Haunted Ship of Alabama

Southern Macabre

You can listen to this episode here.

Hey y’all and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I am so glad y’all are listening today. Before I tell you today’s paranormal story, I have a couple of announcements to make. First, Southern Macabre is officially a month old! It happened Monday, but I didn’t realize it until, well, let me make the second announcement. So, we are the #74 Independent True Crime Podcast out of 100 on Goodpods – that is because of YOU! So, thank YOU for listening and telling your friends about this podcast. I never would have thought anything like this would happen, especially not this quickly. Y’all are awesome and I love y’all!

The problem with this accomplishment is I wanted something unique for this episode. Something unexpected. It took a lot of time, but I think it was worth it. Today I’m going to bring y’all down to my neck of the woods, kind of. Same state, just a lot further south.

—–

Our story takes place in Mobile, Alabama, a fascinating city filled with rich history and beloved southern traditions. Did y’all know you can hop on a boat to watch the Moon Pie drop at the Moon Pie Factory on New Years Eve? Or that the very first Mardi Gras parade happened here and not in New Orleans? It’s true. Or that Carnival Cruise Line and Naval Ships are built here? You can see some of their daily operations from that boat tour I mentioned before.

Speaking of ships, today’s story is about the 680-foot battleship, the USS Alabama BB-60 that rests in Mobile, Alabama. My family and I visited the battleship back in 2015, so I will post some of our pictures on the website and our Facebook page. Unfortunately, none of us experienced anything paranormal, but none of us were brave enough to go down the steep, narrow stairs. My oldest is clumsy, I was wearing my daughter in a baby carrier on my chest, and my husband…well, he has his reasons. Here’s a hint: Swannanoa. If you aren’t familiar with that episode, please listen to The Blue Dog Ghost after I get done telling you today’s story. We southerners don’t like being interrupted when we’re telling a story.

The ship is awesome, and so is the military museum next door, so you should definitely visit if you ever get the chance. Unless you are physically looking at her, you can’t understand how enormous this ship really is! As we were driving up to her, we were impressed, but once we parked and started walking towards her we were awestruck!

So, the USS Alabama was ordered in 1939 and was built at the Norfolk Naval Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. She was the fourth and last member of the South Dakota class of battleships built for the United States. She was launched on February 16, 1942 and sent to strengthen the British Home Fleet during World War II. Her primary use was to protect air craft carriers from surface and air attacks.

After the war, she brought about 700 people home from the war zone. She was decommissioned in 1947 having never seen a casualty caused by enemy fire. That’s impressive! So, then, how is she haunted?

We’ll get to that in a moment, I want to tell you more about her and her history first. Just be patient.

When she was decommissioned, she was assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet until 1962 when she was set to be destroyed. A campaign to save her was launched and enough funds were raised that she was brought to Mobile to act as a museum.

The USS Alabama had guns upon guns on board and a technologically superior radar system. She was designed well to do her job, protect our men so they could kill the bad guys.

Anyway, on to the reason y’all are here. So, while she was being built, two men died and some people claim to hear them still working on her to this day.

Also, I said no one was killed by enemy fire. I didn’t say anything about friendly fire. The guns onboard were supposed to have safety features that would prevent turrets firing on each other, but they failed and eight men died.

People hear footsteps when no one is there and one visitor claims to have had her earring tugged. Spirits have been seen in the officer’s quarters and in the cook’s galley! At night, people have heard popping and banging noises and even heard the heavy steel hatches slam shut! I don’t know about y’all, but that would freak me out!

Many claim to feel like they’re being watched and women in particular feel uneasy. It is dim inside, not dark, so I kind of attributed any weird feelings to that. Maybe I didn’t feel uneasy because I’m fat and guys in the 1940s weren’t into big gals. I should go back and ask!

Unfortunately that’s all I could find on the ghosts at the USS Alabama, so let me tell you a quick tip right quick.

If you are ever down in Mobile, after you tour the ship, go to Bluegill Restaurant. They have been in business since 1956! I don’t like oysters, they’re disgusting. I actually hate them. However, I love the grilled oysters with parmesan at Bluegill. You sit on this huge deck in the water, listen to amazing live music, get you a local craft beer, and it is heaven on earth. Seven years later I still remember that night like it was last week.

—–

Surprise! Since that didn’t take as long as I like I’m going to tell y’all a bonus story today. Plus, y’all have been so good to me, I want to do something for you.

So, we’re going to head back up towards Tuscaloosa and to McCalla, Alabama. There’s a museum, campground, etc. at this place called Tannehill. It is spelled T-A-N-N-E-H-I-L-L, but it is pronounced Tannehill. That’s your Alabama word for the day.

Anyway, Tannehill is where they mined iron ore way back in the 1800s and the furnaces are still standing, even though the Yankees tried to destroy it during the Civil War! Before 1860, Tannehill was known for it’s cast iron. Woodstoves, pots, pans, etc. were made right here and sold all over the United States. During the Civil War, they made cannons and cannonballs along with other types of weapons.

My husband and I went camping here in 2015 and set up our tent alongside the bubbling springs. Seriously, y’all have to come down here and see this! The creek bubbles like the water’s boiling, but it’s cold all year long! It’s the best thing in the summer because it provides some natural air conditioning, but it’s far better if you just get in it. Snakes and gators don’t like cold so you’re safe. It’s also shallow so you can let your little ones play in it.

Anyway, we went to the Iron and Steel Museum, which is a lot cooler than it sounds. It is filled with the rich history of the area and Civil War facts that even I didn’t know growing up in Fredericksburg! Afterwards, we visited the General Store which is the best thing, in my opinion. It has a beautiful front porch and inside is like a real, old general store. You can actually buy flour and corn meal that’s ground on site.

As you make your way to the Ironworks, you’ll see four or five old cabins from the 1800s. They were brought to Tannehill, restored, and are used as shops for crafters on weekends. I bought a beautiful handmade quilt for $40 here! There are also weavers, glass/metal carvers, etc.

So, at the top of the hill, you will see the massive stone Ironworks. I’m not sure how tall it is, but my son who is 6’5” tall looks like an elf standing beside it. We, of course, spent a lot of time looking around before hiking into the woods. We didn’t get to finish our hike, I think it was getting dark, so we went back to our tent to fix dinner.

It was October so nights were chilly compared to daytime and we forgot our air mattresses. I cuddled up with my daughter, who was a year old at the time, in two of our camping chairs. I had my upper body and her in one with my feet in the other.. It started storming in the middle of the night, but I went back to sleep. As I was sleeping, I heard a deep gravelly voice say in my ear, “Yought not hold dat baby dat away, y’gonna hurt it’s little neck”. I woke up quick and my daughter was dangling off the chair, head first. I may have been dreaming and maternal instincts kicked in, but it still creeped me out. I resituated her, but I was wide awake.

For those of you who don’t have kids, she was fine. I’ve seen them dangle off the sides of their own beds like that and wake up happy. My neck would kill me for a week.

Anyway, around 4:30AM the storm got worse and my husband woke up because the ground was rumbling. I don’t remember it happening in Virginia, but down here when it thunders it can feel like a minor earthquake – especially in a tent or in a trailer. That’s when I heard chains rattling and an old iron gate creaking open in the distance. I woke my husband who was angry at first, but when he saw the lightning, he decided we should probably get out of the woods.

Remy was already awake so I got him and Baby Girl into the SUV while hubby got the tent. I watched him smoking as he carefully pulled the tent stakes and put them in a bag. Then he paused and looked off to where I had heard the chains rattling and the gate opening. Y’all, he nearly swallowed his cigarette before picking up the three-room cabin tent and throwing it into the back of our SUV! It still had the tent poles in it! He leaped in the car and sped away screaming, “You weren’t kidding! I heard the gate!”

—–

Fast forward to last year. We took my mom up there because she’s never been and we had told her how awesome it was so she really wanted to go. As long as we weren’t camping because she doesn’t do tents.

It was the last weekend for the craft fair so we started at the amazing museum, visited every cabin, and hiked to the ironworks. We took a lot of pictures that day and we all had the best time. We decided to pick a hiking trail and complete it this time. I have a special affection for old cemeteries so I really wanted to see the old slave cemetery, plus as a homeschool mom I thought it would be a good opportunity to teach my kids American history. No one would go with me because that trail is longer and it was getting dark in a couple of hours. Lame.

So, we start hiking and the farther in you go, the denser the trees get making it darker as you get to the middle of this trail. That’s when I started hearing Mr.Ballen from YouTube in my head. “They were just your average family, heading into the woods of Alabama to enjoy a serene, beautiful hike. They had no idea what awaited them on this fateful day”. Yes, I said it out loud like that, only my husband laughed. The rest were on edge.

When we got close to the end, I realized we had just walked around the backside of the campground, which made it less creepy. We came off the trail at a “Y”. Straight ahead was the biggest craft fair I have ever seen in my life, but to the right –

Y’all, it was an old metal gate with a chain through it that had been deadbolted. I’m not even kidding. My husband and I looked at it, looked at each other, and started laughing. My mom looked over, too, and laughed saying, “Well there’s your old metal gate!”

—–

Is Tannehill haunted by workers who died mining iron ore and soldiers who were killed defending the ironworks? Probably, but I don’t think we really heard them opening a gate to go to work. It was probably a living employee opening the gate to drive up the access road. Now I actually want to go camping up there again, but we have a dog who can’t be left alone and who doesn’t hike. He’s either a pit bull, an American bulldog, or some combination of the two. He prefers food and naps over strenuous activity beyond five minutes a day of tug-o-war.

If you’re wondering, his name is Kimber and he’s the best dog we have ever had. I will tell y’all about him in a bonus episode when we reach 25 reviews on Apple Podcasts or Goodpods.

—–

Thank y’all so much for tuning in today – I appreciate each and every one of you! If you want to read this transcript, you can go to www.southern-macabre.com. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, I’m Aeryn Grey. Our Facebook page is just Southern Macabre. I hope y’all have a great rest of your week and I’ll be back Friday with a true crime story.

God bless, y’all!

 

Credits

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

USS Alabama (BB-60) – Wikipedia

The 8 Most Haunted Places in Alabama | Haunted Rooms America

Historical Park | Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park | United States (tannehillstatepark.org)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: