The battleship USS North Carolina is now docked in Wilmington, North Carolina at Eagle's Island. It is open to the public for self-guided tours during designated hours. See our More Information link below for how you can tour this historic battleship.
On October 27, 1937, the keel of the USS North Carolina (BB-55) was laid down by the New York Naval Shipyard. She was launched on June 13, 1940 and commissioned April 9, 1941, Captain Olaf M. Hustvedt commanding. It was the first of the Navy's modern battleships to be commissioned and received so much attention during her fitting out and sea trials that she was nicknamed "Showboat". The USS North Carolina completed her shakedown cruise in the Caribbean prior to the attack on Pear Harbor and entered the Pacific on June 10, 1942.
The USS North Carolina's primary role was protecting aircraft carriers and she served in every major Pacific battle during the war including Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands, Tarawa, the Marshalls, Iwo Gima, and many more. During her illustrious war career, she won a total of 15 battle stars. With a crew complement of 1880 men, nine 16" guns, twenty 5" guns, sixteen 1.1" machine guns, and twelve .50-cal machine guns, she was one of the most formidable weapons of any naval arsenal.
She was decommissioned in June of 1947, after serving as a training ship for midshipman. Then in 1958, she was placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in New Jersey. Like so many other ships, she seemed to be destined to be scrapped when, in 1961, the citizens of North Carolina launched the Save Our Ship Campaign which ultimately succeeded and she arrived at her present home of Wilmington, NC. On April 29, 1962, she was dedicated as a memorial to North Carolinians of all services killed in World War II.
Only 10 men were lost during battle. But it's said that one or two still remain with the ship. A young blond man has been seen in the passageways. A different one peers out of portholes occasionally. One has hitched a ride with an unsuspecting guest. Hatches and doors open or close themselves, televisions and lights turn themselves off or on. Things move by themselves in front of witnesses. And they don't hesitate to make themselves known by talking (or even yelling). And of course there are cold spots, footsteps and other eerie experiences.
It may go months or even years between experiences. Several experiences may happen in a short amount of time. But when the ghosts of this battleship become active they certainly appear to make themselves heard very loud and clear.
Present were Jim Hall, Kady Harrington, Micki Rowlette, Anne Rowlette and her daughter Amanda, Waverly Hawthorne, David Gurney and Jerry Agar of formerly of WPTF AM 680 radio and his producer, Trent. We arrived at the battleship to do a daytime walkthrough in order to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the vessel. During which we took random photographs, one of which, taken in the mess hall, is shown below and contained an orb that is clearly visible.
We broke for dinner and returned at 7:00pm to conduct the formal investigation. We broke into three different teams each covering a section of the battleship. Three video cameras were set up in various locations that were purported to be active. At 9:32pm David Gurney witnessed movement in the darkened chaplain's office from what was once the ship's library. It was later discovered that at about 9:35pm all three video cameras had shut themselves off. The batteries had been fully charged and should have lasted much longer than 2.5 hours.
We feel that the Battleship North Carolina certainly merits continued visits and will continue to pursue this site.
UPDATE Aug. 17, 2005:
Directors Jim Hall and David Gurney joined TAPS for an episode of the SciFi Channel show Ghost Hunters on board the Battleship North Carolina. During the course of filming, an EVP was captured in the area of the brig. Also loud banging, footsteps, hatchways opening and closing and other anomalous noises were experienced in various parts of the ship and could not be attributed to any person in the area. Also Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of TAPS saw a moving shadow. As they followed the shadow, they noticed a bracket which was hanging loose from the bulkhead was moving as if someone had bumped into it. They followed the shadow into a room which had only one entrance/exit and no possible hiding place. You can read more about it on the SciFi Channel website: http://www.scifi.com/ghosthunters/episodes/season2/205/
UPDATE Aug. 2005:
The staff at the battleship graciously agreed to allow us to do a two day investigation on the battleship. Members of Haunted North Carolina were joined by several guests in order to cover the battleship properly. During the first night of the investigation, one of the guests took it upon himself to go off and wander around by himself. Unfortunately, since his whereabouts were unknown, this negated any evidence captured that night.
The second night proved to be more fruitful however. A possible EVP was captured in the brig area while Jim was conducting an experiement in which he was locked in a brig cell alone with a digital recorder. Also, in the forward #2 turret area below decks, Waverly Hawthorne saw an apparition of a human head and torso peek out from behind a tall standing locker and then quickly duck back out of view. Unfortunately by the time the picture took on the digital camera in which Waverly was holding, the apparition had vanished. However, Waverly described the apparition as being three dimensional, white, and with no visible features.
UPDATE Apr. 2008:
A joint investigation between Haunted North Carolina and the RDU Ghost Trackers yielded some interesting results. Two completely different groups observed the same phenomenon in the same location. While conducting EVP sessions in the corridor just above where the torpedo struck, both groups heard distinct knocking sounds. After verifying that the teams were alone on the ship, both teams attempted to ascertain if the source of the sound was interactive by requesting one knock for affirmative ("yes") answers and two knocks for negative ("no") answers. During the first of these sessions, a loud bang was heard on the wall just to the left of Steve Barrell's head. Startled, Steve scurried across the corridor, spun and snapped the picture below. In the photo, the flash of the camera can be seen reflecting off of something to the right of the lens, but does not illuminate the area directly in front of the lens. Also, the auto-focus on the camera is attempting to focus on an area two feet in mid-air in front of the lens. Both of these anomalies imply the existence of some type of mass not readily visible in the middle of the hallway. The source of the knocking, perhaps?