>Ghost Ship – A tale

>Last night a shipmate ran into the 1st Class lounge with a pale look on his face. He told me that he was working out in the rectifier space and out of nowhere the punching bag was aggressively thrown side to side. “I thought someone was messing with me, so I got off the treadmill and the bag stopped moving suddenly it swung at me, so I ran as fast as I could”, said the frightened shipmate. He had all the reason in the world to freak out because the sea state was very calm, and he was the only person in the space. Is there a poltergeist on this ship? From dark tales and folklore of sea monsters and sink holes to actual sightings of the walking deceased, can the Bering Sea actually cause a man to go mad, or can these be non-fictional paranormal accounts? Back in 2007 during a mid-summer patrol I remember having a late engineering watch where I and two others began to talk about the Acushnet ghost known to all as the “Phantom Oiler”. One of the guys began telling me of the numerous sightings of this mascot of a ghost, and how he had been decapitated by a falling metal deck plate in B-1. I interrupted saying, “I think you guys need to get a life, and there is no such thing as the Phantom Oiler”. At that second all four of our main diesel engines secured themselves and lights began to flicker. After loosing propulsion that day it is now off limits to speak of the Phantom Oiler while on watch. I’m even surprised that it is not yet written in the EO’s standing orders. We currently have a crew member that has seen the same poltergeist on a few occasions while standing watch in B-1. He spoke of how he was wiping up some oil in the bilge and had a feeling that someone else was in the space with him. He looked up and saw a younger short man with a beard, long blond shaggy hair wearing a brown leather 70’s style coat. In fear the crew member closed his eyes real tight thinking he was just seeing things from lack of sleep. As he opened his eyes he saw the man standing on the other side of the engine room still staring at him. It took a long time for that specific crewmember to gather the strength to stand watch in B-1 again. Rumor has it that the man he saw was a Fireman by the name of Patrick that had climbed up between #2 and #3 mains to carve his initials in the stacks in the mid-70’s. The Fireman fell and broke his neck. The creepy thing is that his initials are really carved in the stack “P.M.S.”. According to scuttlebutt there have been couple accounts of suicide aboard Acushnet. One man chose to hang himself down in Main Hold above the sewage discharge pumps while another man hung himself in MAA Stores back when it was steward birthing in the 40’s. The whole MAA Stores/ Anchor Windless room still gives me the creeps whenever I go on a nightly round. The Acushnet has a prideful war history not to mention 65 years of Coast Guard missions. This brings me to my last story of when the cutter was stationed in Gulfport Mississippi. The cutter came across a barge of Haitian migrants that looked as if they had been lost at sea for many weeks. Only a few of the migrants were found alive. Six bodies were recovered with what had looked like animal bites taken out of their bodies. The bodies were thrown into the reefer as the cutter made its way back to the states. Later it was found that the bites were not from any animal; but from each other. The crew of the barge had turned to cannibalism for survival. From dark tales and folklore of sea monsters and sink holes to actual sightings of the walking deceased, can the Bering Sea actually cause a man to go mad, or can these be non-fictional paranormal accounts? You decide.

DC1 Dennis Amerson

D.J.A.

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