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USS Hornet

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 11

The eighth vessel to bear this name, the aircraft carrier USS Hornet was commissioned in 1943 under the command of Captain Miles R. Browning. Its service began in the Pacific theatre, where it was stationed throughout World War II, supporting most of the amphibious landings after March 1944 and striking the first hit in the sinking of the battleship Yamato. But that was not the end of her service, she would go on to safely retrieve the astronauts from both Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 splashdowns before being decommissioned and retired in 1970. The USS Hornet is currently moored and serving as a navel museum ship in the port of Alameda, California.

During its long and decorated service, the ship has been the sight of numerous deaths with over 300 people losing their lives in combat, accidents and suicide. (During the Hornet’s time in service, it had the highest suicide rate in the US Navy.) Many of the servicemen and women who lost their lives on the Hornet continue to perform their duties to this day.

Hatches open and close in unoccupied areas of the ship, people can be heard talking on the deserted deck. Former crew members, museum volunteers and visitors have all reported seeing an officer in his dress white uniform walking down the corridor in front of them – only for him to disappear right before their eyes. Contractors completing work on the ship have reported incidents of tools disappearing from the work location, only to be found in an unoccupied area of the ship, toilets which flush by themselves and cold spots which move.

Some of the most disturbing accounts come from those who have participated in the museum’s “Overnight Experience” which allows visitors to sleep in sailor’s bunks, eat breakfast and supper in the ship’s commissary and tour the ship with a docent. Visitors have reported having hatches open and close on their own, being pushed by unseen hands, and transparent sailors moving through walls as if under orders.

Janette Franklin, a visitor from St. Louis, Missouri, reported: “My sister and I spent the night on the USS Hornet. We weren’t supposed to, but after all the tours finished for the night, we waited until everyone was bunked down and snuck off to section of the ship we knew wasn’t open. It was real dark and there were no lights, so we were using our cell phones as flashlights. We were giggling and acting silly, making fun of the ghost shows on TV when a man in his dress uniform walked right between us and through the bulkhead. Didn’t say anything. Didn’t make a sound. We damn near ran over each other getting out of there.”

A witness who did not wish to be named stated: “I pinched myself so hard it bruised. I was staying the night in one of the bunkrooms with my mom and best friend. There was only the three of us, so there was an empty bunk below mine. I hadn’t been asleep long when someone pushed up my mattress from the bunk below. So I sat up to see who the joker was. Everyone was still asleep but there was a light coming from the far corner. Two sailors were standing there looking back at me. One winked and said, ‘I used to sleep there.’ I totally started screaming, but no one else saw it. I know I wasn’t dreaming.”

Ghost, Spiritual Or Historic Stories For Pubs And Restaurants