Haunted Shipyards

Sally Painter
Mare Island Shipyard

Some haunted shipyards are abandoned relics of pre-cold-war naval bases while others are viable, thriving commercial businesses or an active naval shipyard. The very purpose of these facilities lend themselves to ghostly attachments, especially abandoned shipyards.

Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California

The Mare Island Naval Shipyard was established during the 1850s. It was home to the construction of Navy vessels. In 1996, the shipyard was decommissioned. The ghost tales about the shipyard are known to locals and those interested in the paranormal. According to San Francisco Travel, ghost hunters are regular visitors. EVPs and unexplained lights are a few of the paranormal activities captured by ghost hunters.

Visit Mare Island Naval Shipyard

You can take the Blue and Gold Fleet Ferry at the San Francisco Pier 39 or drive via one of the bridges to get to Mare Island. This is a very active community is supported by a Visitors Center and the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum (1100 Railroad Ave). The museum is open weekdays (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Saturdays (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Call (707) 557-4646 for more information.

Pascagoula Shipyard Huntington Ingalls Industries, Pascagoula

One of the many shipyards in Pascagoula, Huntington Ingalls Industries is a private industry but has a resident ghosts mentioned in Bud Steed's book Haunted Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Resident Ghosts

Steed writes about the Lunchroom Ghost that has haunted the shipyard's lunchroom for over 40 years. The spirit apparently enjoys an audience since it manifests during lunchtime when the room is crowded. Dressed welder's garb, the spirit chooses a seat and proceeds to open his lunchbox while smiling at those around him. The ghost pauses looks inside his lunchbox with a disapproving frown and then vanishes. Another apparition is a little boy bouncing a basketball around the secure facility. You cannot visit the shipyard since it is a fully operational company.

Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, SC

North Charleston Naval Shipyard operated from 1901 to 1996. Originally a Navy Yard, it later became a Naval Base simply known as the Charleston Naval Base. Many of the former areas of the base as well as the dry-docks are leased to private businesses and government agencies. There are some areas of the old base that have been turned into community parks. The apparition of a young slave girl has been reported hiding behind a group of trees at the Charleston Naval Base. Never venture onto abandoned properties without express permission by the property owner(s).

US Naval Shipyard, Norfolk, VA

This massive complex is said to be haunted by various spirits from a range of historical periods. In the book, The Spectral Tide: True Ghost Stories of the U.S. Navy, author Eric Mills write about the ghosts haunting the US Naval Shipyard at Norfolk, VA. Mills describes the large shipyard complex and the first dry dock built in 1767. The dry dock includes multiple buildings constructed from old sailing ship timbers. The author speculates that many of the spirits reported in this area are still connected to the timbers taken from their ships. These ghosts include:

  • John Paul: Named after the famous John Paul Jones, this ghost is the most prominent. It appears very vividly wearing 18th-century attire. In 1918, a sailor witnessed the specter. Frantic to escape, the sailor fell and broke one of his legs.
  • OCD ghost: This ghost is said to have a compulsion to rearrange the keys on the pegboard near the door.
  • Other manifestations: Witnesses report seeing flickering lights in the area known as the sail-making loft, white blobs floating about, disembodied eerie voices and the sound of sewing machines.
  • Three British soldiers: The soldiers are believed from the Revolutionary War or possibly the War of 112. The three soldiers appeared in 1971 when their graves were disturbed. They've been seen at Dry Docks 1 and 2 ever since.

Annual Haunted Happenings Festival

While this is a naval shipyard and not open to the public for paranormal investigations, you may attend the Annual Haunted Happenings Festival at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. This is a Halloween family event of fun and games. Individual ghost hunting isn't on the menu, but it may serve as a good introduction for anyone interested in the ghostly reports about the shipyard.

Resident Ghosts of Haunted Shipyards

At one time, the U.S. Navy had 13 shipyards, only four are still in operation. The resident ghosts of some of these and abandoned haunted shipyards make their presence known to unsuspecting and often terrified workers and visitors.

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Haunted Shipyards