Spooky Stories from Around the Service
From Installations to Aircraft to Ships
October 29, 2014 by David Khan
After hundreds of years, the military has amassed many incredible tales of battles, accidents, and other stories that are not for the faint of heart. These tales create another colorful layer onto an already rich and storied landscape.
While not everyone believes in military ghost stories, those who do often view these spooky tales as “proof” of the supernatural. In fact, many experts in the field of paranormal psychology believe that military installations, vessels, and battlefields are a ripe breeding ground for paranormal activity, as those places have been the scenes of violence, dramatic events, and intense emotional experiences.
We’ve amassed a few of our favorite stories. We’ll let you decide for yourself if these are just the result of over-active imaginations or true tales of a world beyond our own.
The Haunted Warship
During its 27 years active service, the retired aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12) saw more than 300 fatalities, including suicides and freak accidents. Some of the departed are said to still linger inside the bulkheads of this mighty warship, unwilling to go to the other side. A few people believe that a spirit crew of up to 50 sailors roams around the ship, running it as part of their intense patriotic love for the vessel and this nation. Witnesses to the presence of these specters might observe flashlights turning off and on, or claim to hear faint whispering in the dark passageways or objects being moved despite the ship being securely tied to the pier. Now a museum based in Alameda, Calif., the Hornet actually offers late-night guided tours and overnight stays for those who want to investigate for themselves.
Remember the Alamo
The historical site of the battle between the Republic of Texas and the Mexican Army (led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna) the Alamo is known more popularly as the last stand of James Bowie and Davy Crockett. More than 200 defenders were slaughtered during the 13-day siege by the Mexican Army, and the ghostly reminders of the battle started being talked about only weeks after the fight was over. Mexican troops were stopped from tearing down the fort’s chapel when apparitions of six monks clothed in robes appeared in order to protect it. Another common sighting is of a sentry who roams the top of the Alamo and whose footsteps can be heard during rainy nights.
Old Disciplinary Barracks
In the heartland of the United States sits one of the most historically rich Army posts in our nation’s history. Established in 1827, Fort Leavenworth has been involved in many wars, including the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and Indian Wars. It is also significant because it houses one of the most notable military prisons in the United States: the United States Disciplinary Barracks, which were originally built in 1921. The original barracks (called “The Castle”) were demolished in 2004, and an upgraded facility was constructed in its place. But many of the original structures still remain, including the administration offices and guard towers.
Several ghostly stories can be attributed to this facility. The first happened after a large uprising in the prison during World War II. The 14 instigators were hung one by one, every hour, until all had perished. Because the facility didn’t have enough gallows, one of the elevator shafts was used instead. The military police that patrol that area claim to have heard screaming from the area years after. Tower 8, one of the original 12, was not renovated when the facility was modernized because it was no longer required to be manned. The majority of the ghoulish tales refer to the ghost of a former guard who committed suicide in the tower—he can sometimes still be seen in the tower at night, and those who work in central control claim to still receive calls from the unmanned tower.
It would be hard to find someone who doesn’t understand the cultural and historical significance of Pearl Harbor or the events that happened Dec. 7, 1941. Ford Island, a former Army Air Corps Field, is known for the aerial attacks from Japanese bombers and its close proximity to “Battleship Row” where the USS Arizona was sunk. No longer an active airfield, the hangars are now used by the Pacific Aviation Museum. These hangars have regular strange occurrences, including men’s voices being heard, office lights turning off and on by themselves, and a mannequin named ‘Kramer’ who stands near one of the B-25 bombers on display that mysteriously moves on it’s own. At neighboring Hickam AFB, a ghost by the name of Charlie has haunted the Pacific Air Forces headquarters building. In 1941, the building was a 3,200 man dormitory were during the attack, 60 men perished. Strange noises including footsteps, keys jingling and doors opening and closing by themselves are some of the phenomenon that occur in this ominous place at night.