Hauntings at the USS Constellation



Hauntings at the USS Constellation.

The USS Constellation is a ship that calls Baltimore’s Inner Harbor its home. It’s an old sailing ship that’s gruesome history has left it as one of the most haunted places in all of America. Despite the renovations and rebuilding that has been completed on it, the ghosts will not abandon ship. The ship in its original state was a 36 gun frigate and was first launched from Harris Creek, Maryland on September 7, 1797 as part of a fleet that included Boston’s Constitution.

rom the very beginning, the USS Constellation was destined to see much bloodshed. The first captain of the ship was Commodore Thomas Truxton. During a battle in 1799, the ship and her crew welcomed a huge victory while they were in the West Indies and they had managed to capture the French Frigate L’Insurgent. A seaman by the name of Neil Harvey was on watch but had fallen asleep at his post. After hearing about the man’s disregard for his position, Truxton ordered a lieutenant to run a sword through the man’s stomach. Once the battle was finished, Truxton then had Harvey’s body strapped to a cannon and blown to a million pieces. This was to serve as a warning to the other crew members. Now Neil Harvey can still be seen floating in and around the USS Constellation. He’s definitely the ship’s most frequent visitor and visitors have often mistaken him as a tour guide dressed in full costume.

The ship has seen many missions and has travelled to many places around the world including China, Hawaii, and West Africa. She brought support and relief to the Army when they were fighting the Seminole Indians and she also helped with slave interdiction. She was revered as a great ship after she fought in the War of 1812 and against the Barbary Pirates. In 1822, the USS Constellation had a young boy aboard who was working as an assistant to the surgeon. He was killed by two other sailors for reasons that are still unknown. A psychic by the name of Sybil Leek was once brought onboard and it was confirmed that the boy is still hanging around the ship.

In 1845 the ship started to undergo some major changes once it was brought to the Norfolk, Virginia Naval Yard. While some say that the original ship was scrapped in its entirety, some say that pieces of wood from the original were incorporated into the rebuild. Whatever renovations were made they were completed in 1855. She was launched once again in July of that same year. Because many sailors chose after that point to move to steam-powered engines, she is still today considered to be the last all sail-powered vessel built for the United States Navy.

In 1893 as she began to get older and more run down, she was moved to Newport, Rhode Island. She would now be used as a stationery training ship until 1914 when she would seemingly stop having any purpose and simply sit for her body to become more rotted with each passing day. Franklin D. Roosevelt changed that in 1940 and he commissioned her as the flagship of the US Atlantic Fleet. After all the funding was gone for that project, she was moved to the Boston Harbor until 1953. At that time, the citizens of Maryland raised enough money for her to be moved back home to Baltimore. It was after this move that ghosts began to be seen and heard.

It was docked in the local ship yard and there were plans for repairs to be made to it. The first reports came from sailors that were on night duty on some of the other ships within the yard. A submarine named Pike was the boat that was docked nearest to the USS Constellation and the sailors aboard started reporting that they heard strange noises and saw figures lurking inside the ship. In 1955, Lieutenant Commander Allen R. Broughman was determined to look into the many stories that he had been hearing about the ship. He called upon a friend who was also a photographer and they set up the camera in a spot that looked onto the ship’s wheel. It was almost midnight when they saw what seemed to be the figure of a man approaching the wheel. He was dressed in gold epaulets and appeared to be a nineteenth century US Navy Captain. They took pictures of the figure and were thrilled to find that you could actually see the man in the photographs!

It’s believed that the figure was Captain Thomas Truxton who is a notorious ghost around the ship. Along with his ghost, a seaman has been known to run across the gun deck and crying has been heard in the hold. Visitors onboard the ship have also seen and felt people running across the deck. Another seaman, quite somber in appearance and mood, has been seen walking sadly along the deck. It’s thought that he’s a sailor that hated his life at sea and ended up hanging himself. Often before apparitions are seen, the smell of gun smoke can be smelt. This is especially true before Truxton’s ghost is seen.

Carl Hansen is another famous ghost aboard the USS Constellation and he’s most famous for being the only ghost that is happy to be onboard. He watched over the ship until the alarm system was installed in 1963. He usually hangs out on the lower decks playing cards. One day a priest came aboard and was given a very friendly and detailed tour by a tour guide. Upon leaving the ship, the priest mentioned to the other staff members how helpful and knowledgeable his tour guide was. After hearing the priest’s description, it was determined that the guide was not a staff member but was indeed Carl Hansen.

The ship is open to the public today in Baltimore and if you care to visit this historical sea craft, you may even be able to spot some of the ghosts for yourself!

The USS Constellation

Hauntings at the USS Constellation

Hauntings at the USS Constellation

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