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.