The Terrified Sailors” explores a theme familiar to readers of Parley’s Magazine: that duty is more important than fear, and that the “ghostly” always has a logical explanation. The story seems to be a reworking of an anecdote in Voyages and Travels, by Tyerman and Bennet; the original anecdote was published as “Parrot and Owl” in the October 26, 1831 issue of Youth’s Companion.
“The Terrified Sailors” (from Parley’s Magazine, Saturday, March 16, 1833; p. 13)

Some young sailors on board a ship at sea were once ordered to go up the mast to furl the sails. When the first got up, he heard a strange voice saying “It blows hard.” The lad wanted for no more. He was down in a trice and telling his adventure. A second immediately ascended, laughing at the folly of his companion, but returned even more quickly than the former declaring that he was quite sure that a voice not of this world had cried in his ear “It blows hard.”

Another went, and another, but each came back with the same story. At length the mate, having sent up all the sailors, ran up the shrouds himself, and when he reached the haunted spot, heard the dreadful words distinctly uttered in his ears, “It blows hard.” “Ay, ay, but blow it ever so hard, we must do our duty for all that,” replied the mate fearlessly; and looking round, he spied a fine parrot perched on one of the ropes, who had been the cause of all this alarm. The bird had probably escaped from some other vessel, and had lighted on the mast of this.

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