Monday, May 30, 2011

The Haunted USS Hornet

Memorial Day Tribute

Amidst the decommissioned vessels berthed at Alameda Navel Base there is an aircraft carrier that is considered the most haunted ship in the U.S. military. The USS Hornet was commissioned in 1943. It is one of the most highly decorated ships in U.S. Navel history.

Aircraft carriers are extremely dangerous places to work. The USS Hornet was no exception to this rule. During its 27 years of active service over 300 deaths occurred on and below its’ decks. Most are attributed to battles, but some are attributed to accidents that occurred. Sadly, all were violent in nature.

Some deaths occurred when snapping flight arrest cables decapitated men. Other sailors walked into spinning props or were sucked into their air intakes and blown off the deck by their exhaust. Some men committed suicide as a result of battle fatigue.

Crew and visitors alike have reported an amazing number of strange incidents, sightings, and sounds. Some of these include doors opening and closing themselves, tools that vanish and reappear, objects that move across floors or fall off shelves without reason. Many workers and visitors have seen spectral sailors moving throughout the ship as if following orders from another time. Toilets flush themselves, eerie presences are felt, and people have been grabbed or pushed when no one else is around.

In 1995 during fleet week six volunteers were staying aboard the USS Hornet. Being the only ones on board they were surprised to hear after they settled in for the night hatches opening and then slamming shut. A painter suspended 28 feet in mid air decided to stay late one night in order to finish the job. He heard flight crews shooting the breeze on the deck above when no one but him was near the ship.

A group of 200 people visited the ship for a presentation, most of them skeptics. Several of them saw an officer in khakis descend a ladder to the next deck, they followed him but they couldn’t find him, later they were told no one in uniform was aboard. Several people in this group reported feelings of uneasiness. Others reported that they felt a sense of approval as if the spirits were pleased the ship was being preserved.

One visitor to the ship, as it was being decommissioned, reported smelling a strong scent of tobacco near the forward elevator as he was being escorted, he looked back and saw a dark figure in WWll navy khakis smoking a pipe. The figure then disappeared. This witness told his escort what he had seen and he was informed that many had seen this same apparition in this location. This spirit is thought to be an air boss killed in the Battle of Midway.

Most who board the USS Hornet today get an overwhelming sense that they are not alone. This ship's tragic history is apparent even today.

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