The world of the supernatural and the realm of the military may seem like an unlikely pairing, but the eerie tales of haunted US military bases have intrigued believers and skeptics alike for generations.
We’re not talking about the type of fear you experience while walking out to your car and seeing pink and blue balloons tied to your antenna, with “call me” written in marker on your window. All while your platoon places bets on what stripper you’ll call first.
We’re talking about paranormal fear.
The Haunted History of Fort Monroe, Virginia
Fort Monroe, located on a scenic peninsula in Virginia, is not only known for its strategic importance but also for its ghostly history. As one of the oldest forts in the United States, it boasts tales of Civil War-era phantoms. Among the most famous is the legend of "the Phantom Sentry," a ghostly figure dressed in Civil War-era uniform who continues to patrol the fort to this day. Bad enough being a Marine and told you’ll have duty in heaven, but to never get to leave the post in Virginia? That’s got to be one moist apparition.
The Otherworldly Encounters at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania
Fort Mifflin, often referred to as the "Fort that Saved America," is notorious for its historical significance, and being in Pennsylvania there’s little surprise. Strange things seem to occur there. Situated on the banks of the Delaware River, the fort served as a prison during the Revolutionary War and Civil War.
Visitors have reported a range of supernatural experiences, from shadowy figures and ghostly screams to disembodied voices. The most famous ghost, "The Screaming Woman," is believed to be Elizabeth Pratt, whose tragic story remains etched in the annals of Fort Mifflin's history. There are a few decent shows which take a crack at explaining her story, but officially she died of an “illness”.
However, caretaker Wayne Irby claims Elizabeth, an officer's wife, had a massive fight with her daughter, who wanted to marry an enlisted man. Before the pair could reconcile, Elizabeth’s daughter dies of fever. Distraught, Elizabeth reportedly was driven to madness, and hung herself from the railing of the second floor of the fort.
Irby says he still occasionally hears her screaming. However, he also claims that one time he was so fed up with her nonsense he cussed Elizabeth out, who actually left him alone.
Paranormal Hater: The Ghosts of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Fort Leavenworth, often dubbed the "Intellectual Center of the Army," is renowned for its prestigious history and academic programs, as well as being the site of a military prison. However, beneath its scholarly veneer lie chilling tales of paranormal encounters. Stories of ghostly apparitions, phantom footsteps, and mysterious voices echo through the centuries-old buildings.
One of the most famous stories revolves around the "Rookery," an officer's quarters dating back to 1834. Officers and their families have reported ghostly sightings and unexplained events, including doors slamming shut on their own and unidentifiable whispers in the night. Officers can have overactive imaginations, but that many seem suspicious.
Particularly in the case of Major E. A. Ogden. Despite dying on Fort Riley, of cholera, Ogden’s ghost reportedly has been seen many times inhabiting his old quarters on Fort Leavenworth. Imagine being such a hater, you don’t even haunt the place that you die.
The haunted US military bases mentioned above offer a glimpse into the mysterious and unexplained, though there are many more examples. If spirits or echoes of the dead are real, then military outposts would be a natural location for them to collect. Pain, death, misery, and unfinished business, all of cliché reasons the dead won’t depart, are commonplace in high concentrations here. As for me, no matter where I go out, I’m not reporting back to Camp LeJeune from the underworld; I did my time.