Bedford Paranormal
Battleship NorthCarolina

I had read about this distinguished and respected battleship and was justifiably excited for having the opportunity to investigate it for possible paranormal activity with the WSPS. http://www.meetup.com/wsparanormalsociety/ The WSPS is a great group of investigators organized by Tonya and Sarah.

During World War II the battle ship North Carolina http://www.battleshipnc.com/ served our country with distinction in the Pacific theatre. It was said to look as if it was on fire when using its impressive firepower. It was the first of ten battle ships built for the Navy and was commissioned on April 9, 1941. Having taken part in every major Pacific engagement during WWII, the ship has a rich and deservedly proud history. Unfortunately, 5 lives were lost when the North Carolina was torpedoed in 1942. Lives were lost again in 1945, when three men lost their lives to friendly fire.

The battleship might have ended up in the scrap yard were it not for the people of North Carolina displaying their desire to save it. Wilmington was chosen as the site for its home and it was dedicated in 1962.

We arrived at the ship at 6pm during a light rain and under a dark sky. Danny Bradshaw welcomed us at the snack bar and proved to be a wealth of information. Mr. Bradshaw has served as the night watchman for over thirty years on the North Carolina. We wiped our glasses and faces clean of the rain as we listened to some of his opinions and stories of the battleship. Mr. Bradshaw has written a book about some unusual things that have happened to him during his career on the ship and I would recommend your purchasing a copy. It’s written in plain English and with an honest feel which makes it a good read as well as great background info for those of us interested in paranormal investigations. He told me that he believes there are two ghosts or spirits on the ship. One has a mean personality and has chased him through the passageways and thrown things at him. This entity has appeared in human form to Mr. Bradshaw and turns the room cold enough that Danny can see his breath. Once when Mr. Bradshaw was making his rounds below deck he saw the entity and ran from it as it chased him through the hallways. He could hear it behind him at several points and then suddenly saw it in front of him. Danny somehow ran to safety and made his way outside and onto the deck.

He told me another story where as usual he was alone on the ship at night when his phone rang. It was a lady friend of his and she asked if she could stop by with some home cooked food for him to enjoy. He readily agreed and she told him that she would be over at a certain time with the food. Mr. Bradshaw walked across the deck and was making his way down the walkway that connects the ship to the visitor’s center while his friend parked her car. He was making his way to unlock the visitor center and let her in. When he reached the car she was upset and asked if he was the only one on board the vessel. Danny replied that he was and asked why she would ask him that. She replied that as he was walking down towards the visitor’s center she could see a person pull back the curtain in his lit room and look out. The window was clearly visible from where her car was. There was no way that she would go on the ship now and she wanted to leave. Mr. Bradshaw thanked her for stopping by and for the food, while trying to reassure her everything was ok. He took the food back to his room alone and of course found it empty.

He said that he has paranormal experiences 3 to 4 times a year and that the ship is normally quiet except for the creaking and groaning of the vessel as is expands and contracts with the temperature. He took us on the ship where we set up a base camp in the room known as the Bull Pen. The enormous size of the ship becomes apparent as you walk the deck and explore its many passages. We split up into several groups and I was in Sarah’s group. We were going to set up in the brig. From the Bull Pen we walked down the hall and then down some stairs to a lower level below deck which is off of the tour area. When you explore the ship you’ll notice the tour areas are freshly painted, very clean, and have good ventilation. In the passages that are off of the tour the air is a little stale in some places due to a lack of any ventilation, has the smell of oil in others, and the passages themselves have paint peeling. From here we crossed towards the other side of the ship and then towards the stern. When we entered the brig I noticed several cells on either side of the passage and one at the end which was larger than the rest. This larger one was used for officers. We spread out in the different cells and attempted to capture some EVPs. After about ten minutes one member mentioned seeing a shadow on the other end of the passage moving about slightly at random times. I stood quietly in the passage looking towards where the shadow had been reported to be and waited. After a while it did seem as if there was a shadow moving but I was unsure if it was an optical illusion or something paranormal. We stayed at the brig for about another 45 minutes and then did some exploring of that general area. One room had supplies like helmets while several others appeared to be workshops of some sort. Most of the areas off of the regular tour area are in darkness so ensure that you have at least two dependable lights and extra batteries with you if you go. It’s also easy to slip on the ladders connecting the decks so be sure not to go off by yourself.

From here we made our way back up to an area on the tour. It was the mess hall. The air was noticeably fresher here and several team members placed themselves near the air vents. I walked over into a dark area and simply sat and listened while recording. 

After a half hour or so Sarah talked to the other teams with the walkie talkie and we made our way back up to the Bull Pen. Some people switched out batteries while others pulled out their water bottles and snacks. Several people wanted to see the bridge so most of us made our way up to it. The brig had a feeling of depression, with stale air, and making a few of us feel claustrophobic; so it felt good to be outside as we climbed several ladders to the bridge. It was dark inside the bridge and we could see the lights of Wilmington through the steady but light drizzling rain. As we stood in the quiet darkness I thought about the men that had served on this ship and that had worked on this bridge long ago.

Once our break was over our group decided to make our way to the sickbay area. I sat on the floor where I could see down a corridor in front of me and out another door on my left. The group conducted an EVP session while I used my night vision camcorder to video tape it. After about 20 – 25 minutes we could hear other voices a good way off in the darkened hallway. It only took a second to realize it was another team heading our way. After they passed through we decided to explore the area near the sickbay. We headed towards the bow but no one seemed to be in a big hurry to get anywhere. I kept feeling as if there was someone there with us and like I was being watched. The feelings passed as we continued down the hallway and we explored areas not offered on the regular tour.

We made our way forward going down ladders and sometimes back up. We reached the latrine area where four men died during a torpedo attack. Another died in the same attack when he fell off of the deck. Mr. Bradshaw had told us that after the ship had been hit, water started to pour in from the damage and the sailors had sealed off the doors to the area to contain the flooding. At least one person was still alive in the latrine area though. As the water slowly filled the rooms the sailors could hear the screams of the trapped man as he begged them to open the door and let him out. The sailors were not allowed to open the doors and save the man because it was thought that the water would rush in and claim more lives. After the battle was over the ship made its way to port to be repaired and understandably many of the men were upset to have heard the trapped man slowly die. There was a bench as you entered the latrine and some sat on it while I and another member of the team stood. It was dark in the room and the only light was from the other end of the hallway leading to it. Some of the team tried to collect EVPs and others attempted to contact the trapped sailor and help him to be at peace. I had to admire the attempt to help the sailor, but I was quietly interested in the light from the hallway. As I stood there and watched it the light would occasionally grow dim then light again as if someone were walking around. I tried to formulate a good reason for the irregular changing of the light’s brightness but was coming up empty. I could see that the other team member standing had an eye on it too. He was in between the passage and me. After a few minutes of watching it he made his way into the passage. I noticed the light became steady as soon as he entered the passage. He came back into the latrine and after about five minutes the light started to vary again and again he stopped it by entering into the passage. After another half hour or so we walked through the latrine and out the other side. We passed rooms still filled with some equipment and could smell oil strongly. We slowly made our way back up to the level we started on.

It was time for another break just outside the Bull Pen and I plugged in my cameras to charge while I drank a bottle of water. A few people mingled telling stories of what they had encountered and what their plans were for the rest of the night. I read a lot of the displays on the walls that told of the day to day lives of those on board in order to get some insight of the men’s mindset while finishing off a peanut butter sandwich.

After the break, our team headed back down and aft to the brig. This time I sat in one of the regular cells by myself while several people went to the larger officers’ cell and a couple of others took cells for themselves as I had. We sat quietly for about 25 - 30 minutes and were surprised to hear footsteps on the level above us. Radio contact was made to the other teams concerning the sounds and it turned out to be one of them. We settled back in and waited some more although I had elected to stand in my cell to keep from nodding off while in the dark.

We then returned to the sick bay where we set up to hopefully collect some EVPs. Sarah had two KII meters set a couple of feet apart on a bunk near her. She began to ask questions and one of the meters would light up after her questions as if something was trying to respond to her. I was off to one side filming the session. Everyone got excited as the meter continued to change color after her questions. Then to make sure they brought the two meters together and asked more questions. The one that lit up originally continued to do so most of the time while the second one did nothing. We pondered this and wondered which one was more accurate. To test them the different meters were moved around and electrical objects were brought close to them. It was finally decided that one meter was reacting on its own occasionally or that one meter was possibly more sensitive than the other. I had to give them a lot of credit for debunking themselves and running an honest investigation.

After a while it was decided to return to the Bull Pen and try to make contact there. The room was full of equipment. I sat in the back and placed my camera on the table in front of me. A phone in the corner to my left rang several times. I started to ask if anyone was expecting a call from beyond, but kept quiet. We conducted another EVP session, but some people were really getting tired now.

Everyone got together in the Bull Pen area and discussed who was going to stay and continue and who would head back to their rooms for sleep. We were allowed to stay until 7 am and it was about 3 am now. I was going to stay and a couple decided to stay as well. Everyone else left. We said our goodbyes and the three of us decided to explore the bow area that is off of the tour and then head back to the latrine area that had been hit in the torpedo attack. As we made our way down a hallway off the tour on the way to the bow we noticed that the rooms on both sides of the hallway were living quarters. I took the left side of the hall and they took the right and we looked into each room as we made our way down the hall. As I stepped into a room on my side of the hallway I heard a shout and turned around to see the couple had quickly backed up out of the room they had entered. I asked what happened and they both said they heard something breathing in the room. Well, this was what we had come for so I made sure my camera was on and held it in front of me as I went down the short side passage to the room. As I got to the door I could hear it plainly. I cautiously looked in the room and saw some equipment scattered around on the floor and a metal box spring standing upright across from the door. I entered the room and noticed the box spring was vibrating rhythmically. As I filmed it I looked around to see any explanation for the breathing sounds and the vibrations. There was no ventilation in this area and I couldn’t come up with any other reasons for what was going on. Then I noticed the sound actually sounded like snoring as I taped it on 8mm. I mentioned that to the couple in the hall and they readily agreed. I touched the box spring and could feel the vibration. I then moved it a little to see if it would stop. It didn’t. It was strange, but seemingly harmless. We decided to move on.

We went through hatches, up and down ladders exploring all parts of the bow. Occasionally one of us would think we had heard a noise or would see a glimpse of something, but we would just write it off since when we would investigate it nothing was found. We ended up back at the latrine that had been hit during the torpedo attack. We all three sat on the bench as you first entered the latrine. We started recording and settled in. After about 5 minutes went by we started to see the light in the passage way fade in and out just as it had earlier in the evening. Since we were pretty sure it would stop if we approached the passage, we decided to sit tight and see if anything traveled down the passage to us. As we quietly sat, we all three began to hear faint music. It seemed far off and it would come and go. We ruled out any music from Wilmington since it was a little after 5am now and because we were far enough below deck that it would have been hard for sound to travel to us from the outside. Although we couldn’t place the tune when it faded in enough to be heard, it didn’t sound modern. We sat and listened for any other noises, but other than the occasional creak or groan of the ship nothing was heard.

We decided to head back up to the tour area of the battleship for the remainder of our time onboard. We slowly walked down the halls quietly looking at the exhibits and listening intently. We reached an area where I felt uncomfortable as if someone was looking at me, but I didn’t say anything to my companions. I made sure my voice recorder was on and continued on. The feeling left me after about 5 minutes. We made our way back to our starting point and gathered up any belonging we had piled up. The sun was up outside and the sky was clearing as we stood on the deck. As we walked off of the impressive vessel I turned to get one more look and to say thank you. If you or your group is interested in touring or investigating the North Carolina check out their website http://www.battleshipnc.com/ and take the time to listen to Danny Bradshaw.

 

 

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