There are Sea of Thieves ghosts around depending on who you ask. The community is talking about it, especially in relation to Sea of Thieves Shrouded Ghost, the infamously elusive megalodon that few pirates have ever seen with their own spyglass. Lately though, a new kind of ghost has appeared on the shores of Crook’s Hollow, one of the game’s many islands, and the apparent apparition has swashbucklers the world over setting sail for ghost hunts.
As I’m a huge fan of Sea of Thieves and spooky stuff of all sorts, I decided to investigate this urban legend further to see if there’s any buried treasure in these rumors or if it’s all just fool’s gold.
The Devil of Crook’s Hollow
Before we look at the evidence, we first need to gather round the campfire and discover the origins of the ghost story. It began on October 2nd when passionate Thieves streamer Captain Falcore published a video to YouTube titled, “CROOKS HOLLOW IS HAUNTED // SEA OF THIEVES - A Ghost? A glitch? You decide!” At time of writing, the video already has over 26,000 views and has quickly grown into legend. In his video, Falcore shares several segments of recent gameplay streams in which he found a mysterious character following him on Crook’s Hollow.
This mysterious character, whom Falcore plainly dubbed the Bald Lady (I prefer “The Devil of Crook’s Hollow”), is each time dressed in the same ragged clothes, with a face that cries of death and despair, and is seen lurking nearby Falcore, though he’s never noticed her live in the moment, only after upon editing footage for his channel.
In several instances throughout his supercut, this woman is found staring at Falcore, never moving or speaking, and no gamertag is displayed above her head, which would signify the character belongs to another human player that may have just been on island with him. The video uses the game’s original soundtrack and creative editing to properly deliver some seafaring scares. I first watched it in the dark and early hours of one morning and for the first time ever, I found Sea of Thieves genuinely unsettling. But is the ghost of the Bald Lady a new threat in the magical realism world of Sea of Thieves, or is she just a well-executed Halloween hoax? And if it’s the latter, who is pulling the strings?
Why the Ghost Might Be Real
There are several reasons to suspect the ghost is genuine content which Rare have snuck in with the game’s recent update. For one, they’ve got a big Halloween update coming soon, Fort of the Damned. They’ve not revealed much about this update yet, but in the world of Sea of Thieves, anything that refers to the “Damned” regards the underworldly spirit realm of the seas. Ghosts are already firmly ingrained in the lore of Sea of Thieves.
Another reason to suspect the Bald Lady is the real deal is because of how Rare has updated the game previously. Often times, following smaller maintenance updates, players will find things altered, new characters in new locations or changes to the world’s geography in small, subtle ways, as a means to prepare the game’s world for its incoming more sizeable content drops. Like the Bald Lady, they are often things you could easily miss, but also things the most eagle-eyed players might discover ahead of schedule.
Executive Producer Joe Neate even alluded to the ghost in a recent developer video, saying “Crook’s Hollow? No, f- that. I wouldn’t go there at night.” His joke has become a Rorschach test for players, with some using it as evidence that the ghost is real and others pointing to Neate’s demeanour as signifying Rare is playing along.
Why the Ghost Might Be a Hoax
While I don’t like to so quickly take the wind out of players’ sails while they’re ghosthunting, there are several reasons to suspect the Bald Lady is a hoax, and truth be told, there are many more reasons to suspect it’s this way. For one, it would take a concerted effort to hoax, but it’s not impossible. The clothes the Bald Lady seems to be wearing is the Rotten Bilge Rat dress, which is available to all players who purchase it with in-game gold for a lowly 5,400 coins, so it’s not like the character is clad in some unattainable NPC attire. Her face of despair and death also seems to have a Curse applied, a recently added cosmetic feature that gives your character more, well, character - again, nothing out of reach for players.
The fact that a gamertag doesn’t appear in Falcore’s video or any others that are surfacing can be easily dismissed by the ability to hide nameplates in the game. If Falcore had a co-conspirator in his crew dressed in the Bald Lady garb and ready to stand motionless and look creepy, the rest would be quite simple. You film something with the Bald Lady hiding out to be found later upon closer review - wink wink.
Circumstantially, it should also be noted that this whole legend kicked off when the calendar had just turned over to October, the unofficial month of spooky stuff. Falcore’s ghost sighting could be considered a seasonally appropriate haunt. It’s also suspect that some of the earliest corroborating evidence came from players who frequent Falcore’s Discord channel. Inspired copycats or involved conspirators? Either way, the ghost’s legitimacy may be as bald as her head.
The Sea of Thieves lorebook runs deeper than many on the outside may understand or appreciate, but it’s also not some shapeless blob that can be toyed with like Play-Doh. Most of what we see in the game has some foundation in the lore we’ve already seen and read. Peripheral content like comics and novels are often prologue to in-game events - and for the so-called Bald Lady, there’s no precedence, so where did she come from? She could exist as a new wrinkle to the game’s backstory, but more likely she’s the creepiest avatar players could make without dev tools.
One technical reason to question the ghost story is how she appears at different distances from the player in ways that don’t seem to make much programming sense. Sometimes she’s mere feet away, while in other sightings she’s the silhouette of a speck well across the island. Sometimes she’s standing in plain sight (if it wasn’t for the darkness), other times she’s shrouded in bushes. To date, no player has approached the ghost on video either, with one recent player giving chase to the Bald Lady only for her to disappear before he could reach her - after a convenient cutaway. The longer this goes on with no one ever getting right up next to the ghost, the more likely it is a hoax, because the hoax would have no answer for what happens next so hoaxers instead avoid that scenario.
I reached out to Captain Falcore for comment he told me he is not sure himself whether it’s a hoax, a bug, or a real haunting. “I think all I can say is, if it were a hoax, I love how it’s bloomed in the community as people try to debunk it.” Others responded to my inquiry sharing their sightings too, but they all followed Captain Falcore’s original October 2nd video.
Rare provided only a “no comment” when I approached them with questions about the ghost, leaving more space for pirates and players to make out the game’s viral inkblot test.
Another Thieves streamer, Chenzo, told me he thinks “Falcore is just playing people… But honestly I freaking LOVE it. I was scared while I was searching for her on the island and my heart was racing.” According to him, he spent the weekend successfully recreating some of the earliest supposed sightings to demonstrate how they could be faked, though those videos were not ready to share at the time of writing. Still, for those who want to believe, the legend is always better than possible reality.
While I and many other Sea of Thieves enthusiasts have come up empty-handed when looking for the ghost ourselves, more and more players are sharing their clips of The Devil of Crook’s Hollow. The story is bound to have a happy ending no matter what, though. If it is a hoax, whoever is behind it further solidifies the game’s design emphasis of “tools, not rules.” Over the last year and a half the game has led to inventive player-driven content like an at-sea game show, a highly competitive ship racing league, a vibrant role-playing community, and so much more. Sea of Thieves hosting its very own ghost tale is yet another instance of the game’s unique success story and its special place in the world of games-as-a-service.
If he’s hoaxing us all, Falcore deserves credit for nailing it on the first try. A hoax uncovered makes for a hoaxer no longer trusted, but for now at least Falcore can ride this wave knowing he’s created a Sea of Thieves urban legend, and it grows with each moon rising over Crook’s Hollow. It’s an exciting story that should keep the community engaged with sightings and scares as we lead into Halloween. It couldn’t come at a better time, and for that reason among others it’s all probably a bit too convenient to be true. Then again, the next time you’re alone digging for treasure, and the sun begins to set, and you catch a fleeting glimpse of some unwelcome silhouette, be careful, for you may be under the ominous gaze of The Devil of Crook’s Hollow.