Mythical Monday: The Sea of Darkness by Mae Clair #Myth #Folklore

It’s Mythical Monday and that means it’s time to delve into the dusty archives of myth and folklore. Rather than focus on one of my favorite beasties today, I poked around in my treasure trove of mystical places and unearthed a spine-tingling tale of the sea. Perhaps it’s fitting that as I type this, a vivid crescent moon hangs outside my window, suspended against a coal black sky—the perfect companion to this frightening bit of nautical lore:

Old sailing ship on a misty seaTucked into the annals of seafaring legend is a place known as Mare Tenebrosum, the Sea of Darkness. An oceanic region that is said to glide across the surface of the water, some believe it may be the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Others that it follows the ocean currents, moving from place to place, thus it doesn’t appear on any charts. Into this watery domain of shadow, lost ships and seamen sail forever in perpetual night.

A ship can enter the domain of Mare Tenebrosum without its crew being aware they have crossed a boundary. It’s only when night falls that the spreading taint of the Sea of Darkness is felt. No matter how rough the waters previously, with the touch of night, the sea grows mysteriously calm. No light shines from above, the moon and stars obscured by a dense ebony cloud.

Into the blackness, the rigging of a ship glimmers briefly as if illuminated by ghost-light. Horrific cries echo on the air – the wails of men drowning, the boom of cannon fire, commands bellowed in multiple languages, voices jumbled one upon the other in confusion and panic. The screams of women and children rise and fall as if nearby vessels are sucked beneath the waves. It is a symphony of terror played over and over in the darkness as phantom ships loom then vanish into the cloak of night.

Old sailing ship at dawnIf the ship is fortunate enough to sail free of Mare Tenebrosum into the dawn, crew members are often left teetering on the brink of madness.Those who escape with their sanity intact, avoid talking of their time in the Sea of Darkness, wanting only to forget the evils which reside there.

Folklore like this makes you realize the romanticism of the sea can often be dark and deadly. Do you agree?

10 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: The Sea of Darkness by Mae Clair #Myth #Folklore

    • Hi, Mishka! I agree with you about the sea…it’s so changeable from calm to fierce, a vast domain that can’t be tamed. There is so much mystery and mysticism woven around it, even today it never ceases to inspire and astound. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting!

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  1. Most definitely! In fact, it seems to me that most sea legends aren’t of the positive nature. Because seafaring was a huge part of our global settlement through trade, transport and travel, I can imagine how often it was the muse behind legends.

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    • You’re so right about sea travel factoring so strongly into our history. No wonder so many legends grew and sprouted in folklore. For every beautiful tale, there are probably two horrific ones. I’m kind of like that when it comes to the ocean . . . I love it, but I’m also terrified of it. I guess I prefer to observe it from land, LOL!

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  2. I have never heard of Mare Tenebrosum before Mae! What a chilling glimpse into a piece of nautical folklore, which I happen to love! I don’t think I would want to cross over the boundary into this one, though! As always, great post!

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    • Glad you enjoyed it, Debbie. I think I’ll hang with you and stay safely on land (or at least on a part of the ocean that isn’t polluted by the reach of Mare Tenebrosum) and read stories about it instead! 😀

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  3. How eerie is that! I hadn’t heard of the sea of darkness but can commiserate with sailors who had to travail the unknown waters for the sake of enterprise or adventure. I’m sure they came back with many tall tales from the high seas, but what mysteries many of them must have really experienced!

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    • I agree, Flossie. There is probably a wealth of stories in those old histories…and a lot of terrifying realities too! I can’t imagine the courage of the men who undertook those journeys…or the women who waited for them.

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