England’s Sinister & Cursed Sand Bar That Eats Ships

by Sankalan Baidya
Cursed Sand Bar

Cursed places – the world seems to have no scarcity of such malevolent places where humans, planes, ships and almost everything disappears – vanishes without a trace. England is no different and the nation has its own fair share of cursed destinations. One such destination is off the coast of England. It is a cursed sand bar, which is nothing more than a simple stretch of sand, submerged partially in water. It looks pretty harmless. After all, it is nothing more than sand! How malevolent can it be?

Make no mistake. This cursed sand bar is sinister. Lying their silently, it waits for its victims and till date has consumed hundreds of ships after it was first formed. No wonder, the sand bar has earned its spot in the book of sinister legends and myths.

The Exact Location of England’s Cursed Sand Bar

cursed sand bar

The Camel Estuary

Off the northern coast of Cornwall is the mouth of Camel River estuary. That is precisely where the river mates with the Celtic Sea. Exactly in that location is this sand bar which goes by the name Dunbar Sands or Dune-bar.

The Dunbar Sands is just like any other sand bar in that area. A complex mechanism of tides currents has deposited sediments (majorly consisting of grounded sea shells) and marine sand. So, it is basically like any other sand bar you will encounter and nothing wrong appears with it when looked at. Though the original name is Dunbar, its name has been corrupted by people and now it goes by the name ‘Doom Bar’. That very much explains what to expect.

The History and Story of the Cursed Sand Bar or Doom Bar

It is being said that the Doom Bar was formed between 1509 and 1547 – the period when King Henry VIII ruled England. When the sand bar was formed, it created troubles for community of local people who lived in that area. The ones that were particularly troubled belonged to Padstow – a port town. The only way to access the harbor of Padstow was through the perilous sea route passing through the cliffs.

As the sand bar came to existence, thing became further difficult. The cliffs already posed danger and then there was this sand bar blockade. The journey for any ship through the estuary was arduous and deadly. Navigation became difficult and ship wrecks became common.

The Cursed Sand Bar Destroyed Many Ships

The formation of the sand bar was not a good event. Many ships either ran aground on the sandy face of the sand bar or, they simply smashed in. Ship wrecks started increasing at an alarming rate and this continued for centuries. The passage became so risky that the ships started refusing to take that route. Things became worse when the weather became stormy. Some captains decided to make detailed maps of how to navigate through the estuary but the attempts were futile. Those detailed ‘how to guides’ did little to reduce the number of ship wrecks.

Back in those days, the ships were sail-driven and were powered by wind. When the ships moved into the passage that went around the Stepper Point, they would lose the wind power. Once that happened, they were left at the mercy of erratic and wild gusts of winds. As a result, the ships would simply drift towards the sand bar and nothing could be done. Some mariners tried to drop anchors hoping that they will not be beached or wrecked. This did not help because the sands below were constantly shifting and the anchors failed to keep ships in place. Mooring rings were installed along the cliffs but that didn’t help either.

The Idea of Being a Cursed Sand Bar

There was nothing the mariners could do to avoid being wrecked or beached at the sand bar. The way the ships would simply drift towards the sand bar struck the superstitious mariners very badly. Stories started spreading that the sand bar was either haunted or cursed. Even folklores appeared in scene. One such folklore states that there was a mermaid who was once shot by a man from a local village. This made the mermaid angry and vengeful and so, the mermaid created the sand bar and cursed it.

The Story of Mermaid and the Cursed Sand Bar

Here is the story of the mermaid and her curse in details. It is being said that once there was a man named Tristram Bird. One fine morning he went out for hunting and suddenly spotted a beautiful maiden sitting on a rock. She was combing her magnificent locks. The man immediately fell in love with the maiden and asked her to marry her. To this, the maiden declined his proposal pretty bluntly. The man got angry and in rage, shot the mermaid.

Upon that, the mermaid cursed the harbor and the very next day, a sand bar was form in the estuary. People saw ship wrecks and dead bodies everywhere.

The story took off from there and many people then reported having seen mermaids. Many have reported strange and ghastly cries. The locals claim that the grim cries are of the mermaid and they sound unearthly. It is also said that the mermaids wait in the estuary’s shallow waters and wait for ships. Once they spot the ships, they lure them in to their eminent doom.

The rest of the story of England’s Cursed Sand Bar will be continued in the next part of the article which will be titled, ‘England’s Doom Bar – The Saga of Maritime Horror’.


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