Tails of a ghost ship has been mid-coast Maine folklore since the 1800's. It hasn't been seen in over a hundred years, which is probably a good thing.
The Dead Ship of Harpswell is a poem written in 1986 by John Greenleaf Whittier. The poem outlines the ghostly legend of a phantom ship that for years locals claimed to see off the coast. According to the Harpswell Historical Society, the ship has been described as a four or two mast ship, or sometimes a brig. Harbor watchers would see the ship near Lookout Point or Potts Point. It was also seen at Bailey and Orr's Island.
As the ship would float closer, it would appear as if was going to crash into the shore or Merriconeag Sound. Suddenly it would disappear or float backwards into the fog. Residents believed if someone saw the ghost ship, someone in Harpswell would die. The last sighting was in the 1880s.
Some believe the ship is the famous Dash. It was built in Freeport and launched in 1812 to watch for British ships off the coast. It disappeared on its 16th trip out to sea. A few months after it set sail, a fisherman saw the Dash and it's full crew cruse by him. When he got back into the harbor the ship wasn't there.
Others believe the ship is another Freeport-made ship, the Sarah. The Sarah was a cargo ship built to haul goods to the West Indies. After leaving Portland the ship's lookout spotted a ship trailing them. The ship was the Don Pedro Salazar. While in the Bahamas the crew of the Don Pedro Salazar boarded the Sarah killing its crew and leaving Captain George Leverette lashed to the mast.
The ship was then left to drift. Weeks after the slaughter, another Harpswell fisherman saw a ship float by with only one man at the helm. The boat had tattered sails and a cannon blast in her side.