December 7, 1941; “A date which will live in infamy.”
Today is December 7 and this time every year we remember the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Seventy-six years ago, the US Navy was pounded by hundreds of Japanese torpedo and dive bombers. During the chaos, the Battleship Arizona took a direct hit to their magazine. Eyewitness accounts said they saw the deck of the battleship lift up and then the concussion from the explosion hit them. In minutes, the Arizona went down and 1,177 sailors were trapped and died a horrible death by drowning.
Another, lesser known, vessel that fought in the attack on Pearl Harbor was the USCGC Taney. The Taney was a cutter and as it moved out of the harbor during the bombing, it is rumored that a Japanese Zero was shot out of the sky and crashed near the Taney, the pilot survived and was pulled from the plane. One story is that he was beaten to death by the crew, while another was that he was placed in the galley which served as the medical ward for wounded sailors. Although there is no official record of the Japanese pilot, there was been ghostly activity near the galley when visitors claimed to hear a man speaking Japanese.
In remembrance of this day, I want to share with you two ghostly events, one with the Arizona and the other with the Taney. My niece, Sydney, was in ROTC in high school and her unit was selected to go to a memorial service that would take place on the Battleship Arizona. For those that may not know, the hull and the hole cut into it to save those trapped inside is part of the memorial, you can still see the hole (it is covered by glass so you can see into the hull). I told Sydney that when she got the chance to go and visit the window in the hull to take two pictures.
When she returned from Hawaii, I asked her about her adventure and if she took the pictures. She said she did, but she didn’t get anything. I smiled and said, “Really, let me see the photos.” She pulled them up and in the first photo you could clearly see the water still in the hull, but nothing unusual. When I pulled up the second picture, I noticed that there was something in the water this time, I enlarged it and you could clearly see the face of a young sailor looking out of the water directly into the camera. When I showed it to my niece, she flipped out. I believe her phrase was, “Oh my god! Oh my god!” Sometimes you can get the best evidence when you least expect it.
I was able to do a company team-building event on the USCGC Taney, it was 3 teams of 5 people and each team had an experienced investigator leading them. I knew enough of the history of the ship that I knew there would be a good chance for some paranormal activity. Every team had at least one experience to share at the end of the night. There were two instances that stand out for me. The first was a photo taken by one of my investigators of a man’s face looking out from the locked communication room (no access was allowed during the investigation), that in of itself was pretty cool, but the other one supports the rumor of a Japanese fighter pilot captured.
I was going up into the bridge of the ship and one of the people on the 5-person team had said he knew Japanese. I asked him to say what is your name in Japanese, and we both clearly heard a response, in Japanese. Clearly it was heard in an area that one would not expect the Japanese spirit to be (as he was supposedly in the galley), but spirits do wander, and maybe this fellow decided to see what we were up to.
There was enough activity at the Taney that I just may set up an excursion to go and check it out more thoroughly or maybe…The Battleship North Carolina which is berthed in Raleigh, North Carolina.