Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Haunted Star of India

The Star of India when built was an experiment for she was built with iron instead of wood. She was built in the Ramsey Shipyard in 1863 on the Isle of Man and christened the Euterpe after the Greek goddess of music. 

Her initial voyages were ill fated. During her first voyage she experienced a collision and mutiny. During her second voyage she encountered a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal that cut off her topmasts, she barely made port. After this her captain died and was buried at sea.

For the rest of her sixty years plus in service her voyages, excluding accidents, were relatively calm. She made six cargo runs to India before 1871, then she was enlisted to sail emigrants to New Zealand, Australia, California, and Chile. 

It was during this time in 1884 that a young teenage stow away named John Campbell snuck aboard in Glasgow. The Euterpe was headed for New Zealand and Campbell was hoping to exchange a life of poverty for a life of adventure.

When Campbell was discovered, the crew put him to work for his passage. Tragically in June of 1884 Campbell fell from the main mast as he landed he broke both his legs and was knocked unconscious. Three days later he passed away and was buried at sea. 

Today witnesses have reported seeing him near the main mast on all decks of the ship. He has also been spotted hiding among the various chests in the ship’s cargo hold. Other reports state that several visitors to the Star of India have felt a cold hand touch them while they were near the main mast.

By the year 1898 the Euterpe was sold to Alaskan Packers who used her as a commercial salmon fishing and packing facility. In 1902 her name was changed to the Star of India. It was during this time another accident happened on board.

A Chinese seaman got caught in the chain room while the anchor was being raised. The noise of the rising anchor was so loud his cries for help were not heard. Unfortunately, he was crushed and killed by the rising chains. His ghost is said to haunt the Star as well.

By 1923 the Star of India being outdated was bought for $9,000 and towed into San Diego bay. The new owners wanted to restore her but the Great Depression and World War II got in the way. The Star fell into disrepair and was briefly used as a floating brothel. 

It wasn’t until 1976 that she was finally restored to her original splendor. Today the Star of India is apart of the San Diego Maritime Museum and is still put out to sea at least once a year; this makes her the oldest active ship in the world.

Besides the Star’s two resident ghosts other strange phenomena has been reported over the years. Human outlines have been seen on beds where no one is sleeping. 

Pots and pans move of their own accord in the ship’s galley and the smell of fresh bread is often detected even though the galley is no longer used for cooking or baking. 

Several witnesses have also reported hearing voices and footsteps below them when no one is there. Shadow figures have also been seen.

In recent years the museum has hosted Spooky Seafaring Tales and ghost tours on the Star of India close to Halloween.  


ArtDecoFTW said...

Not related to the haunting but I had once injured myself while touring this ship. I lost track of my mother, and in a panicked state turned around on the steep stairs, fell, and got 3rd degree friction burns on my hands, and a laceration on my leg.

Also I do not believe this ship is haunted, having been to the Hotel Frederick in Huntington, WV I can say I just didn't get the same vibe from the Star of India.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Everyone has their own experiences.