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The Midnight Watch


My story takes place in RTC Great Lakes, Illinois (US NAVY BOOTCAMP). What a place! It has been around since 1905 and has trained many sailors throughout its years (approx 40, 000 a year). The overall environment and experience of the place puts ghosts completely out of mind. As a recruit, I was given the job of "Starboard Watch". This is one of two watch section leaders, the other being the "Port Watch" section leader. My major duties were leading the section in drill, keeping track of the compartment log book, assigning watches (guard duty) to random recruits in the compartment (open barracks), and not to mention getting my head ripped off everytime I failed to carry out orders given to me, or if someone else failed to carry out the orders given by me. With that being said, here's what happened during my time there...

(Week 1-3) The place felt naturally forboding. Even with 40 other guys, you still felt like something was going to sneak up on you and do God knows what especially at night. I often dismissed it as homesickness or general discomfort of bootcamp.

(Week 2-4) Every time we would sit at the front of the compartment for a lesson, you would always see something move out the corner of your eye, at the back of the compartment where nobody else was. It was strange at first, but then when you realize that other recruits are constantly looking over their shoulder like you, only to see nothing at all. It became a topic of converstaion, to the point where some of the guys would constantly look at the back of the compartment in hopes of catching a glimpse of whatever it was.

(Week 5) One of the guys constantly felt sick every time he'd pass the door of the cleaning supply room on the other side of the head area (toilets). On another occasion, while showering, the knob for my shower head turned itself until the water shut off! I turned to guy waitng and he said "I guess he's trying to tell you you're done", I asked, "WHO?". He said "the ghost" and then he laughed it off.

(Week 6) The activity started to become more frequent in occurance. At night you would feel a gust of air rush behind the head of your bunk as if someone was running past only to see nobody there. I didn't think much of it until the third night when I looked to my left to see a "mexican wave-like" reaction working its way towards me. One by one, each individual recruit seemed take notice of the weird sensation.

(Week 7-8) The laundry bags are hung in bags in the washroom resembling a meat locker. One of the recruits (same one that became ill at passing a door) grabbed me and told me to take a look. He said upon entry, all 6 of the bags were hanging at angles as if someone were holding them there. By the time I had arrived, they were all swinging as if they had just been released from grip. (Weird)

One of my watchstanders, a very intelligent, level minded recruit by the name of Parker, accompanied me on what was nearly the last of our watches until graduation: THE MIDNIGHT WATCH. It was just passed midnight. He took the forward part of the compartment and I took the aft (back of the compartment). Armed with flashlights guardbelts and canteens, we were ready to take on anyone! I remember peeking out of the back window which led to the fire escape to ensure that nobody was paying us an unpleasant visit. I glanced over my shoulder to see who I thought was Parker and I turned slightly and said, "Parker get back Forward!... Whatever was there, kept walking past and vanished into the back wall before I could see what it was. It made no sound at all. I was completely freaked out at this point! I moved very quickly to the front to tell him what had happened only to hear Parker scream and come running out of the head (bathroom) like a bat out of hell. He said, "I saw it, I saw it!". He said he was doing a routine check of the cleaning supply room, when he opened the door he saw a recruit standing there just huddled in the corner staring off into space, he wasn't wearing the proper uniform, which was odd. Parker thought it was a joke until the recruit had vanished into thin air! After that, niether one of us could sleep.

(Graduation Day) Our RDC's (Recruit Divisional Commanders) gave us a brief pep-talk about going off into the fleet and what not. One of them had told us that things like that have been going on for quite some time in our building. It had seen recruits through 2 major wars and a fair share of conflicts in between. Sadly some recruits never got to see graduation. There had been a few accidental deaths at random points in history invoving training. A chief had supposably hung himself in the floor above ours some 40-50 years prior to. It is truly a place of great physical and emotional investment. Even nearly ten years on, I never forgot that night on the midnight watch.

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

Darkforeboding (1 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-29)
Wanted to add my story as I wonder about it often. In the winter of 1977-78 I was going to Electronic Tech. 'A' School on Great Lakes NTC. I was assigned to fire watch late one night in the ET 'A' school. I was the roving watch and walked around the building constantly making sure nothing was on fire and no one was breaking into the building. Me being diligent I decided this probably meant the stairs that were the fire escape, so I went through the doors into the indoor fire escape staircase only to find the doors locked when you went through and you either had to exit the building on the ground floor or stay there. I tried the exit door but found snow piled against the door. I probably could have forced it, but didn't want to go outside the building so decided first I'd try to find another way back. It was then that I hear wooden doors slamming in the basement. I went further down the stairs to the basement level, hearing the doors slam again, and opened the door to the basement calling out to see who was there. I'd never been in the basement but thought someone must have an office down there and was working late. No one answered and the slamming door noise ceased. I went back up the stairs to the floor and began banging on the door hoping the desk watch would come open the door and let me back into the building, but after about five minutes the duty CPO opened the door and let me back in. "Oh! Chief, it's you, you must have been the one I heard slamming doors in the basement." He looked at me funny and said he hadn't been in the basement. We walked to the desk watch and I adamantly told him I'd heard doors slamming in the basement, but he insisted no one was in the basement. After he left I was sure there was something I wasn't being told and was determined to look through the basement for myself. I found a way to prop all the locking doors open and went to the basement and walk completely through it. No one was there. There were no offices in the basement, only storage rooms and a room for the boiler. There were no wooden doors in the basement, only the usual grey metal military doors and they were all locked. The only way in or out of the basement was the staircase that I had used. I never found out what made the noise of slamming doors.
agochoa (1 stories) (3 posts)
8 years ago (2016-12-19)
Division 133 baby! Folkes, Amador, and Tomb. Lord knows what happened to them. I still have boot camp dreams of them making my life hell. All in good fun.
kevin6680 (5 posts)
8 years ago (2016-11-02)
Out of curiosity, what was your division number, graduation month?
ajmick5 (1 posts)
9 years ago (2015-09-30)
I was a recruit in Division 22 which was across from the Recruit Chapel and next to the Galley. We were on the first floor.

I had outstanding penmanship, so I was selected to be a watch stander for our Company.

We had just received our first real uniforms (we wore our sweatsuits for the first week), and I had the midwatch.

I was doing my rounds and walked out of the head and fanroom into the berthing compartment. I was having a terrible time as a recruit and took a few steps looking down at my feet, thinking, "4 more years of this: ("

When I looked up the rover for the Division was walking ahead of me. I looked forward to this, because we would talk for a few minutes in the recruit lounge. I was about 10 feet behind him and catching up, but he walked past the lounge door, and I was worried, because I didn't know what to do. We were almost to the end of the compartment, and I was an arm's length away when he turned left at the end of the racks. I followed him, and when I turned the corner no one was there.

I immediately dropped to the deck and turned on my flashlight, and no one else was on the deck. I also checked the racks nearby, and all the recruits were in white t-shirts and in deep sleep.

This was 20 years ago, so we had the old fashioned dungarees with white 'Dixie cup' hats that had been issued for most of the 20th century, so I thought he was a fellow watchstander.

They renumbered the Divisions while I was there, and Division 22 became Division 13.
Kevin0987 (1 posts)
11 years ago (2013-07-25)
wow I'm so glad I found your post!

I just saw the conjuring and it brought me back to sum of my own ghost experiences... ALSO IN THE GREAT LAKES NAVAL BASE!

So I was only in the 2nd-3rd grade... I lived in quarters 202h with my bro, sis, mom and dad
My dad was a captain and the house was gorgeous and haunted!
But friendly ghosts:)
Anyway sum things that went on---

We had a mice problem so my dad set mouse traps in the basement under bookshelves because we had a cat and he did not want her stepping on them... Later we would find them pushed out into the middle of the floor, still set! Untriggered!

My mom was studying to be a nurse so she stayed up very late in the night studying, she would say she always felt a presence behind her and would turn around thinking it was me/my bro/sis but no one was there... Whats crazier is she would place her pencil in between her book and close it and go to get something in the kitchen... When she came back the book was open to the page and the pencil gone!

At night we would put my cat in the basement since she used to scratch the rugs... The door to the basement was VERY heavy... We would close it all the way shut... But the next morning my cat would be out and the door wide open

We werent the only ones to experience our house!
We had our neighbor/friend house sit for us when we went to see family in boston mass... When we got home... A huge rug from japan we have right when you walk in the house completely rolled up and leaning against the wall... When we asked her if she did it for some reason she said no it was like that the next time she went into the house... She was to scared to go back alone for the rest of the time she said, she always had her mother come

Other neighbors had strange things happen to... One neighbor always smelt cherry tobacco smoke everyday at a specific hour

And my mom had talked to the woman who has run all the housing for years and this woman said one house multiple different people have lived in all called about a man in a gray suit in their backyard

Im hoping you're still checking back on this post!
It was nice to read
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-04)
I loved your description of the head turning "mexican wave" as well! 😆 Absolutely priceless!
I'm thinking this amount of activity is almost a given, considering the number of years and recruits that have passed through. It sounds like a 50/50 split in the type of hauntings you and the other recruits witnessed. A good amount of residual, for sure. But the bags being suspended in almost mid-air, along with the shower knob turning off on it's own just screams out "Prankster spirit" to me. One that loves showing off! 😆
And I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea that there was a little hazing going on. Just because you couldn't see the guy, doesn't mean he wasn't there. 😉
Thank you for sharing this wonderful account.

XxoBethanyoxX (5 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-03)
My Nanna Has Had the same things her house is sirousley haunted, things flying (She used to had a dog, the flying things were dog food.) The Guitar playing and weirdist of all whispering and the mouse clicking on the computer in the next room x my cusan liam ran down stairs like your freind saying he had seen something and heard whispers in the next room he was nearlly crying like your freind! 😕 help, you to is your mate alive and well? Ask him to join he might be some help. 😊
agochoa (1 stories) (3 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-03)
Hahaha, that's the only way I could describe it. Each guy from aft to the forward of the compartment reacted differently but all seemed to take notice, either slightly, or to the point of noticing that nobody was there and then looking down the lane of bed heads to see what it could have been. One after the other. It was winter, so the windows were shut except for a couple of hours in the mid day. This only happened at night. It was kind of funny but freaky because you could tell that it was coming your way.
Pjod (3 stories) (978 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-02)
week 6 "mexican wave..."
That description of the event is spot on, as you described, perfectly, the type of reaction to follow such an occurance.
agochoa (1 stories) (3 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-02)
Thank you for your responses! Id like to say there was somebody yanking our chain but there was nobody that could be found at the time of those experiences. Hazing will always be alive and well in the military no matter what anyone says, but these events seemed so random, bizarre, and extraordinary. As far as the instructors being involved, they never spent the night (even though the office had a rack) and the only ones available were the OOD and the watchstanders of the Quarterdeck (down on the first floor) and they couldn't rove outside that area unless authorized to do so.
moravian (1 stories) (171 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-01)
My father went through boot camp there for World War Two. In my army years I encountered a few ghosts at various military posts. There are many untimely deaths through accidenys, suicides and homicides.
HappySpirit (187 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-01)
Great stories of bootcamp agochoa - really well told. Felt like I was there. Could be some hazing and pranking going on but sounds like at least a good bit of the experiences were the real thing. I love military ghost stories because you've got some very intense emotions laid down during wartime plus as a recruit your're being trained to handle dangerous frightening physical situations - but the paranormal is another matter entirely.
cosmogal926 (9 stories) (1223 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-01)
Hi agochoa, Thank you for this amazing account. Sounds like there was hardly ever a dull moment at this bootcamp. Places like naval/air force bases are not strange to emotional events and tragedies. So it does make sense to me that these types of events would leave an imprint and cause residual and or intelligent activity. I hope you have some other stories to share with us. Thanks again, and take care 😊
Argette (guest)
12 years ago (2012-02-01)
Great Lakes is legendary for activities of all kinds, so I am not surprised you've had some unusual experiences there. Are you sure it wasn't your superiors or instructors playing some sort of tricks, a rite of hazing maybe? Even so, I believe you. Imagine the emotions that had passed through Great Lakes...

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