There is nothing I like better than a good ghost story. One involving a place close to home is even better. Fort McHenry Shipyard in the Baltimore Harbor, Maryland is now home to the U.S.S. Constellation, it is to be kept there for future generations to view and enjoy. It is also said to be home to many of her own crew who cannot or will not leave. The U.S.S. Constellation was the first ship built for the United States Navy in 1797. It was originally built as a frigate and was overhauled in 1853 as a sloop of war. The ship was used for another 100 years and saw many a battle, even against pirates and slave traders and surely had hundreds of men die on her decks and below.
The ship was finally retired in 1955 and ensconced in its place in the Baltimore Harbor. Now it is unfathomable the amount of death that has occurred, on, around or because of this ship. It was in service, in wartime and in peace for over 100 years. It boggles the mind does it not? The violent deaths upon the ship make it more prone to activity of some kind, whether intelligent or residual. If you ask anyone who has been aboard the ship most would agree something is just "off" about it. Many visitors have remarked that it is as if someone is walking just out of sight and no matter how you strain you cannot see them.
The most active times onboard seem to occur between Christmas and New Years, always around the midnight hour. The first sightings began almost immediately after the ship was decommissioned and moored in the harbor in 1955. Some have said that the smell of gunpowder will linger through the air right before an apparition appears. Also the crew aboard the Submarine Pike is moored next to the Constellation and has made reports of shadowy people walking along her decks, lights coming on unexpectedly and strange noises emanating from her decks.
Among the ghosts that are said to haunt the Constellation is Neil Harvey who was court marshaled for cowardice and treason for leaving his assigned post at his gun out of fear. His Lieutenant decided to start Harvey’s punishment off by stabbing him, but not fatally as the rest of his punishment was to begin in a most gruesome way. Harvey was then tied to the front end of a cannon and blown to bits. Harvey supposedly appears as a shimmering mass, wonder if that is because all he would have been after his execution was a mass?
There have also been several hanging aboard ship along with sailors murdering sailor. Supposedly sometime between 1820 and 1822 a surgeon’s assistant, an eleven year old boy was stabbed to death by two other sailors aboard, it is said occasionally he shows up in medical bay. There have been so many reports of activity upon the ship that it seems no one can keep up with them, but then again there is not a log book for ghostly visitors to sign. Have you ever been aboard the ship? What did you experience?
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