A Maritime Haunting – The Ghosts of the USS Yorktown (CV-10)

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) in operation. (Bowker, 2010)

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is an Essex class aircraft carrier that  was named in commemoration of the sunken USS Yorktown (CV-5), which was destroyed during the Battle of Midway in 1942.  Built in 1941 and first launched in 1943, she served in the Pacific Theater in WWII, earning eleven battle stars, and again in the Vietnam War, earning five more.

She’s a bit of a movie star, having been used in films like Tora! Tora! Tora! and the Philadelphia Experiment, in addition to the documentary The Fighting Lady.  She was even a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission.

The United States Navy donated the USS Yorktown to the Patriot’s Point Development Authority in 1974, and she is now part of the Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum located in Mount Pleasant—just across the Cooper River from downtown Charleston.  In 1986, she was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Panoramic view of the USS Yorktown (CV-10) (Wikipedia, 2012)

She’s also allegedly haunted.

The staff at the museum has witnessed all kinds of activity, including apparitions so clear that they were identifiable as members of the ship’s crew.  Sightings have been reported by the museum staff, of course, but visitors and even police officers have seen all kinds of unexplained stuff.  Weird things have been seen just about everywhere on the ship—on the hangar deck, the flight deck, the engine rooms, the restrooms, the officers’ staterooms, the weapons locker area—all over.

A possible ghost in the radar room. (Butterfield, 2008)

In total, 141 men died aboard the USS Yorktown, though it appears some are still there.  To the right is a photo taken by William Butterfield in August, 2008.  This is a photo of the ship’s radar room.  Understand that there is a pane of glass between the photographer and the room, and when you’re aware of this, it’s easy to dismiss what’s seen in the photo as a simple reflection, perhaps of Butterfield, himself.  But Butterfield has said that he was alone when he took the picture.  He has also said that he was not wearing the heavy, long-sleeved shirt shown in the photo.  August temperatures in Charleston are easily in the mid- to high-80s, with heat indexes approaching 100°F.  As a former resident, I can tell you that anyone who would wear a heavy shirt during a South Carolina August would have to be nuts.

This year, Mac Burdette, the Executive Director of the museum, asked The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.) to investigate due to the sheer volume of activity experienced on the ship.  But it was important that the investigation be conducted respectfully, with reverence to the individuals who served aboard the USS Yorktown.  “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,” he said.

A Japanese Dive Bomber attacked the Yorktown in 1945. (Hills, 2009)

T.A.P.S. investigated in February, 2012.  What they experienced was pretty remarkable.  With the museum closed, and all power to the ship turned off, the eight-person team split into pairs, and began searching the ship to confirm…or debunk…what was reported.  Their full investigation aired on the SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters on May 2, 2012.

The T.A.P.S. crew wasn’t disappointed.  In addition to the expected unexplained noises, they caught full-body apparitions, conversations, laughter, even physical contact…and that was just in the first half of the episode.  One of the specters was spotted on the flight deck where a plane had crashed, killing three crewmen.

You can see the episode here.  Very interesting stuff.

But is it true?  Who knows?  You’ll have to visit.  Tickets for Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum can be purchased daily from 9am to 5pm.  It’s an incredible museum, and well worth the trip, even without the ghost sightings.

Image Credits:

A Japanese Dive Bomber attacked the Yorktown in 1945:
Hills, W. (2009, March 18). Japanese bomb and ghost bomb strike yorktown!!!. Retrieved from http://www.patriotspoint.org/news_events/japanese-bomb-and-ghost-bomb-strike-yorktown/

Radar Room:
Butterfield, W. (2008, August). Is the uss yorktown now haunted?. Retrieved from http://www.yorktownsailor.com/yorktown/ghost.htm

USS Yorktown:
Wikipedia. (2012, January 19). Uss yorktown (cv-10) panorama.jpg. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Yorktown_(CV-10)_panorama.jpg

USS Yorktown in use:
Bowker, G. (2010, August 28). Patriot’s point: Naval history at its best. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/patriots-point-naval-history-at-its-best?render=print

~ by scareschs on May 13, 2012.

15 Responses to “A Maritime Haunting – The Ghosts of the USS Yorktown (CV-10)”

  1. […] A Maritime Haunting – The Ghosts of the USS Yorktown (CV-10)The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is an Essex c… […]

  2. my father was on the ussyorktown how can I see some of these pictures you all are talking about?

  3. To the sailor’s who remain on Yorktown in spirit we owe our deepest respect and debt of gratitude god bless.

  4. I was with VS-23 on the Yorktown for three WestPacs and numerous Carquals from 1963-66. Never saw anything.

  5. […] A Maritime Haunting – The Ghosts of the USS Yorktown (CV-10) […]

  6. Me and my daughter visited the ship last week Aug. 9th 20017 what we heard below deck was banging on pipes also seen a abriation in the engine room.. also seen much more. It was a expirence I’ll never forget and I do not believe in ghosts. We also have several pictures too.

  7. I had the pleasure of staying the whole weekend with my son’s Cub Scout troop 2 years ago. The girls/mom’s stayed in one area in rooms. The boys/dad’s stayed in the hanging bunks. I was tired late the first afternoon and decided to go take a nap while my 18 year old daughter explored with one of the other girls. I changed into a tshirt..and a pair of gym shorts and layed on top of my sleeping bag on my bunk. As soon as I layed on my right side…I felt a hand starting at my ankle rub my leg and then from my wrist up my arm. I wasn’t afraid. I was almost sad for who ever needed to touch another human. I just said “Well hello.” Nothing else happened. I felt like someone was watching over me. I’ll never forget it.

  8. The Yorktown
    Is a very much haunted aircraft carrier.
    The days before the last sailors left, there was a fatal curse put on the Yorktown: “Let all sailors stand hand and hand and gather after we die to live on the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown, till the end of time, let those who are the sons and daughters stand watch and gather and ride the waves till the end of time.”
    This is the curse that was handed to me from my father and the Navy men of Jacksonville, Florida, that their sons and daughters were to be given the ship and set sail to a new place to put the Yorktown, in North Carolina.
    I received the honor of Admiral the two days at Jacksonville, Fl. …now set sail for Wilmington N.C., and dock the Fighting Lady next to her escorts ship, and all will be set free, [or] stand hard, and don’t let her come to her builder’s home base, and be haunted for life.

  9. […] https://scaresandhauntsofcharleston.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/a-maritime-haunting-the-ghosts-of-the-u… […]

  10. My family and I stayed for the weekend with Cub Scouts . My mom, my friend, and I stayed in the captains quarters and after the second night I felt sick and nervous and I was freaking out . We came home and went to a party soon after that . I was really nervous and cried , I’m shy ,but not that shy . After a little while later I was better. And my mom took a picture with a flash and my brothers eyes were normal for the flash but mine hade big white shines and what looked like a face.

  11. […] Linda Vista Community Hospital, East Los Angeles, California, USA October 22, 2010 Dr. Edwards allegedly haunts the Linda Vista Community […]


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