Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Golden Gate Bridge’s Phantom Ship

Tennessee Cove ***

The story of this phantom ship is one of San Francisco’s favorite ghost tales. 

The SS Tennessee, a steamship late one foggy night in 1853 got caught in the Golden Gate Straight’s * deadly current and ran aground on the rocks. 

Fortunately, 550 passengers and 14 chests of gold made it ashore safely before the Tennessee was torn apart. The spot were it went down was named, “Tennessee Cove” in honor of this lost ship. **

Ever since it went down the SS Tennessee has been seen on dark foggy nights in the bay. 

After the Golden Gate Bridge was built in 1937 many credible witnesses started to report seeing this phantom ship as they stood on the bridge. Some reported hearing screams in the mist. 

Sailors under the bridge also reported seeing the phantom SS Tennessee. 

This ship is most often seen on dark fog-laden nights. Once the ship is spotted it then almost immediately disappears. Many witnesses state that they were confounded by its appearance because it is obviously a vessel from another era in history.

One well-known encounter took place in November of 1942. 

As the destroyer USS Kennison passed under the Golden Gate Bridge the crew spotted the outmoded ship. They passed by so close that they were able to see that the Tennessee’s decks were unmanned. 

One crewmember spotted the steamer’s name written on her side. These witnesses knew that they had seen the ship and its wake but their ship’s radar at the time registered nothing.

This sighting was unusual in that not many ships have passed so close to the Tennessee or been able to watch her for more than a minute before she vanishes. 

Of course there are other tales of ghosts connected to the Golden Gate Bridge but these involve the people who have committed suicide by jumping off this bridge.

*  The Golden Gate Straight is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.

** Tennessee Cove is an embankment off the Pacific Ocean in Marin County California. It is part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

*** The Tennessee Cove landmark arch collapsed in January of 2013.

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