Whether you are interested in a good ghost story or the historical importance of this over 44,000 short ton warship, you have your day cut out for you when you visit the USS Battleship North Carolina located in the Cape Fear River on the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina.
The USS North Carolina (BB-55) was the lead ship of the North Carolina Class Battleship and one of only four warships named after the State of North Carolina. Ordered to be built in 1937 and completed and launched June 13, 1940, it cost over $76 million in 1940 US Dollars. The Battleship took part in every major naval offensive battle in the Pacific and her 15 Battle Stars made the USS North Carolina the decorated American Warship of World War 2.
During her commission, there have been over 17 reported deaths from battles, accidents, friendly fire, septicemia, shore accidents, drownings, and sicknesses.
After the World War Two, she was decommissioned in 1947 and transferred to North Carolina in 1961 where James Craig purchased the ship from the Navy for just over $330,000 to serve as a memorial to service persons killed in World War II serving from North Carolina. While trying to move it up the Cape Fear River using tugboats the ship struck another ship, that was used as an Army Troop Transport and turned into a floating Restaurant. The Battleship North Carolina crashed into the Restaurant so hard that it had to close.
During the 80’s, the Battleship North Carolina had to be scavenged for spare parts to fix up other yet older Battleships still in service. This has left large areas of the ship without pumps and the entire inside of Turret 1.
The Battleship North Carolina is now a Museum and a National Historic Landmark, and tours are conducted daily.
The imposing ship sitting quietly now in the Cape Fear River is not what it seems from the outside. From the outside, you can just imagine the sound of the massive cannons and deck guns firing in anger, the 16 Anti-Aircraft guns firing its 38 caliber rounds trying to fight off Kamikaze attacks and the 3 Kingfisher Floatplanes’ engines rumbling as they take off on patrols.
Are the screams the injured men and the traumatic deaths that happened on board during its time as a Battleship are forever imprinted in the steel hulls of this floating memorial?
Many visitors and ghost hunters alike think so. The Battleship has been the subject of many books on her hauntings, and numerous television ghost hunt shows trying to capture or explain the reports.
Unexplained cold spots, disembodied voices and boot steps along with poltergeist activity are just what Marvin Peck experienced during a tour on the Battleship.
“I was in the Surgical Clinic reading some of the signs for the exhibits, when I suddenly felt a blast of freezing cold air, almost like a freezer door had opened up, the room felt different, I can’t explain it, it just felt like 10 people walking in the room, I felt crowded even though I was the only one in the room.”, said Marvin Peck
“I could hear heavy boots walking towards me from the other room, it echoed off the steel of the walls and then I could hear a conversation, but it sounded frantic, a group of men talking and yelling, it sounded like a TV was on in the other room, but it was clear like the group of people were in the Clinic with me, next thing I know the display tray moved with surgical instruments and at the exact same time the stool next to the operating table shifted, it startled me so bad I ran out of the room.” – Marvin added.
There have been hundreds of reports of activity all across the Battleship, from people looking out portholes, doors opening and closing on their own, young men dressed in period Navy uniforms seen in passageways, lights flickering and guests claiming to be touched by unseen hands.
Whatever you come to look for in Wilmington, either historical, educational or haunted, you can find all three at the USS Battleship North Carolina.
Sonja Martin is a traveler and explorer. She always likes to write about strange and weird locations stumbled upon during her travels.
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