As one of the most decorated World War II battleships, the USS Battleship North Carolina is also one of the most haunted locations in Wilmington, North Carolina. The USS North Carolina has 15 battle stars for her courageous voyages in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. The battleship has literally saved thousands of people; and is now commemorated for the many veterans as well as 11,000 North Carolinians who lost their lives during World War II. It is also a hotbed of paranormal activities, which draws the attention of enthusiasts and investigators worldwide.
The USS North Carolina was first commissioned in 1941; it then became a formidable maritime weapon, which was controlled by 144 officers. There were also 2,195 military personnel who maintained it and kept it in operation during its peak capacity. She took part in every major naval offensive in the Pacific Ocean. There were only 67 personnel wounded and 10 casualties total while doing maneuvers in the Pacific Theatre. One of the most infamous attacks was when the Japanese struck its hull with a torpedo. This incident cost USS North Carolina five of their personnel who died in the attack but the expertise of her crew allowed her to keep up with the fleet. Many believe the ghosts of the young soldiers can be seen in her washrooms as a result of this torpedo attack.
There have been many sightings of spirits reported by guests of the USS North Carolina. One in particular is that of a young man with blond hair, he has been spotted in the ships passageways. There are also apparitions and figures peeping through portholes and corners, which has also been witnessed. There are also reports of doors and hatches opening and closing themselves, lights turning off, and even electrical devices switching on and off. One thing is for sure; the spirits are still hard at work even when USS North Carolina has come to rest in the port, here at Wilmington.
The United States retreated into itself after World War I, becoming less involved in foreign affairs and conflicts. After an economic and political turmoil, which lasted for almost two decades, the United States finally laid the keel of USS North Carolina in October 1937. The Navy Yard in New York became the birthplace to the first battleship built in sixteen years. The USS North Carolina would then become the first of ten battleships to join the American Fleet when the United States joined World War II.
Commissioned on April 9, 1941, the USS North Carolina was equipped with twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns and 16-inch/45 caliber guns. This formidable weapon required 144 commissioned officers, as well as 2,195 military personnel to allow her to run at optimum capacity. She became part of every major naval offensive in the Pacific Theatre, in which she would amass 15 battle stars. She received her first primary role during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. In August 1942, the USS North Carolina helped save the Enterprise, thus she became an aircraft carrier protector.
During her service in World War II, she carried out shore bombardments, which involved the sinking of enemy ships and destroying 24 enemy aircraft. Her anti-aircraft weaponry proved vital in protecting aircraft carriers, thus stopping several attacks. Her operations covered over 300,000 miles; she even survived the Japanese radio propaganda claiming that she had been sunk on several occasions. The USS North Carolina had several misses and was even hit once by a torpedo from a Japanese fleet. In this encounter, the USS North Carolina lost 10 crewmembers and had 67 wounded in the skirmishes; however, the surviving crew members managed to man the battleship allowing her to keep up with the rest of the fleet.
The USS North Carolina was decommissioned in June 1947 and placed on the inactive reserve fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey for 14 years. In 1958 she was about to be scrapped; thus, the residents of North Carolina fought on her behalf to prevent this from occurring and in October, 1961 she was brought home and dedicated the following April as North Carolina’s memorial to World War II veterans and the 11,000 North Carolinians who lost their lives.
This regal battleship has become a historical beacon and serves as a reminder of a tumultuous time in which had an impact on the entire world. She has witnessed so much violence on escalated levels there have been claims of several sightings of ghostly figures in the passageways and decks of this grand ship. The most infamous haunting is that of a young soldier who lost his life during the Japanese torpedo attack, which struck her hull.