The Haunting of Battleship North Carolina

One thing's for sure, you can read the Battleship's sign.
If you're planning a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina, make sure you include a visit to the world's most haunted battleship!

Commissioned in April of 1941 in anticipation of America's entry into WWII, the Battleship North Carolina in every major battle of the Pacific during World War Two, but lost only ten men in her six year career. In August of 1942, one man was hit by a strafe. The next month, six men died when the boat was torpedoed during the Battle of the Solomons. In April of 1945, three men died from friendly fire during the Battle of Okinawa.

This doesn't look so scary.
Decommissioned in June of 1947, the Battleship North Carolina languished in dry dock, destined for the scrapheap. In 1960 a grassroots program initiated by schoolchildren raised $330,000 to purchase the ship, and it made its final voyage to its new home in Wilmington. Declared a National Landmark in 1986, the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial lies at anchor in the Cape Fear River.

Said to be inhabited by at least two extremely active spirits, folks that have had the dubious honor of encountering the ship's invisible residents leave with no doubts in their minds. The night watchman has been besieged by slamming hatches and doors, cold blasts of air on hot summer nights, and a mischievous soul who likes to turn the TV and the lights off and on. He and other people have reported seeing a young blond man who has the rude habit of disappearing in front of their eyes. They've also seen him peering out of the portholes when the ship is empty!

OK, now this is starting to get spooky looking.
While the towheaded sailor seems to be a rather pleasant prankster, the other entity that resides in the ship is not. Witnesses also report terrifying encounters with a frigid, horrifying shadow that fills the room with an angry presence and leaves them trembling in their shoes as they run for the nearest exit!

There have been enough incident reports to pique the interest of professional paranormal investigation organizations, including Haunted North Carolina Paranormal Research & Investigations as well as The Atlantic Paranormal Society (which was featured on the TV show Ghost Hunters) who have held several sessions aboard the ship with interesting and varied results. On one occasion, several batteries in multiple pieces of equipment all drained at the same time. They found the most consistent activity in the shower room, where six men died during a torpedo attack over half a century ago.

During one session, two of the investigators chased a prankster deep into the bowels of the ship. Climbing up and down ladders and twisting and turning through the maze of rooms, they could hear their prey banging and thumping right ahead of them and see the doors swing shut as he passed through. They got close enough to see his shadow and finally cornered him in a room with no other exit. Imagine the chills that ran down their spines when they found themselves alone in an empty room!

Sometimes active every month, sometimes not seen or heard from for a year or more, the ghosts nonetheless stay on. They've been encountered by the caretaker, the crew, professional paranormal investigators, and…tourists. Some overly sensitive visitors balk at entering certain rooms, and others refuse to board the ship at all!

So, if you're planning on touring this great National Historic Landmark, keep your eyes open and your ears attuned. Don't be too surprised if you feel an invisible hand on your shoulder, because you just may be the next witness to experience the haunting of the Battleship North Carolina!

More Battleship NC photos in our Wilmington Tours.

For more information Battleship North Carolina.

Article & Photos by Robin Hewitt

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