Friday, June 7, 2013

Otherworldly Tales of the U.S.S. Constitution...

Constitution Underway by Hunter Stires

Fondly known as "Old Ironsides," the oldest commissioned vessel in the world’s navies today is the USS Constitution. Commissioned in 1797, and named by George Washington, the ship received her moniker during the War of 1812, while she served under the command of Captain Isaac Hull. The event took place August 19, 1812, just off Nova Scotia. One week earlier, the United States, still in her infancy, surrendered Detroit to the British. The Brits were riding high on this victory when the USS Constitution, and the British ship Guerriere, bombarded each other at close range. They were so close, in fact, that during the melee they collided once.

The Constitution, built far heavier and longer than her adversary, volleyed twenty-four pound cannonballs, which decimated the Guerriere's mast.  In return,  the British fired eighteen pound cannonballs at the Americans, to no effect. The balls just seemed to bounce off her thick oak hull. Recorded in a memoir of the incident, one British sailor hollered out, " 'Huzzah, her sides are made of iron! See where the shot fell out!" Thus the ship's nickname was born.

During her two hundred plus years of service, we find many old reports of distraught sailors, with ships in peril, who were rescued by the crewmen aboard the  USS Constitution. Once aboard they said they felt safe and at peace. Yet, at the same time, they could feel a bit of sadness lingering in the surrounding atmosphere. Whispers abounded of ethereal apparitions, from the very young to the very seasoned in years, wearing uniforms from the past still going about their earthly duties. They said if one listened closely, one could hear many different languages, antiquated in nature, yet the living were not responsible for these voices. Some reported the existence of a ghostly officer who invited various passengers to join his crew.

But what about ghostly experiences in the here and now? This beautiful old frigate, now stationed in Boston, still has a standing, living crew.  And indeed, this crew have reported brushes with the unknown. These brushes would mesh quite well with an episode of the Twilight Zone.

An unseen presence once blew on the neck of an unsuspecting female crewman... amorous ghost perhaps? After all, it has been quite awhile for some. And then one night, the watch caught sight of a 24 pound cannonball, rolling off to the left, then traveled back to its original spot, with no apparent motion of the ship to cause the event.  This particular cannonball didn't follow any natural turns or arcs attributed to the ship.  


Well sort of...  Did I mention the rocking chair? Apparently we have a possessed rocking chair in the neighboring stone barracks. More often than not, if one moves the rocking chair inside to the center of the room and waits,  the chair will go from perfectly still to a fully fledged rock. You know, there's something not quite right about rocking chairs rocking on their own accord...

Stay with us, because in a few weeks will visit USS Constellation, the last sail-only ship built and commissioned for the US Navy. This ship is rumored to be even more….well…strange. 

So, is the oldest active naval ship in history haunted? Or is it just the overactive imaginations of those who work there, alone, after dark? You'll have to make the judgment call on that. But perhaps you might want to visit her first, and see for yourself.



  1. The rocking chair thing made the hair on my neck stand up. Verrrrry creepy, Debbie. Keep those goosebump-inspiring tales coming.

    BTW, I have been on the U.S.S. Constellation (a few times). I can't wait to hear the strangeness related to that one! :)

  2. Yes... the rocking chair thing... and I'm not so sure what I would actually do if that ghostly captain asked me to join his crew. I mean, it's one thing to see a ghost and quite another to speak to one...

    Thanks for stopping by Mae! I love your visits!