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On Mare Island
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The Hauntings Of Ships And A Shipyard

By James Donahue

In all of my years of visiting the researching the hulls of old abandoned ships and writing shipwreck stories I have found numerous tales of haunted vessels. Among the best known are the Queen Mary, a famed old luxury liner now docked at Long Beach, California and being used as a hotel and restaurant, the decommissioned aircraft carriers Forestal and Hornet and the odd-looking art deco ferry Kalakala, now anchored at Seattle.

Details about the hauntings on all of the above vessels can be found in the Ships section of this website.

It is said that the ghosts of killed or former sailors and passengers on these old ships still walk the decks. Visitors sometimes see them in old-time dress of their day, or they hear strange sounds that vibrate throughout the ship.

Then there is the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California. Located on an island, the old yard covered over 5,300 acres and was the place where more than 500 great naval ships were built between 1854 and the time it was closed in 1996. Portions of the site were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

Shipbuilding was sometimes a dangerous work because it involved the handling and riveting of large and very heavy sections of steel and wood. Ocean going ships are among the largest machines manufactured by man.

Because of stories by visitors of "eerie feelings" and strange noises heard among the ruins of that vacant old shipyard, Soulseekers Paranormal Research Group recently hosted a visit by a paranormal investigation team, Haunted & Paranormal Investigations International, headed by Paul Dale Roberts.

The group explored various buildings, the old Mare Island Cemetery and even went into empty ammunitions bunkers.

Investigator Carolann Castro said she and her team were exploring one of the bunkers at the south shore of the island when they all felt a sudden and urgent need to leave. They had not seen anything unusual, and did not think they heard any sounds, but they all shared the same sensation.

Castro said they had an audio recorder playing while in the bunker. Later, when discussing the strange sensation they had all shared, they decided to play the recorder and see if it picked up anything that might help explain what had happened.

And sure enough . . . there was a spooky voice on the recording. It simply said: "Because I’m scared."

While the message did not appear to be something that would frighten a team of ghost hunters, they all sensed the message. Castro said it was an example of electronic voice phenomenon, or EVP.

There was one other odd thing that happened to the team. Castro said that much of the electronic equipment they brought to the island to use to check for abnormal energies stopped working while they were at the cemetery. She said she couldn’t even turn on her camera. After leaving the cemetery, however, the camera worked just fine.

Was it mere coincidence or evidence of spirits playing tricks on the team?