Wilmington, North Carolina “The idea of boarding a possibly haunted battleship and spending most of the night there in the dark may seem like a bad idea to some people.
Normally I hate scary things. No haunted houses or horror movies for me!
But when local paranormal investigators The Ghost Guild invited me to join them in their public investigation overnight at Battleship USS North Carolina at Wilmington, I decided to give him a chance. I felt comfortable with the team – having interviewed them many times over the years. Also, I thought it would be fun to bring my camera and audio recorder to document my experience.
The Ghost Guild holds public inquiry nights like these at different locations. For a fee, you can accompany the team and try to collect data – ranging from temperature readings to night vision camera recordings and audio recordings. It’s all about seeing what happens.
We went in April, the Saturday night of the Azalea festival, right after the fireworks. Investigators believe the fireworks mimic the sounds of war and could trigger activity on the ship.
The team points out that their investigations aren’t like one of those TV ghost-hunting shows. You are not guaranteed that anything will happen. In fact, much of the night for me was spent wandering around different areas of the ship and staying as still as possible while we recorded ourselves asking questions of the spirits on the ship. We have recorded the audio and it will be analyzed by the team to see if any sounds or responses are heard.
The Ghost Guild team has experienced certain things on this ship in the past, so each time they return to it, they spend time trying to come up with plausible explanations for those experiences. In 2018, a case involved hard hitting bed springs in the battleship’s sick bay. It happened three times. So they spent part of the time during the investigation I was trying to debunk what caused the springs to make that loud noise.
They still don’t know what caused it! For now, it remains unexplained.
During my time on the ship, I experienced some strange things. In the infirmary, I felt like someone was touching my back – along my spine – which actually caused me severe pain from a herniated disc. No one was behind me, I was near a wall.
Around 1 a.m. in the torpedo room, I experienced what could be described as an “empathetic” moment. You cannot enter this room during the regular visit. It’s a bit difficult to access and it smells bad. This is where a torpedo hit the ship and people died. After asking if anyone misses ghosts, I began to feel a wave of sadness hit me. Then, I started crying randomly. Rip my face. The wave of emotion came and then dissipated within minutes.
One slight thing you should know is that you should “tag” or say any sound you make when recording. They don’t want to have a gurgling stomach mistaken for a ghost talking to us. My stomach went crazy, and I felt like I was making belly noises all night!
To hear audio from the ship, including the torpedo room and actual ship sounds, listen to this week’s Out and About podcast.
The Ghost Guild wants to help historic places in their preservation efforts. By hosting these public events, the group helps raise funds for the battleship USS North Carolina to support its preservation efforts to make the ship available for generations to come.
And if you’d like to join The Ghost Guild in its next public inquiry, go to their website for more information.