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Article: Ghosts at Sea and Elsewhere

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    Ghosts at Sea and Elsewhere

    5 Comments by Peter Copley Published on 13th February 2021 01:58 PM
    Because the seas and oceans are so vast and lonely it is inevitably that tales of ghosts, ghostly apparitions, and ghost ships will be told by mariners. I’m a bit skeptical that the stories are true and that they are only figments of someone’s imagination.

    Although I wrote a novel about ghosts haunting a ship, and I have had some encounters with unexplained visions and noises, I really should not doubt other people’s experiences, there are too many to discount.

    My earliest recollection of ghostly apparitions was when I was a youngster. The attic of the old house I lived in was formerly a Dame’s School, where legend had it a little boy got accidentally hanged on a rope swing attached to the principal rafter. (Dame Schools were small privately run schoolrooms, usually in areas of poverty, in the 19th century). Every single night in the bedrooms below the attic you could hear the distinct sound of a pencil dropping and roll across the floorboards. The piano would tinkle a tuneless tune, my mum said it was just mice. We had a dog that literally refused to go up the attic, you could not drag it up the stairs. But the most reveling thing to indicate the old house was haunted, was one Sunday morning. My brother Frank, who was about 3 or 4 years old, came running down the stairs crying, “Peter has scared me.”
    My mum said, “Peter is at church.”
    Frank said, “Well that boy upstairs scared me.”
    Of course, there were no boys upstairs, but Frank had definitely met someone up the attic.

    The next experience I had with the unexplainable was at sea on the MV Dartmoor (Runciman’s of Newcastle) I was sleeping in the Cabin Boys cabin, when around midnight I felt a cold heavy hand on my face. Feeling around my face and head. I jumped up thinking it was one of the sailors messing about, I switched on the light to find the cabin empty and the cabin door shut. This happened to me three times! I never mentioned this to the other crew members, I didn’t want a nightly visit from the sailors trying to scare a cabin boy, so, I told no-one.
    Later, Captain Rowe offered me a job on the deck so I left the cabin boy’s cabin to sleep in the sailor’s accommodation. The boy who replaced me was a Scot. (Sorry I’ve forgotten his name; I’ll call him Jimmy.) One midnight I was in the seaman’s mess room brewing up for the off coming watch when Jimmy came running down the alleyway absolutely terrified, sobbing that there was a hand in his pillow. He was really scared. He explained in vivid detail exactly what had happened to me earlier. Anyway, later we were in Japan, where another company ship was in port, the ‘MV Innismoor’. Our two crews met up in a bar. I got talking to one of the engineers who had previously sailed on the Dartmoor. He said, without prompting, “Do you know the Dartmoor is haunted?” He told me the cabin boy’s cabin was haunted and that boys refused to sleep in the cabin. The engineer told me a story about a cabin boy and the mate, I don’t want to repeat the story in case the boy is still living, I suppose he’ll be in his 80s now. But that cabin was haunted, I can still feel the cold hand on my face. I know some of our members have sailed with Runciman’s. Do you recall this story?

    The last incident that happened to me was when I worked as Night Porter in the Oaks Hotel, Burnley. The old Victorian mansion was reputedly haunted by the ghost of a woman, she had been seen by one or two staff, and the occasional guest over the years. I never saw this ghost as I patrolled the hotel and the unoccupied top floors in the middle of the night, except at 5am every morning the temperature in the lounge dropped markedly, you could literally feel the cold air creep up your leg. It was the night when the clocks went back one hour. At 4am two taxis called at the hotel, one to collect a passenger for Harle Syke, the other taxi to pick up a passenger for the town center. At the time there were ‘taxi wars’ going on in Burnley, one taxi firm against another taxi company, sending drivers on false calls, stealing fares, and so on. The two drivers were Pakistanis, I told them no-one was moving about in the hotel and I had not called for the taxies. So, after a few minutes of waiting, we decided it was a malicious call. The first taxi drove away. The second driver standing with me on the entrance steps shrugged and went to get in his taxi. I looked in the back seat and there was a woman. She was covered in white garments. I thought it was a Pakistani woman dressed in a *****. I thought, why would the driver bring along his wife. When I looked again, the white veil was actually long straight white hair of a woman. I stepped closer as the taxi turned, I could see clearly a woman sat in the middle of the back seat, her face as white as chalk she had long pure white hair hanging over her shoulders – how she managed to get inside the taxi unseen was really creepy. I said to myself, well if the hotel did have a ghost, she has left in a taxi!

    Are there any more ghostly tales to be told?
    R710198

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  4. #2
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    Default Re: Ghosts at Sea and Elsewhere

    Until it happens to you , you don't believe it .
    Experience taking I tell you .
    We have one in this house and the things at are moved, or turned on ( ie TV , radio, Pc . It doesn't bother us now but visitors no like .
    So Peter I know where your coming from .
    As I said to people , " just wait and keep open mind and come and stay a week " A sea faring. friend of mine's son asked me to send the ghost down to him as he would love to see that ( it's all rubbish he says). The poor lad as a large train set running around his room , under the bed etc . 2nd night about 3 am the train set started up and would not stop . Controls no use had to take engines of the rails . Phone call next Day please take it away .. He is now a believer , lol

    Ron the batcave


    they never do LOL

    Ron the batcave

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    Default Re: Ghosts at Sea and Elsewhere

    ESSO YORKSHIRE, in 1975.
    In January 1975, Esso flew me to San Francisco to join the ESSO YORKSHIRE, a 90,000 ton tanker. When we arrived the Agent put us in the Travelodge Hotel on the Wharf, The ship was anchored underneath the Bay Bridge across the Bay having just arrived from the Persian Gulf with a cargo of crude oil. My brother, John, was on board having joined a couple of weeks earlier in Singapore. Next day the Agent put us in a boat to take us out to the ship and when I got there I went to John`s cabin and woke him up. What a surprise, for him, he didn’t expect to see me. My cabin was next door to his. The lad who was paying off was just leaving the cabin as I moved in . He said you won`t get much sleep in here, it`s effing haunted. I just laughed thinking that he was joking. The men who were going on leave left and went back to Frisco and for a flight home. That evening after work, John, Ted and I got the boat and went ashore to Frisco for a few beers. We were in Ginsbergs Bar on the waterfront when there was a lot of shouting, big car headlamps lit up the bar and then shooting. I was sat near the big plate glass window at the end of the bar when with a big crash it came in, shattered all over me, a bullet had come through. We all hit the deck as more shooting outside and then a man ran through the door, shouting he had been shot and then collapsed onto the floor. I knelt up and looked through the window, the Bar Tender, shouted , “Get down you crazy Limie, the cops shoot anything that moves, I hit the deck again into a pile of broken glass and spilt beer. Then it went quiet, a couple of Cops walked in with guns in their hands, we had to raise our hands and not move as they examined the shot man , he was dead. They confirmed with the Bar Tender that we were just customers. Some more sirens and lights and then two ambulances, looking like armoured truck appeared outside. And then they removed the body, outside in the door way was another body. They were picked up, into the ambulances and then taken away. The bartender gave us a beer each, and in a few minutes he had swept up the broken glass and mopped up the blood from the dead man and a few minutes later a van appeared outside and a new window installed. And a few minutes later the street and the bar was back to normal. The Barman said it happens a lot down there. A few more beers and we went to the Wharf and got our boat back to the ship after an exciting night out in Frisco. Next morning we heaved up the anchor and sailed up the Bay, we were going to a place called Bernicia where the oil refinery was, about 40 miles up the bay and river. When we were mooring the ship a wire rope carried away and flung me across the deck and I hit the rails injuring my back, so I was sent to hospital in a place called Martinez City. I thought, I have been in Frisco for 24 hours and nearly been killed twice, be glad to get away from here. I had x rays nothing broken but a few torn ligaments. I went back to the ship and was excused work for the duration. The following day after completing discharging the oil we let go and sailed back down Frisco Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge and out into the Pacific for a 42 day voyage to Ras Tannurah in Saudi Arabia, with a call into Singapore for fresh food stores. It started on the first night at sea as we sailed across the Pacific for the Gulf , a 42 day trip. I was on the 4am to 8am watch and at midnight the cabin lights came on and there was a guy wearing a white boiler suit, Esso logo on, but face was just like a mist. He grabbed my leg and heaved me out of my bunk and I crashed onto the deck, I shouted and got to my feet and he was gone, I legged it up to the mess room and the only guy around was the 12 -4 standby man, smoking a ciggy and drinking coffee, "Some bastard has pulled me from my bunk" I said " Have you seen any one?" He replied no, he had been there all alone. On watch at 4am I told the Mate all about it, he had known about the cabin being haunted but there were no spare cabins on board as we had 12 Spanish NIKO workers on board doing maintenance .so I would have to stay there. This went on for several nights and my brother who had the cabin next door woke up one night and saw a man in a white boiler suit walk through his cabin door and then he heard the shouting and banging coming from my cabin, the coward legged it up to the mess room and stayed there for night , he did not come in to see what was happening to me. The ghost could pick me up as if I was completely weightless and throw me across the cabin at the formica bulkhead and bounce me off it, The bulkheads were all badly cracked.. Then one night he got my ankle and twisted it round and heaved me out including the mattress and crashed me onto the deck and broke my ankle, the cabin was completely wrecked and I was lying there in shouting agony, My brother legged it up and got the Mate and the Captain and they were horrified at the destruction of the cabin and what they saw. Though they had known about it they didn`t realise how bad it was. The Captain said he could not Log it as no one in the Office would believe it so he said he would log it as if I had fallen down a ladder. My ankle was strapped up with elastic bandages. I was off watch and laid up. I stayed up all night until about 2am to give the ghost time to sort himself out. I wasn’t in the bunk at midnight. The Captain went through the old Log Books and discovered that a man, who was on the 8 to 12 watch had received a dear John letter from his wife and so he hung himself in the cabin. So every night at just after midnight this man`s ghost was going to turn in and I was in his bunk. At Ras Tannurah 3 weeks later I went to the hospital; and had it x rayed and it seemed that it had healed OK and I was kept on light duties on day work for another two weeks just to make sure it had healed. After loading 90,000 tons of marine diesel fuel for the US Navy we sailed for Guam in the Mariannas, in the Pacific. When I got to Guam, John and I got a telegram to say my Dad had died. The Captain said he could only send one of us home so being the eldest I sent John home and I had to stay behind. Not very nice being out there with no contact with home at a time like that. Quite upsetting and a bad shock, a good man was Dad, he was fit and healthy when I left home a few weeks before. It was 12 April.1975. John got a plane to Hong Kong and then a flight to Heathrow, and then home for the funeral. I went ashore in Guam, a very nice tropical island, an American Service man, he had just been evacuated from Viet Nam, it was falling to the Viet Cong in Saigon, leaving his wife and children behind, got talking to me and Clayton, we shared a few beers and then he took us round the island, showing us the highlights, and a few more beers on the way round. There was a big Hotel , with a bar in the middle of the swimming pool, some of the lads off the ship were already in there. and in the lounge was a group of Korean Girls singing, They were very good too. A couple of days later we sailed for the Gulf again. Over the top 0f the Philipines and down the coast of Viet Nam, the seas were full of American warships and we were buzzed a few times by their planes, Viet Nam had fallen when the American Embassy in Saigon was taken over by the VC. After sailing from Guam, the haunting in my cabin stopped, after more than two months, I like to think my dear old Dad had a word with the ghost. We called in at Singapore and John joined us again he had flown back the day after the funeral. We carried on to Mena al Ahmadi in the Gulf to load a cargo of crude oil for Adelaide in Australia. I went ashore with the Agent, we were going to his Office to collect some papers for the ship`s cargo, on the way we were stopped by the Police and had to go into the town Square it was crowded with people. The police were stopping all vehicles including school buses, and making everyone go to the Square. It was an Execution of three men. Everyone has to watch. A big white sheet was on the ground and the three men were kneeling down on it, An Arab with a long sword was dancing around them then suddenly chops of the head of one of them, a spurt of blood and he was down. The crowd cheer, then he did the same to the other two men, a bit gruesome to watch. They do it every week on a Friday.
    We then sailed for Adelaide, down the Indian ocean, round Cape Leeuwin and across the Australian Bight to the refinery just south of the harbour. When we arrived in Adelaide, the agent was taking the crew who were due to go on leave straight down to the airport and away home. John and I wanted to stay for a couple of weeks to visit relatives and friends so he kept us behind and then took us to a Motel and booked us in there. We went to see Uncle Fred in Largs Bay and told him that Dad had died. After a couple of weeks we flew to Melbourne and Sydney and then a flight home via Singapore, Bahrain and then London.

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    Default Re: Ghosts at Sea and Elsewhere

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kong View Post
    ESSO YORKSHIRE, in 1975.
    In January 1975, Esso flew me to San Francisco to join the ESSO YORKSHIRE, a 90,000 ton tanker. When we arrived the Agent put us in the Travelodge Hotel on the Wharf, We went to see Uncle Fred in Largs Bay and told him that Dad had died. After a couple of weeks we flew to Melbourne and Sydney and then a flight home via Singapore, Bahrain and then London.
    Wow, that's what I call a trip and a half!!!! Scary stuff. PC R710198
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 13th February 2021 at 11:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Ghosts at Sea and Elsewhere

    #5 Peter the Dartmoor was one of my old ships for a very short time, also as said previously have sailed with Tommy Rowe , he used to be remembered for the boxing gloves he carried , 2 sets and any arguments between people on the ship they used to be offered the loan of , and the use of number 3 hatch usually. I experienced another ghostly experience on another Runciman ship and had nothing to do with Cappy , maybe Runcimans being very sparing with the overtime somebody hadn’t paid their bar bill and were being haunted by the bar manager. My experience shook me at the time , so have an open mind about the after life. Cheers JS
    What year were you there , if I remember correctly I was there for the uk loading of General in the uk and for the coastal passages.The master there at that time maybe for the same reason as me was Bradfield. A fussy little man. Tommy Rowe I sailed with on different ships. If Tiddler Martin was second mate sailing there it would match up with my recollections. JS

    Have already put one up some time ago about another Runciman ship was 2/mate on ...Passage Fremantle to Bombay and visitation by a deadly presence the only evidence of such was the sudden drop in temperature and heavy breathing over my head. Cabin empty as usual. But checking log books next day , a greaser had died some months previously and buried at sea in the same position near enough as we had passed over the previous evening. The previous second mate had stitched him up. Maybe he made a bad job of the last stitch through the nose. Pleased I wasnt him. Left me shaken at the time though. Cheers JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 14th February 2021 at 01:45 AM.
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    Default Re: Ghosts at Sea and Elsewhere

    A ship with the name of Dartmoor, apart from the usual catcalls between ships passing close to of “Have you any Geordies on board” and the reply “ No we’ve been fumigated “ , was the additional one of “ How long you in for “, the answer could be anything but was usually something like “ Two years and counting”. JS
    Think the ship with my ghost on was the Glenmoor. JS

    Another one I can’t vouch for but from a reliable source my mother and granmother and grandfather , I was between 5 and 6 at the time. My Grandmother used to be a bit of a medium at seances at times ,and my mother usd to read tea leaves and tell people’s fortunes. So on getting older I used to believe with tongue in cheek. However in this case I believe it was the truth.1942 and the fall of Singapore was not made public as it happened , but before it was we were all sitting in the kitchen of the house in Kingston near London. A loud banging on the front door and a voice shouting come on let me in. That our Jack said my Grandma , on going to the door was no one there. He was stationed in Singapore . When it was officially announced the fall of Singapore he was reported MIA and was for the next 7 years until after the war when it was claimed he had been killed coming back across the causeway from Malaya.which would of been about the time of the banging on the door. JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 14th February 2021 at 04:55 AM.
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