Haunting of USS Yorktown – Charleston, South Carolina

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 4 January 2024
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Introduction of USS Yorktown

The USS Yorktown is a ship covered in a ghostly tapestry of the unknown, cradled in the shadowy seas of Charleston. Something strange bites the instant you step onto its creaking deck. You can feel the eerie atmosphere as you go through the dimly lit passageways where the history of the ship blends with the otherworldly. The ghostly remnants of wartime secrets and the murmurs of bygone times combine to create an eerie atmosphere.

USS Yorktown (CV~10) Marker
USS Yorktown (CV~10) Marker – Credit hmdb

History of USS Yorktown

USS Yorktown (CV-10) was a major participant in the Pacific Theater of World War II, having been put into service in 1943. Known as “The Fighting Lady,” it withstood fierce combat, including a 1945 Japanese dive bomber raid that left 141 people dead. The USS Yorktown persevered in its mission despite suffering severe damage, making a lasting impression on naval history.

Now a museum in Charleston, the USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum is infamous for more than wartime heroics. Reports of paranormal activity abound, with sightings of ghostly figures by staff, visitors, and even police officers. The radar room, captured in a mysterious 2008 photograph, raises questions about lingering spirits. The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.) investigated in 2012, revealing unexplained phenomena, from full-body apparitions to eerie laughter.

Beyond its wartime contributions, the USS Yorktown stands as a unique historical site. T.A.P.S.’s investigation added a layer of mystery, showcasing unexplained occurrences. The museum’s director, Mac Burdette, emphasized respect for the servicemen, underscoring the USS Yorktown’s role in both tangible history and spectral intrigue. Visitors today experience not only the tangible artifacts of war but also the ghostly whispers that weave through the USS Yorktown’s enduring legacy.

Historic USS Yorktown
Historic USS Yorktown – Credit Wiki

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Wandering Spirits – Shadowy Figures

A maritime legend emerges within the USS Yorktown’s sacred halls—an unsettling tale ingrained in the ship’s very fabric. The museum employees are introduced as silent spectators to an unearthly drama taking place in the dark recesses of this naval treasure.

With a disconcerting clarity, spectral figures emerge and their ghostly presence is evident. These eerie silhouettes, formerly liv members of the ship’s crew, move through the dimly illuminated hallways in a paranormal procession that is observed by both the watchful museum employees and gullible tourists. In the shadowy confines of the USS Yorktown, even tough cops, keepers of the law, start seeing strange things.

The haunting narrative extends beyond the expected locations like the hangar deck and flight deck. It weaves through the very heart of the ship—the engine rooms, where mighty engines once roared, now haunted by shadowy echoes. The quiet restrooms become a clandestine meeting ground for spectral entities, while officers’ staterooms hold secrets that manifest in ghostly apparitions. The weapons locker area, resonating with the echoes of wartime, sees shadowy figures lingering, reluctant to fade into history.

Haunting Photograph – Radar Room

The haunting legend of the USS Yorktown unfolds with a chilling revelation—a tale tied to the tragic fate of 141 men who met their demise aboard this storied vessel. Yet, as the pages of history turn, whispers persist that some spirits linger still. One eerie snapshot captured by William Butterfield in August 2008 unveils a ghostly secret lurking within the confines of the ship’s radar room.

In the photo, a spectral presence materializes, seemingly trapped between realms. The ship’s radar room, frozen in time, reveals an apparition that defies logical explanation. A pane of glass stands between the lens and the ghostly figure, tempting skeptics to dismiss it as a mere reflection—perhaps of Butterfield himself. However, the photographer’s solemn testimony challenges such rationalizations. Alone in the room, he asserts that the heavy, long-sleeved shirt draped over the phantom form was not part of his attire during the haunting capture. As the legend goes, even the oppressive August heat of Charleston couldn’t sway the stubborn specter to shed its ghostly garment.

As a result, the USS Yorktown mythology grows stronger, rooted in the unsettling image that defies logic. The eerie mystery of the radar room is a chilling reminder of the ship’s mysterious past. Knowing that you are looking into the eerie hallways of the battleship, where the distinction between the living and the dead becomes hazy, is a monument to the enigma that surrounds this historical naval treasure.

Haunted Radar Room
Haunted Radar Room – Credit World of Warships

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of USS Yorktown

USS Yorktown, renowned for its mysterious past and spooky aura, has been featured in a number of films and TV shows that focus on the paranormal. It was especially important in the fascinating series “Phantoms of the Deep: Unveiling Naval Ghosts,” when viewers were drawn into the eerie stories and terrifying experiences of the ship’s ghosts.

In the realm of literature, USS Yorktown has left an indelible mark, featured prominently in works such as “Ghosts of the USS Yorktown: The Phantoms of Patriots Point” by Bruce Orr and “Haunted South Carolina” by Alan Brown. These literary pieces unravel the spectral stories woven into the ship’s history, presenting enthralling accounts of its paranormal past.

Due to its enigmatic appearance in popular culture and the media, the battleship is now a popular tourist site for both history buffs and those looking for paranormal activity. This nautical artifact emanates a curiosity and eerie atmosphere that entices everyone desiring to immerse themselves in its alluring and eerie atmosphere.

How can I visit USS Yorktown?

Embark on an immersive journey through the storied legacy of the USS Yorktown by reserving a guided tour that sets sail from the Charleston Visitor’s Center. Climb aboard a deluxe, climate-controlled shuttle for a 90-minute exploration, guided by a seasoned local expert well-versed in the battleship’s history. As you traverse the historic streets of Charleston, absorb captivating narratives surrounding the USS Yorktown’s pivotal moments, both in war and peace.

This specialized tour takes you beyond the city’s surface, delving into the heart of Charleston’s connection with the USS Yorktown. Visit key locations such as Charleston’s Historic Homes, the Battery Sea Wall, and the Four Corners of Law, all while unraveling the battleship’s profound impact on the city. Gain insights into the USS Yorktown’s strategic significance during wartime as you explore its connection with historic churches, old markets, and picturesque neighborhoods.

Immerse yourself in the USS Yorktown’s narrative, from its wartime battles to its enduring presence in Charleston. This guided expedition provides an in-depth understanding of the battleship’s role in shaping both the city’s history and the nation’s maritime heritage. Book your tour now to navigate through the USS Yorktown’s captivating saga and explore the profound link between this iconic battleship and the charming city of Charleston.


The ghostly repercussions of the USS Yorktown remain in the back of your mind as you disembark in Charleston. You’re escorted into the night by the ghostly relics of the ship’s legendary past and the ghostly murmurs of the sailors’ stories. For those who are willing to explore the mystery, the bridge that connects the here and now with the afterlife is still available. You can’t help but believe that a piece of the USS Yorktown’s frightening energy lingers with you, permanently entwined with the mysteries of the deep, as you take one last look at the maritime phantom. The eerie ship waits patiently for its next inquisitive guest, ready to reveal the mysteries that continue to shimmer in the dark.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Where is the USS Yorktown located?

A. The USS Yorktown is located in Charleston, South Carolina.

Q. Are there any haunted legends associated with the USS Yorktown?

A. Yes, the USS Yorktown is steeped in eerie tales. Legend has it that the ship is haunted by spectral figures, with reported sightings by both museum staff and visitors. Ghostly occurrences have been documented in various areas, including the hangar deck, flight deck, engine rooms, officers’ staterooms, and even the weapons locker area.

Q. Tell me more about the ghostly apparition captured in the radar room photo.

A. The infamous photo taken by William Butterfield in 2008 reveals a ghostly presence in the ship’s radar room. Despite the glass barrier between the photographer and the room, the figure in the photograph remains unexplained. Butterfield, alone at the time, swears he wasn’t wearing the heavy shirt depicted, challenging skeptics and adding an extra layer of eeriness to the USS Yorktown’s haunted legacy.

Q. Has there been any paranormal investigation conducted on the USS Yorktown?

A. Yes, in February 2012, The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.) conducted an investigation. Their findings, aired on the SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters, included encounters with full-body apparitions, unexplained noises, conversations, laughter, and even physical contact. The investigation added credence to the enduring legends surrounding the USS Yorktown.

Q. Are there specific areas onboard where paranormal activity is more prevalent?

A. Yes, paranormal activity has been reported across the ship, with notable occurrences in the hangar deck, flight deck, engine rooms, restrooms, officers’ staterooms, and the weapons locker area. The legends suggest that the spirits of the departed sailors continue to wander these areas, leaving their spectral imprints.

Q. Are there any specific wartime events that contribute to the USS Yorktown’s haunted reputation?

A. The ship endured a Japanese dive bomber attack in 1945, resulting in significant damage and the loss of 141 lives. It is believed that the residual energy from this traumatic event contributes to the haunting atmosphere aboard the USS Yorktown.

Q. Is a guided tour available for the USS Yorktown?

A. Absolutely! Dive into the captivating history of the USS Yorktown with our expert-led guided tours. Departing from the Charleston Visitor’s Center, these immersive experiences offer a 90-minute exploration, providing unique insights into the battleship’s storied past.

Q. Can visitors experience the haunted legends during regular museum hours?

A. Yes, visitors can explore the USS Yorktown during regular museum hours. While paranormal encounters are not guaranteed, the eerie legends persist, adding a layer of intrigue to the historical exploration of this naval relic.

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