Ghost ships

USS Constellation

There were actually two ships christened as the USS Constellation.  The first was launched in 1797, built in Baltimore and battled the French and privateers.  After the War of 1812, she spent her time fighting the Barbary Coast pirates and was in active service until 1845.  She was broken up in 1853.  The current Constellation was launched in 1855 and spent much of its time patrolling the waters near the mouth of the Congo River looking for ships taking part in the illegal slave trade.

This background is important in that the majority of the spirits seen on the Constellation seem to originate from the original ship, not the one currently docked in Baltimore.

One of the spirits is said to be that of Neil Harvey.  Mr. Harvey served aboard the Constellation and in 1799 while fighting a French ship, Neil Harvey left his post during the battle.  This was a serious offense, one that had several punishments, and all ended in death.  It was Mr. Harvey’s misfortune to be be strapped to the front of a cannon and blown up.  He has been seen floating across the ships decks.

Another ghost aboard the Constellation is that of Captain Thomas Truxton who was a captain aboard the original ship.  In 1964, a Catholic priest was leaving the ship and complimented the museum staff on the fine presentation from the costumed guide on the lower deck.  The workers, knowing there was no one doing any type of guided tours, searched the ship and found no one there.  Could Captain Truxton loved his USS Constellation so much that his spirit stayed on a vessel with the same name?

Another apparition is that of John Campbell, a crew member who died and was buried at sea, appeared as well. There is alos the powder monkey,  young boy who would run ammunition and powder to the those fighting aboard the ship.  There was one young boy who was killed below decks, though there is no idea exactly how.  This boy has been seen aboard the current Constellation.

There have been many stories of strange noises, the smell of gunpowder, and books in the gift shop falling off of shelves.  Some associated with the Constellation museum claim the stories originated in the 60’s and 70’s to draw attention to the ship.  However, there is mention of apparitions appearing on board in 1863.  A crew member wrote in his journal that a prisoner claimed two apparitions appeared in front of him in the brig dancing while he sang.  There was also a stack of buckets found in the same location just outside the brig that were stacked in an odd manor yet did not fall over with the rolling of the ship.