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Haunted USS Hornet

Updated on March 3, 2015

The haunted USS Hornet

The USS Hornet CV 12 is the eighth US warship to carry the Hornet name. It is a highly decorated aircraft carrier that took part in fierce action in WWII and served as the primary recovery ship for the Apollo 11 and 12 lunar missions. It is also purported to be one of the most haunted US warships in history. During WWII, the USS Hornet destroyed over 1400 Japanese aircraft and served as home to some 2600 sailors. More than 300 crewmen lost their lives aboard this ship, some in combat, others maimed onboard by spinning propellers, sucked in by air intakes, cooked in the steam room and blown apart by explosions. Sadly, many of the deaths were also from suicides, the highest rate in the U.S.Navy.

Where is the USS Hornet today?

In June 1970, the USS Hornet was decommissioned and is now a floating museum at the former Alameda Naval Air Station in Alameda, California. It recently received a grant to relocate the historic vessel to San Francisco.

707 W. Hornet Ave., Alameda, CA 94501

get directions

USS Hornet is known as "The Grey Ghost"

Photo Credit:Bakerwoman

Life and Death of the USS Hornet - The most decorated aircraft carrier in history

See the historic aircraft carrier and sense the drama of carrier landings

Take the USS Hornet Heritage Tours

The 200-year legacy

Read about the amazing USS Hornet history

Video of Ghosts on the USS Hornet

Take this quick poll

Paranormal investigators, ghost hunters, psychics, crewmen and volunteers in the USS Hornet museums all claim to have seen supernatural acitivites and sightings.

Do you believe that the USS Hornet is haunted?

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Duty and honor never die, but are still alive in the patriotic ghosts of the USS Hornet

Spirits of dead sailors and officers have been seen wandering the narrow passageways of the USS Hornet. Many of these men returned and have been seen going about their daily routines, still serving on of the most famous decommissioned ships in the U.S. Navy. Paranormal activities have been experienced by volunteers of the USS Hornet Museum and is a favorite haunt of paranormal investigators and ghost hunters.

Photo Credit: Bakerwoman

The kamikaze pilot ghost - Missed the boat

During WWII, a Japanese kamikaze pilot was on a suicide mission to crash into the USS Hornet but missed his target and ended up in the ocean. He was captured by the USS Hornet crewmen and placed in a holding cell where he went mad and died. It has been reported that the wails of the kamikaze pilot have been heard by some at the large vessel.

This is the view from the Pri-Fly (Primary Flight Control) located in the aft of the island of the USS Hornet where the Air Boss and his crew had access to all radios and ship's communication systems, flight deck lighting, launching and retrieval of aircraft.

Photo Credit: Bakerwoman

The ghost of Hell's Half Acre

Still keeping visitors out of harm's way

The steam and engine room in the USS Hornet was called Hell's Half Acre by the crew. Rightfully so, because it was cramped and boiling hot inside. A crewman was killed when a pipe ruptured, severing his arm and he bled to death. The hot steam literally made his blood boil and peeled the skin off his body. That was the condition of the hapless sailor when he was found. Today, his unseen hands have been jerking and pushing occasional visitors away from the dangerous machines.

The headless ghost of the USS Hornet

Lost his head in the catapult room

The "Catapult" was a powerful machine that was used to launch an airplane off the flight deck of the USS Hornet giving it the instant velocity for lift-off. The wire that was used to hook in and catapult plane has a tendency to snap, whipping around at 500 miles per hour and slicing anything along its path. Such was the fate of one crewman who was decapitated and another cut in half. Through the years, there were many other casualties aboard the USS Hornet from spinning snapped tow cables. Witnesses, including a visiting psychic, have seen a headless crewman pacing up and down the deck or heard his footsteps in the catapult room.

USS Hornet sleeping quarters - Ghostly crewmen still on duty

Overnighters are common at the USS Hornet through the stay-aboard program. Many witnesses have heard disembodied spirits talking and discussing their work and going about their usual business. Officers in naval uniform appear from thin air wandering the narrow passageways checking on the compartments of the giant vessel. If a visitor trespasses into an off-limit area, a nudge or poke on the chest from a ghostly crewman may be felt as a warning to stay away.

Photo Credit: by Bakerwoman

Is the USS Hornet haunted? Come aboard and find out.

USS Hornet upcoming events 2014

The Legend of "Shangri-la"

The USS Hornet served our country and saw unparalleled horror and devastation during the wars in the Pacific. After it was decommissioned, the USS Hornet came close to being scrapped but was saved by partiotic citizens for it historical value.

Leave me your thoughts about our National treasure.

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    • CampingmanNW profile image


      5 years ago

      Inasmuch as this ship (CV-12 , Essex Class Carrier) was originally named the Kearsarge but renamed the "Hornet" in recognition and honor of CV-8 (USS Hornet # 7, Yorktown Class) lost in the battle of Santa Cruz Islands in 1942, she does indeed have an interesting history. Much the same occurred when the USS Lexington was lost. The next ship in line being built was renamed Lexington (CV-16, Essex Class) in honor of it's namesake's loss (CV-2, Lexington Class) . I was not aware of the "Haunting's" you refer to on the Hornet, but they make for a most interesting read and hey....they certainly can't hurt the tourist trade. Thanks for a fun read.

    • jlshernandez profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: Welcome aboard this lens about the USS Hornet. I am honored to have you share you experience on the flight deck of this historic aircraft carrier.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I was in V-1 Div worked flight deck Nov 65 till May 66 then Primary Flight Control till May 69 Radio operator . With several Air Boss's all were Cdr's Naverette ,Ward ,Dungan, Sprague

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Posted this to G+

      Very interesting. :)

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations on your lens being included on the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"


    • Nancy S Oram profile image

      Nancy Oram 

      7 years ago

      I live very close to the Hornet and it's been a favorite place for field trips, scouts, etc., but I never knew about the haunting stories. Very interesting!

    • jackieb99 profile image


      7 years ago



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