Are the spirits of past heroes still on duty aboard the USS Yorktown? Many believe so and suspect paranormal activity taking place at Patriots Point on the Charleston Harbor.
The crew from TAPS, including Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters, spent several nights aboard the USS Yorktown in early February. During this time, the ship was closed to the public — there were no overnight campers or hosted events, only Patriots Point security was allowed on the property and all power to the ship was completely shut off.
There are many ghost stories about the paranormal activity that occur aboard the ship since it was decommissioned but one stands out. Those in the security department have seen a dark shadow like figure, says Brian Parsons of the Patriots Point Security Department. The figure is of a man, who stands about 5’6”, known to the department as “Shadow Ed”.
“I met him about three or four years ago when I was making my rounds on the second deck near officers country on the starboard side. I was walking out of Room 200 when I looked over my shoulder and down the passage (during closed hours), I saw a someone cross the corridor. I decided I should go see what it was but once I got to where it should of been there was nothing. I thought it was just my imagination and started back on my way when in front of me I saw him cross my path again. At this time I reported it to my supervisor and the two of us looked all around but never found any one. The next day I shared my story with an employee of the graveyard shift and he had the same things to say.”
It’s known that many other ghost stories of the USS Yorktown involve hearing footsteps, disembodies voices and pans being tossed about in the galley.
The most startling evidence happens to be a photograph from William J. Butterfield, a visitor while on tour of the ship. Butterfield, who was in the Radar Room, noticed a figure in the picture seen above.
“I took this picture while visiting the USS Yorktown (CV10) aircraft museum at Patriots Point Naval Museum in Charleston South Carolina Harbor. I took the picture with a digital camera. When I took the picture, there was no one near me that would account for the image. Also I was not using a flash at the time of the picture. There was a pane of glass between the area I was and the inside area where I caught the picture. I was not wearing any coat or long sleeve shirt at the time, and no one was behind me when I took the picture.”
We here at My Paranormal can’t help but notice the ghostly mist of a possible ectoplasm vapor trailing above the figure. What could it possibly be?
“We’ve always suspected perhaps the Yorktown was haunted and come to find out that Blackbeard’s ghost and his pirate crew as well as the Hog Island pirates have found a home on the Yorktown,” says Mac Burdette, Executive Director of Patriots Point said. “We hold the men who served and died aboard the USS Yorktown in the highest esteem and we would never, ever do anything to disrespect their service. While we were intrigued at the notion of paranormal activity aboard ‘The Fighting Lady,’ our first priority was to make certain that any investigation was handled in a manner that was respectful of the service and sacrifice of the men who served aboard her.”
Burdette goes on to say, how over the years, they have received a number of reports of unexplainable noises, sightings and activities from visitors to the ship, employees and area law enforcement officers. “I can’t divulge whether or not TAPS found anything; but I can tell you that their staff said their visit provided some of the most compelling evidence they’ve seen in the history of the program. We hope everyone in South Carolina will tune in to watch.”
The USS Yorktown (CV/CVA/CVS-10) is one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. She is named after the Battle of Yorktown (CV-5) of the American Revolutionary War, and is the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. Initially it was to be named Bon Homme Richard but was later renamed to the Yorktown while under construction to commemorate the USS Yorktown, lost at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The ship was commissioned in April 1943 and participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation. Shortly after the end of the war, the USS Yorktown was decommissioned and was modernized, soon becoming recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an antisubmarine carrier (CVS).
The ship was recommissioned too late to participate in the Korean War but served for many years in the Pacific, including duty in the Vietnam War, in which it earned five battle stars. Later on, the fleet served as a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission, was used in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! which recreated the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and in the science fiction film The Philadelphia Experiment. Finally in 1970, the USS Yorktown was decommissioned and in 1975 became a museum ship at Patriot’s Point, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. It is one of South Carolina’s National Historic Landmark.
If you want to check out the episode of the USS Yorktown, tune in on Wednesday, May 2 for the hour-long episode on the SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters. Check your local listings.