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Navy Ship Haunted

 

I am a former Sailor.

My ship was decommissioned back in 2007. The Navy gave her crew an option to transfer to another ship, or to go ahead and get out of the military. Fed up with the treatment, I opted for the latter.

The USS Saipan, LHA-2, had been in service since Vietnam. It was 40 years old, and held together with rust and paint. Anytime we deployed, something broke, and we would have to limp to port, and we, the ships engineers, would fix it while the rest of the crew could take a leisurely leave wherever we pulled in to make repairs.

I worked with nearly a dozen other men and women in what was called the Main Space, where the ships engines and Main Reduction Gears were kept. It was a large, open space, with two floors. The floors were covered in industrial metal sheets, secured in place with rivets. The plates had three kinds of rivets, broke, bent, and missing. The plates rattled like crazy, with every step you made. The stairs (ladders, we called em) were secured in place with a pot metal pin at the top and the bottom. Everything in that place sounded like you were throwing pots down stairs when you walked.

At the head of the Main Space was our Center Console. It was an isolated room, with air condition, where the brass could sit and drink soda while the rest of us worked in 100+ degree temperatures, and tell us how we didn't work hard enough, or didn't make them look good enough for their bosses. While in port, when the brass wanted to go grab a beer with their buddies, when the fires of the boiler were out and the space was relatively cool... We sat in the console for Watch Duty.

From the console you could sit in the CHENG (Chief Engineer's) chair. A chair reserved for the well... Chief Engineer. It was for the big cheese to sit in, not some enlisted nobody! But hey, he's on shore! You could also see the entire upper level of the Main Space from that chair, making it ideal for watch standing. Nobody got in or out of the space without your knowledge. It was your job as watch stander to make sure that nobody messed with your space.

The strange thing was, I would talk to other watchstanders over the years, and they would mention things that didn't quite add up on watch. One fella told me that he heard someone running in the space. Like all-out booking it back and forth on the deck plates. He said at first it sounded like one guy, then several. He was convinced someone was messing with him, but this didn't make sense to neither him nor myself, as the space had a six foot bilge on the lower level... It would be a considerable drop if someone were to just hop the railing (also rickety, and held together with copper wire in many places) and you would hear them hit the bilge. All the entrances and exits to the place were dogged, mechanical hinges that operated with a lever, so it wasn't a quick exit. If anyone entered or left, the pressure in the whole place would have changed. We were on the very bottom of the ship. I'm not sure the mechanics of it, but anyone opening a door to that place made a huge vacuum, you could FEEL them open. Thing is, I had similar stories from other no-nonsense types that they felt a presence, or saw people walk by the front windows of the console (there was a super narrow catwalk by one window where the walkway was elevated, where you can see someones feet if they walked by, but there was really nowhere to go from that catwalk... It was for fixing insulation on steam pipes that ran over the console).

Also common, folks told of a Chief that would wake you if you fell asleep on watch in the CHENGS chair (which, surprisingly enough, was comfy, so falling asleep at 3am with the droning buzz of the console was easy to do!). Thing is, its the job of ALL khakis (Chiefs and Officers) to wake you if youre asleep on watch, but this one, no one had ever seen before. People would think we had a new chief, or after he left question just who he was, and why he was in our space.

Our Shaft Alley (yeah, I said it) was generally creepy as hell, you never quite felt alone down there, and people reported seeing spectral shadows moving about down there as well. The shaft alley was a six story ladder (a real ladder, not a stairs-ladder) down into a space that was maybe the size of a double wide trailer with the ships shaft (attached to the propeller) running through it. The path to the shaft alley was a rickety catwalk right smack in the middle of the ships hangar bay. It was shoddily constructed even when it was in its prime, and once you navigated this gauntlet of tetanus, you had the reward of your six story climb. However, whether due to design flaw or someone with a sick sense of humor, the light switch that controlled all of Shaft Alley... Was at the TOP of the six foot ladder. So just anybody could come and flick that switch and your happy butt was in the dark, and good luck climbing up that ladder. Thing is, no matter how ninja footed you were, you were making sound if you were trying to goof with someone. People reported having someone turn the lights off on them, and they start climbing the ladder, and demanding they cut the light back on. The light comes back on... They finish their climb, and there's no one around.

I never felt comfortable in certain parts of the ship. I told folks that there were places on the ship that I just WOULD NOT GO. Something just weirded me out in these locations. Without telling others what these places were, people would ask me...

"The lower V?" (Sort of like our ships basement, but this is where Morale Welfare and Recreation put our fun stuff... So the place was well-lit, open, and designed to be a warm and inviting environment...)

"Behind the fuel oil pump?" (Oddly, this was in the mainspace, and it was literally just on the other side of a machine only mildly larger than your oven... It, too, was well-lit...)

There were other places on the ship where I just didn't feel welcome, or I felt like I had an extra presence watching me play Playstation over my shoulder.

The O-2 deck took them all, though...

During your time as a Sailor, youre expected to mess crank. What that means is, that since the Galley workers cook your food and feed you, you're supposed to help lighten their load by helping them out for a few months. Staying overnight to chop onions, making sure things are clean, things like that. Granted they never came down and thanked us for making the ship move through the water by fixing the engine, but that's neither here nor there.

I lucked out. I got to spend my crank time taking out officer's trash, and keeping their hallways clean. It was long and thankless work due to the tyrant watching over the process.

The Navy is saturated in tradition. The O-2 level stood for Officers, level 2... It was the second floor for officers, and where they slept and did whatever else officers did. Enlisted personnel were not supposed to be up there for any reason. Often I had to explain why I was on THEIR level to passers by.

One night, as I was finishing my cleaning (I still had things to do before I was "done") I was struck with an overwhelming compulsion to run. To just haul it as fast as I could out of there. I saw nothing that caused me to want to run, I didn't hear anything. It was just an urge... The same urge I think that rabbits feel when they know a fox is near, but cannot see it. That was the most scared I had ever been in my life, and do you remember what I said earlier about all the doors having dogs? Could you imagine having to run from something that you are SURE was right on your tail but could not see, and having to undog and redog every door in your way? The strange thing was, I ceased to feel that urge, like a weight being removed, the SECOND I crossed the limit to the O-2 level and crossed into enlisted territory. I did not experience that again during the rest of my time cranking.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Swordsaint101, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

WhiteWolf (4 stories) (147 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-08)
I am sure that many of people on this site know of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for those who do not know of it the Intrepid is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street on the West Side of Manhattan. I have been there many times. One year I was on a class field trip with my law enforcement class which allowed me to go to parts of the ship that are closed off to the public. At one point my class were brought to the Anchor room where many young men lost there lives. When our tour guide was telling my class about the part of the ship I had felt some one grab my arm and pull me away from where a chain would have been mind you there was no one around me since I like my space. Has any one else experienced something on the Intrepid?
rookdygin (24 stories) (4323 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
cjaygregory,

I was an East Coast Sailor myself, however there are many stories told of the old aircraft hangers on Pearl (I believe one is a Museum now... Complete with WW2 era bullet holes in some of the windows) as well as the USS Arizona Memorial itself. However with you actually being on base I'm sure with some quick questions you can find many places on base that have a Paranormal history.

Respectfully,

Rook
cjaygregory (3 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
i'm in the navy now, stationed at pearl harbor. However, I am a seabee and don't know anything about ships! I've, of course, overheard many of my ship-board friends discuss the layout of them, including my roommate who is currently on the Port Royal, which is also about to be decommisioned. Were you ever out here or have you ever heard any stories about this base? I've read a story about a building on hickam being haunted but never anything about pearl, which I find extremely odd. Anyway, thanks for your story and I hope either you or someone else can give me some good, ghost material (;
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
Honestly Rook?
Nothing beats your friend having a hand grab onto his through the hull of the ship. That is classic! 😲

Jav 😊

~signing out~
rookdygin (24 stories) (4323 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
Jav,

FINE, I will...

I attended night classes and every Thursday was nickle beer night and 'Danny Boys Pub' just outside the Gate of Corry Station... Any Course we had scheduled for after 2100 hours on a Thursday night was held at 'Danny Boys'.

Actually we had an Ensign forget that in the Bahama's they drive on the left hand side of the road... He looked both ways, stepped into traffic and preformed the classic 'struck by car roll over hood, roof an trunk... To land on your feet again maneuver... He landed on his feet, returned to the bar he'd just had left and ordered another drink...

We could go on forever Jav... But this is a ghost story site... Perhaps we should stick to stories about spirits of a less 'liquid; nature?

Respect (hic) fully,

Rook 😲
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
Rook,
Yep! That one is a winner for sure. Tradition does have it's perks. MY TURN!
Now, when those guys are at the O Club... Let's just say there are reasons we don't let them know we're enlisted that go beyond our own survival. Officers are not on their best behavior when they are "off duty" it seems. The crap they get away with there is absolutely unbelievable. And remember, I worked as a bartender in a biker bar for two years before I enlisted. I figured there probably wasn't much they could do that I hadn't seen before. WRONG! Oh, they weren't evil bad, they were childish and loud mostly. But they had these little pranks they would pull on each other that made you wonder just who the hell was in charge of these monsters. They had a tradition right before graduating flight school and after their final flight was completed, that the last guy to make it into the casual bar from the flight line would have to buy the first round. Doesn't seem like a big deal, right? What the poor sap didn't know, or any other butter bar for that matter, was what their instructors had in store for them once they got to the bar. They hog tied the last guy to make it through the door, and he was kept that way until some unknown rule to the prank was met. Other guys got it too. All throughout that night they would find more excuses to tie more guys up. They were just left there on the floor for the longest time as their buddies would end up next to them, until it someone let them up. You cannot believe the tips you make during those little "parties"! Once they were released they had to get someone to ask them to see their socks. Then they would be safe the rest of the night. Since it was typically myself and one other bartender working the bar, they had to get us to ask. Here's the funny part, in order to see their socks, they had to pull that one piece flight suit down to their ankles. These guys did not wear underwear, not a one of them! But to get us to even ask would cost them as well. The first time I worked one of those parties I came back to my room with over $500 in tips!
BEAT THAT!

Jav 😆 😆 😆
rookdygin (24 stories) (4323 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
Jav,

I got you beat... I had the Ultimate duty station for 'revenge' on the Officers... Corry Station Pensacola, Fl. A training base for the Electronic Warfare / Intelligence types... What was Ultimate about it? Not only is the area thick with history and haunts (my experience 'Where did the light go?' happened here) but when you take a short drive up the road from Corry Station, you come to Naval Air Station Pensacola... Home of the Blue Angels and the Naval Flight Training School, where the 'not quite officers' learn how to fly. During their flight school the have to salute the Enlisted Members they see on base... So it was fun to visit... BUT WAIT THERES MORE... The day they Graduate they become full Officers and tradition 'dictates' that the first Enlisted Person that gives them a salute receives a Silver Dollar from the New Officer. They 'hated' us...LoL.

Sorry, didn't mean to highjack...

Respectfully,

Rook
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
Swordsaint,
You certainly have captured the essence of what the life of the enlisted is all about. You had me laughing out loud in some places!
I have no doubt whatsoever about the veracity of your experiences. Especially when you described the condition of the ship and how it all goes back to the construction. We all know how that goes...
"Property of the United States Government. Paid for by your tax dollars." ~ (contract awarded to the lowest bidder)

I got a kick out of the way you described the O-2 Deck. I served in the USAF, my military job was categorized as 'Club Management'. You guessed it, a glorified dishwasher and bartender is about how it is. But I was assigned to the O Club at a base that taught the freshly graduated from OTC, how to fly. Everywhere you went you were confronted by 'butterbars' that couldn't wait to test out their power of having the enlisted obligated to salute them. It was even worse at the O Club. My very first day my Chief gave me the low down on how things would have to be if I wanted to survive. There would be no uniform worn by the enlisted who worked the club, no mention of military status at all, no complaints about the behavior of said 'butterbars' would be tolerated, and lastly... In the event there happened to be an officer ranked at Full Bird Colonel (or higher) in attendance (at the bar) at closing time, you were not allowed to close. You stayed open all night if that was what he wanted, and no mention the time was to be brought to his attention. Oh joy! I'm sure you can fill in the blanks from there. 😆
Between your story and Rook's comment I have been enjoying the hell out of all of it. Thank you for sharing.

Jav 😊
rookdygin (24 stories) (4323 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-07-05)
Swordsaint,

I too am a former sailor... Enlisted in 1987 Retired 2007. I know of the spaces you speak of. My second ship was a Knox Class Frigate the USS Trippe FF 1079... It was Old... Ragged and falling apart. It too had spaces that made you look over your shoulder. I would not be surprised if there were both residual haunts as well as intelligent haunts aboard the former USS Saipan. The residuals could be the walking on the deck plates... The intelligent... The unknown Chief who would wake folks... If no one was ever written up for sleeping on watch after being caught by this unknown individual that says volumes about his being non-corporal.

Some of these 'feelings' you experienced may have even been due to High EMF levels... Just imagine the levels it could reach in some of those spaces.

The Trippe had 'her' bad spots as well... While in dry dock our engineers were working down in the bilges... Scraping and Painting... Many of them reported the feeling of being watched or of hearing footsteps during this maintenance period... A friend of mine, a MM2 (Machinist Mate Second Class) was working a needle gun one night when he felt it 'punch through' the deck... He reached down and sure enough he felt a hole he had created with the needle gun... Unnerved by the fact the ships hull was that thin... Coupled with the felling of being watched MM2 'FREAKED OUT' when a hand grabbed his... MM2 bolted out of the space and it took a week before he would go back into the space.

A yard worker, working on scaffolding rigged around the outside of the ship so the hull could be scraped and painted had reached up and grabbed his hand when he put it through the hull he had caused.

I believe each and every US Ship could very well be Haunted...

Happy Spirit... When it comes to Decommissioned Ships it depends... Some go on to become Historic Sites and or Museums... Most go to the scrapyard... But a piece of each one gets 'broken off' (Ok cut off) and sent to what are called the Plank Owners... These are the members of the 1st Crew of the ship, the crew that Commissioned it. Some sit in a scrapyard others are recycled... And the BB's those big old Battle Ships with their 16 inch guns... Well they keep getting 'mothballed' and the retrofitted and used again...

Swordsaint...Thank you for sharing this and thank you for your service.

Respectfully,

Rook
tacticalpirate (1 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-07-05)
Hi swordsaint. Former sailor here also, I served on LHA-4 Nassau, so I can just about see exactly what you're talking about when you describe the ship. I was an ET, working on the 08 level, but i've heard some stories about some of the areas you describe on our ship. I've heard some engineers tell about coming up a ladder (an actual one, not a ladderwell) and feel an icy hand just sit on their head.
Jimmiejam (14 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-05)
Nice story, sounds to me like you had at least one mischevious ghost turning the light off at the ladder, and a general / officer (not too sure on military ranks etc) ghost watching over you too.

The mischevious ghost was just mucking about every so often in different places, but was fortunatly kind enough to turn the switch back on when asked. But the officer ghost didn't want you disobying the rules and kept everyone in check, whether that meant not being in the 0-2 areas, or not sitting in the chair, he told you to wake up when you were sleeping on the job, and to run when you were in the 0-2 areas.

That's why you always felt someone watching you, it was him, always keeping people in line.
moravian (1 stories) (171 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-05)
I was 20 years US Army... No offense but reading this makes me glad that I did not join the navy. As for the haunting, sounds like you had a ghost aboard. Wonder if they're still there?
stephyw2001 (guest)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-05)
Nice account! I can tell you didn't really enjoy your time serving, but I understand. I was married to an Army soldier and the mechanics and cooks always had the shaft (no pun intended). MPs were probably the next hardest working group. I would have wanted to be a medic were I enlisted. They seemed to have it best.

Its weird how certain places, though well lit and seemingly normal places can be the spots you feel the least welcome. You were not on a submarine I take it? From the sound of your story, it was an above-water ship right? I can understand a submarine making people go stir crazy, and see/feel stuff. You would think if you were able to get fresh air more often you wouldn't feel the same effects.

Thank you for sharing your story, it was a good read! Very fitting for Independence Day!:-)
Siskakes (4 stories) (68 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-05)
That was a great story, well written and I really enjoyed the humour! I would have loved to work on a ship but you know what they say about the "Y" generation and manual labour. "work smarter not harder" lol anyways, it was such an interesting story! Thank you
HappySpirit (186 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-07-05)
Swordsaint, great story! And thanks for your service. I can understand why you opted to get out.
Sounds like there were some Vietnam era ghosts who liked to prank your team and some others who just didn't like you guys and gals around. What happens to a ship when it's decommissioned? Does it go to some scrapyard and sit or is it recycled like old autos?

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