Mount Tarawera is responsible for one of New Zealand's largest volcanic eruptions in history, which killed around 120 people back in 1886. Hundreds die in a natural disaster, during which the sky looked to be burning, black smoke filled the air and survivors were, naturally, panicking and fearing for their own lives?
Why, those are the perfect conditions for a ghost story to take root! And so it did, but not without a few more details to build it up a little.
One of the biggest tragedies of the eruption were the dozens of Mori villages which were completely destroyed or buried, decimating the people's local community. All of this devastation could have been predicted, however, by a ghostly vision that was sighted eleven days before Mount Tarawera erupted, an event that was so loud and so bright some thought it to be an attack by Russian warships.
A boatful of tourists returning from the Pink and White Terraces, a natural wonder which was later wiped off the map by the volcano, saw what appeared to be a war canoe approach their boat, only to disappear in the mist half a mile from them. Onboard also was a Maori clergyman who recognised it as a burial waka, which dead chiefs were tied to in an upright position and sent into the water on.
Some had posited that the pre-eruption fissures could have freed the canoe from its resting place, but either way seeing a decomposed guy on a boat floating at you through the mist sounds absolutely terrifying.