Haunted Charleston: USS Yorktown

Haunted Charleston: USS Yorktown


The USS Yorktown is a legendary World War II aircraft carrier docked in the Charleston Harbor. The great ship set sail in 1943 and participated in three wars.

In the third, and final, part our Haunted Charleston series – we’re exploring the unexplained mysteries that have happened aboard the haunted vessel.

141 men were lost while defending our freedom on board the USS Yorktown. As we move forward in time, with fewer veterans still alive, this ship becomes more than just a symbol; It becomes the legacy of those men who’ve served and died. But are some of those men still around?

“When people ask if there are ghosts on the ship – we say we don’t know that but if they are – they’re our guys!” Mac Burdette, the Executive Director at Patriots Point, said.

Burdette said it’s up to each person to decide if they believe there could be ghosts.

“For whatever reasons, IF they’re allowed to come back from the hereafter, they love this ole ship so much they decided to come back and visit and stay a while,” Burdette said.

There have been many unusual happenings and occurrences on the ship that are difficult to explain. The first one being a photo Burdette has in his office. It was taken by people who were visiting the ship on the flight deck at one of the helicopters. Behind the seats, you can see what could be a figure dressed in what looks like an airman’s uniform.

“We’ve had many, many reports of visual sightings, filming, etc. but you have to look at it yourself and decide if that’s compelling evidence that there are ghosts on the Yorktown,” Burdette said.

Another experience was captured by the popular show – Ghost Hunters. In one of the interior rooms – you can see a figure leaning up against a wall, stand up, and then walk off into nothing.

From visual sightings – to things actually happening.

“It was a couple of years after that when I was down here working and happened to walk through,” Brian Parsons, the Supervisor of Museum Services at Patriots Point, said.

Parsons has worked on the ship since he was 14 years old and describes an experience that sticks out most to him.

“Right about where I’m standing, the room is a lot more crowded than when I was in it then but, when I came through everything was pushed to the walls and there was nothing around me. When I got about halfway through, I felt a tug on my radio. It was one of those with a mic on it and a stretchy chord. I got all the way to the middle of the room and I felt a pop… It’s happened a thousand times – I knew what it was. But when I looked down – I realized I was about five feet away from anything. There was no way that radio and mic could have stretched more than two feet. No way. So I always took that as maybe a sign that somebody down here was letting me know that they’re here.”

Whether there are ghosts – again that’s up to you to decide. We will always remember the men who died – defending our freedom while serving aboard the “Fighting Lady.”

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