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U.S.S. Hornet

U.S.S. Hornet paranormal

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Location submitted by: sdonley on 12/27/2013
DBA Approved: Y

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PANICd#: 1317

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The aircraft carrier Hornet (CV-12) is the eighth ship of the United States Navy to bear the name. Six earlier Hornets date from 1775, but CV-12’s greatest legacy comes from the seventh Hornet (CV-8).

707 W Hornet Ave
Alameda , CA
Phone: (510) 521-8448
Open to the public: Yes

Lat: 37.7727167
Lon: -122.3027806

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 6
History: 2
Stories: 18
Claims: 12
Evidence: 0
Resources: 2
Retrievals: 4818
Vistor Rating: 0.0
Votes: 0

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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.


For those who want more time to get better acquainted with the ship's secrets and paranormal side, we offer an overnight version of the popular History Mystery tour. Sleep where the crew slept-and perhaps still sleep-eat where they ate, and investigate with us from 6 PM to 9 AM the next morning.

Explore the eerier side of Hornet's decks and visit spaces such as Sickbay and the ship's jail with your flashlights and equipment. Each group is led by a skilled crewmember who knows the ship and her stories.

Sleeping and eating where the crew resided will be sure to give you a unique perspective on their lives and might even cause a small spark of connection.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:340

The USS Hornet CV-12 is one of the 24 legendary Essex-class aircraft carriers built during and after World War II. Built at Newport News, Virginia, and the eighth ship to be named "Hornet," she is one of the most decorated ships of the US Navy.

This ship recovered the first men to walk on the Moon, both the Apollo 11 and 12 lunar mission astronauts and capsules.

In 2017, 76 People from 26 countries Took the Oath to Become U.S. Citizens Aboard USS Hornet

For 16 continuous months Hornet was in action in the forward areas of the Pacific combat zone, sometimes within 40 miles of the Japanese home islands.

  • Under air attack 59 times, she was never seriously damaged.
  • Her aircraft destroyed 1,410 Japanese aircraft, only Essex exceeded this record.
  • Her air groups destroyed or damaged 1,269,710 tons of enemy shipping.
  • 72 enemy aircraft shot down in one day during the famous "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot."
  • 10 Hornet pilots attained "Ace in a Day" status.
  • 255 aircraft shot down in a month.
  • 30 of 42 VF-2 Hellcat pilots were aces.
  • Supported nearly every Pacific amphibious landing after March 1944.
  • Scored the critical first hits in sinking the super battleship YAMATO.
  • Launched the first carrier aircraft strikes in support of the liberation of the Philippine Islands.
  • In 1945 launched the first strikes against Tokyo since the 1942 Doolittle Raid.

LENGTH, overall: 1943: 876 feet 1956: 893 feet

BEAM, extreme width: 1943: 147 feet 1956: 192 feet

DRAFT (under load): 29 feet

DISPLACEMENT, Standard: 1943: 27,100 tons 1953: 33,100 tons

DISPLACEMENT, Full Load: 1943: 33,900 tons 1956: 40,300 tons

HEIGHT ABOVE WATERLINE (top of mast): 190 feet

KEEL TO TOP OF MAST: 229 feet KEEL LAID: 3 August 1942

LAUNCHED: 30 August 1943

COMMISSIONED: CV-12: 29 November 1943 CVA-12: 11 September 1953 CVS-12: 18 December 1958 CREW COMPLEMENT:

WWII: 3,600 - 4,000 including Air Wing Post-WWII: 3,000 - 3,500 including Air Wing

NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT: WWII: 92 - 101 1953 - 1958: 86 1958 - 1970: 44

DECOMMISSIONED (Final): 26 June 1970

Added by: sdonley on 12/28/2013 DB#:168


Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.

While on a boy scout overnighter on the ship, I was on night watch at 4 am. I was reading a book in the chapel alone at a large heavy table. Everyone else was asleep, but there were many sounds coming from all around. I heard a loud sound on the solid steel floor next to me, then the table thumped and moved slightly. My shift soon ended, I then laid awake in bed not able to sleep. I told no one as to not frighten any boys.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1313

"The Catapult" was a very powerful machine that was used to "catapult" the planes off the flight deck, giving them the instant velocity for lift-off. The Catapult room is considered one of the most dangerous places aboard an aircraft carrier, because the wire used to hook in and catapult the plane has a tendency to snap. When it snaps, it spins around the room at 500 miles per hour, slicing through anything in its path. There were many such accidents aboard the Hornet. Several people have reported seeing a headless crewman pacing up and down in this area. Other times, only his footsteps can be heard walking across the floor. They believe it's the ghost of crewman who's head was decapitated by a snapped wire. People who have seen this decapitated soldier report it to be the most frightening and disturbing experience of their lives. A visiting psychic reported the presence of a male spirit of a particularly malevolent nature who's nature is to harm people near the catapult room. A former sailor reported an incident during the war when a sailor tried unsuccessfully to jump into an elevator near the catapult room, which severed his body in half. Near the catapult room, a snapping tow cable instantly killed a crew member on deck by decapitation. This occurrence was not uncommon, as many crew members reported casualties from whipping towlines.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1321

I visited the USS Hornet with my family this past summer on reunion day. Because my grandfather had served on her in WWII, we got a "private" tour by one of the guides and off we went below decks with a video camera going and my grandfathers small WWII notebook with the layout of the ship in it. Then we took a regular tour with a group of people. We videotaped our whole time there, several hours worth. When we ran the video, we noticed what appeared to be a flash of light down by what was the medical treatment area in WWII. I thought it was just a reflection off a fixture or something. But there was no light attached to the video camera. And no one else was down there except my family and the tour guide and they were all next to me.When we slowed the video down frame by frame, it isn't a flash of light at all. What you can clearly see is a sleeve of a white uniform with dark stripes at the end of the sleeve and a hand in reaching across the hallway. It is a side view and it appears at the far end of the hall slowly, then is pulled back suddenly. We were standing still at the time.This is in the background far back in the hall. What you find in the frame in the foreground just past the doorway near where we are appears to be faint, but you can make out one sailor, with his white hat cocked back on head and a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his short sleeves cradling an injured man's head in his lap that is sprawled out on the ground. There is no doubt about the sleeve I spoke about in the background being there. As for the sailor in the foreground, several of us watched it in slow motion a lot. Some here felt it might just be a reflection off the floor. But we all agreed we could clearly make out the pack of cigarettes rolled up in the short-sleeve shirt. None of this is visible when you watch the video normally except for what appears to be a brief flash of light. You only see this when you go frame by frame.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1320

During World War II, the U.S.S. Hornet was in a battle near Japan. In this battle, the Japanese understood they were overpowered by sea. As a solution, kamikaze pilots were sent to crash on the carriers. One being the Hornet. One particular pilot missed the carrier and crashed nearby in the sea. He was saved and then sent to a cell on the Hornet in which he spent the rest of his life. While living there, he went mad in his cell and then, a month or so later, he died. It is rumored that he still haunts the cell that he spent his life in, unable to get out. Stuck like he was when he was alive.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1319

In general, an aircraft carrier is considered to be one of the six most dangerous places in the world to work. The Hornet was powered by super-hot steam that exceeded 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes the room temperature would exceed 125 degrees, causing crewmen to die from heatstroke. If a steam pipe ruptured, it would release an invisible stream of intense heat capable of killing sailors instantly before they were aware of what happened. Their blood was instantly boiled beneath their skin, causing their skin to fall off their bodies. One crewman had his arm severed by one of these invisible steam jets, causing him to pass out. He bled to death in this room and when fellow shipmates found him, they discovered that the steam had boiled his blood and peeled his skin from his body. Now his ghost inhabits this room, sometimes accompanied by engine sounds. The ghost has been detected by the master control panel.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1318

About three years ago my uncle and cousin went to go see the USS Hornet. They didn't know anything about the ship being haunted, they just wanted a little history lesson. Well about two days later they got some pictures developed that they had taken on the ship. In almost all of the the pictures, you can see a kind of cloud of smoke. In one picture it shows a picture of an X-ray machine. The machine is turned on, but you can see the cord and the outlet in the picture as well. The X-ray machine wasn't plugged in! There was also a picture of a hospital bed that had a shadow shaped like a human laying on it. We had been looking at the picture for a few hours, b/c it looked like there was a ghost on it. We were positive there was nothing on the bed except the shadow. Then we were on the Internet reading about some ghost stories from the ship, and I looked back at the picture and there was an axe laying on the bed that hadn't been there before!! The weir part is that later my uncle said he hadn't even taken any pictures in the hospital are of the ship, and didn't know where that photo came from.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1317

I was a girl scout a few years ago and we slept over on the ship. The first thing that happened was to four of the older girls, one being my sister was assigned to sleep in a little room with the four little bunks were they said at one time there were very sick men who slept in there. We all put our blankets and sleeping bags in our bunks, and went to the eating area. A little while later we came back and in the little room were my sister was going to sleep, all of their stuff was thrown around. No one was supposed to be allowed to go down to the sleeping area when we were eating. After that some girls went to listen to ghost stories. The stories scared me and shook me up, but i didn't think i would see anything that night. I was wrong, my bed was in the was in the worst spot ever. From were I was sleeping, there was a red light right across from us. Most of the night, I stayed covered under my sleeping bag, because I was so scared. Finally, when i took my head out of from under the covers, I looked at the red lite and there was a man standing right next to it. I got so scared I just buried my head right back under my sleeping bag and i didn't come out again until I heard the leaders tell us it was time to get up. That morning, everyone was glad to leave and get back out into the sunlight. I was talking to my sister and her and her friend said at the same time they seen a man standing in the door way that had the same description as to who I say as well. Same height, same clothes, same hat. I will never, ever go back to that ship. Ever.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1316

It was the 2005 Fleet Week in San Francisco and our sea cadet unit attended it. It was my first time that I attended Fleet Week and I was really excited when someone told me that we would be spending the night onboard a retired aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet. When I got aboard all seemed normal until the night came and the word started going around that the ship was haunted. I have a very strong belief and fear of ghosts, so I belived it. Worse off, all of us had to participate in the fire and security watch for our individual units. Mine got called at three in the morning. So I swithched into my work utilites and I made my way from the Marine racks to the CPO Mess area. It had to be the scariest thing I have ever done. When I got down there, the other unit watch standers were waiting for us. A little while after my watch began, I started hearing cries for help and I immediatley alerted security thinking we had a medical situation with a cadet. But strangley, we were the only ones who heard it and after checking the two racks sections near us, we did not find the source of the cry. An hour or so later there was a distinctive smell of pipe or cigar smoke, and we did not know were it came from. We radioed security to see if anyone had been smoking on the decks above us, but they said someone was smoking a cigarette on the fantail and we were two decks down. That was really weird. The strangest was the sound of foot steps near the head on the deck above us. We thought someone had gotten out of their rack without permission and gone to the head without alerting us. So when went up and checked, but no one. The rest of the night I could not sleep because I kept hearing voices near my rack. I was relived that we only stayed there a night. I could not have survived two.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1315

I work on the Hornet for the live aboard program and part of the program involves telling ghost stories in the forecastle. Every now and then one of the other crew members decides to put on a sailor uniform and scare the kids, I'm used to seeing him, but one night as he walked out of the bull nose, I saw another man in a sailor uniform behind him,he was there for a split second and then vanished, later in the month on a different live aboard, I saw the same man on the catwalk, once again he vanished into thin air.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1314

I was recently aboard the USS Hornet on a 4H Exchange Club trip with my host family and took lots of pictures but when I got home and started looking through the pictures I took. I noticed in the medical wing in one of the rooms I took a picture of an empty chair. When I looked at the picture that night chills ran up my spine when I seen someone sitting in the chair that was wearing something that looked like an old time pilots helmet and looked like he was tied down. I asked all the people that were on that trip if they would look at the picture and they did and saw the same thing I did.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1312

My son and I just came back from the USS Hornet, today is June 28, 2008 and we stayed overnight on the ship. This morning, at 9:40: a.m. I went to the Men's restroom, after just a few minutes, the fans and light switches went on and off in a very timely manner, when I left the bathroom, there were nobody there, there were nobody in the sub floor of the deck before I went to the bathroom as most people were waiting to get on the Flight Simulator. I reported it to the head of security, but I think it could have been a prank by some kids. I don't know, but the fact that there are no cameras or security patrols within the ship, there will never be a valid way to prove anything. I have heard other stories, and I think it could be your imaginations running wild, but a mechanical switch going on and off in a very timely manner is beyond me.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1311

I love ghost stories and shows on TV about ghost and ghost investigations. About 3 or 4 years ago, I visited the Hornet with my family and about 15 other people from our church. I knew stories about seeing soldiers at certain parts of the ship, and kept my eyes open, but didn't see anything. After the tour, before we were leaving, my mom and I stopped off at the bathroom. We were the only ones in there, and when we went to wash our hands we were chatting. When we got over to the sinks, we could hear two guys talking (one of them actually sounded like a kid perhaps) pretty loud; not loud enough to understand what they were saying, but loud enough that we noticed and had to talk over them. We figured that there was a men's restroom next door to the women's, but when we walked out there wasn't, so we just figured someone must have been outside talking and we just didn't see them. A few months later, we were watching a ghost show and they talked about the Hornet. Sure enough, they showed the bathroom we were in and talked about reports of men talking near the sinks! It was very creepy and I for sure will never go there at night for one of those overnighters!

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1310

Weird camera troubles

I went to the USS Hornet with a couple of my friends. We wanted to see if we could find any ghosts, so we took a video camera. My camera was fully charged. When we went into the place where they did surgery, my camera all of a sudden shut off and said "low battery powering off." I thought that was odd. Me and my friends felt cold air going past us. We were scared out of our minds, so we ran to the flight deck and I tried to turn on my camera. It was fully charged and running normal. When I was watching the tape I slowed it down before the part where the camera turned off. I could see a light white figure in the corner, but when I was in that room I had seen nothing.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1309

Passing comment

During a sleep-over on the ship, my Dad was laying in his rack, and a guy walked up and told him, "I used to sleep there," and then just walked away. We never saw him again after that.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1308

Cryptic comment

I was on a sleepover along with a friend, her mom and my mom. I thought it would be normal. I was wrong. I had just turned out my reading light. I was on the third bunk. My friend was sleeping beside me, but nobody was under me. I tried to go to sleep. I felt three pushes below me like I was being woken up, so I got up. I looked around and I saw a white light in the corner and saw two sailor ghosts. One said to the other, "Watch that one." First I pinched myself. It hurt. Unfortunately I was the only one awake so nobody else saw.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1307

Ignored by officer

My husband and I went with my aunt to tour the USS Hornet. At the end of the day when the tours were closing down, my husband dragged me into a section of the ship that was obviously not open to tourists. The hallways were dark, the side rooms had bed frames tossed into them, debris was strewed all over like a trash heap. I was getting nervous we would either get lost or get into trouble for being in a section that was closed. Suddenly, a full-uniformed officer came from around the corner. I knew for sure we were in trouble. He walked past us. He never made eye contact - no acknowledgment of our presence whatsoever. He then turned into one of the rooms about 10 feet ahead. We followed behind him, and when passing the room he went into, again piled high with bed frames and whatnot, he was gone. I told my husband we had to get out of there. Just then my camera crashed to the floor. The camera came apart from the strap. I have owned this camera for eight years. Never before and never since has the camera come off the strap. I think back now, and I think what set off alarms was the lack of air movement as he walked by, and NO acknowledgment we were even there. I truly believe we saw a ghost!

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1306

The Dress Whites Ghost

I was volunteering on the USS Hornet with a group of my fellow U.S. Coast Guardsmen. We were painting a compartment and a few of us were wearing white Tyvek paper suits. When our paint started running low, I went off in search of the Hornet worker who was supplying our paint, and I got lost in the process. As I wandered the passageways I came off a "side" passage onto the starboard main passageway, one deck below the hangar deck. I saw what I thought was one of my co-workers stepping off the main hall onto a side passage about 25 feet away from me. I called out to him but he kept walking and when I got to the hall he stepped into, there was a chain blocking the entrance and it was an empty compartment. Needless to say, I was confused, but I kept walking and eventually found my way back to the room we were painting. When I saw the co-worker I thought I had seen earlier, I mentioned to him that I had called to him in the passageway, but he told me that he hadn't left the room for about an hour. Later, when I mentioned this to the Hornet employees, one lady said that I had seen the "Dress Whites Ghost," apparently an apparition of a sailor wearing his dress white uniform.

Added by: sdonley on 11/05/2017 DB#:1305

The 8th ship to be named the USS Hornet was commissioned in 1943 at the height of the war in the Pacific. The ship quickly became one of the most decorated ships in the Navy. However, her impressive record do not come without a cost.

An aircraft carrier is a dangerous place. There are many hazards one must face: spinning aircraft props, air intakes, being blown off deck by exhaust and exploding ordinances to name a few. At least 3 men are known to have been decapitated by snapped slight arrest cables on the Hornet. In 27 years of service, more than 300 people lost their lives aboard the ship. Many were claimed by combat during WWII, some claimed by shipboard accidents, and some succumbed to suicide. In fact, the USS Hornet had the highest suicide rate in the Navy.

Many strange occurrences have been documented by both the crew and visitors. Doors open and close by themselves, tools disappear only to show up after an exhaustive search. Objects have been seen moving across the floor or falling off shelves for no reason. The image of sailors have been seen carrying out their orders from another time and people have reported being grabbed or pushed when no one is around.

One night, a group of volunteers was staying aboard the ship. After bunking down, they heard a banging noise like someone opening the hatches. Upon checking the volunteers, the supervisor discovered everyone was accounted for, and no one else could have been able to board the ship. Another encounter happened while a volunteer was busy painting in the late evening. He heard voices, tools dropping and people working on aircraft.

Added by: sdonley on 12/28/2013 DB#:1125

Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact, and we will review and add your information.

Claim # Added Added By Claim
1701 12/28/2013 sdonley Doors open and close by themselves.
1702 12/28/2013 sdonley Tools disappear only to show up after an exhaustive search.
1703 12/28/2013 sdonley Objects have been seen moving across the floor.
1704 12/28/2013 sdonley Objects have been seen falling off shelves for no reason.
1705 12/28/2013 sdonley The image of sailors have been seen carrying out their orders from another time.
1706 12/28/2013 sdonley People have reported being grabbed or pushed when no one is around.
1707 12/28/2013 sdonley People have heard something opening the hatches when nobody was around.
1708 12/28/2013 sdonley People have heard voices.
1709 12/28/2013 sdonley People have heard the sounds of tools dropping.
1710 12/28/2013 sdonley People have reported sounds as if someone was working on aricraft.
2599 11/05/2017 sdonley People have reported drained batteries and weird electronic equipment issues.
2600 11/05/2017 sdonley People have reported the smells of mysterious pipe and cigar smoke.

Paranormal Evidence

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Additional Resources

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Wikipedia Entry
Added: 12/28/2013 By: sdonley
Wikipedia page for this location.
Splashdown! The Ship That Picked Up the Apollo 11 Astronauts
Added: 11/05/2017 By: sdonley
Article on about the Hornet's role in recovering the Apollo 11 crew and capsule.

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