashes later, two words came through clearly. They were "I die." Then, nothing more. (Ourang Medan, Wikipedia)
When one of the ships was able to locate the ship in distress, they found the entire crew and a dog dead. Shortly after, a fire broke out causing an explosion that sank the Ourang Medan.
There are a number of theories circulating about what may have happened to the crew and the ship - from its potential cargo containing poorly stored sulphuric acid, to carbon monoxide poisoning to, of course, aliens.