Paranormal Investigation aboard the Haunted Sailing Ship Star of India Part 1

          Vintage Frigate sailing into a fog bank                            Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship. She was built at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Iron ships were relatively new for that time then, with most vessels still being built from timber. She originally bore the name Euterpe,the Greek muse of music and poetry.

 The Euterpe was a full-rigged ship until 1901, when the Alaska Packers Association rigged her down to a barque, her present rig.The advantage of these rigs was that they needed smaller (therefore cheaper) crews than a comparable fully rigged ship as there were fewer of the labour-intensive square sails, and the rig itself is cheaper. They were still very fast and she could travel from England to India and back in about 100 days. Can you imagine such a journey? She began her sailing life with two near-disastrous voyages to India. On her first trip she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second trip, a cyclone caught Euterpe in the Bay of Bengal, and with her topmasts cut away, she barely made port. Shortly afterward, the captain died on board and was buried at sea.

 After such a hard luck beginning, Euterpe made four more voyages to India as a cargo ship. In 1871 she was sold again and embarked on a quarter century of hauling emigrants to New Zealand, sometimes also touching Australia, California and Chile. She made 21 circumnavigations in this service, some of them lasting up to a year. It was rugged voyaging, with the little iron ship battling through terrific gales, “laboring and rolling in a most distressing manner,” according to her log.

 Life aboard the Euterpe was difficult for the sailors, cooped up in her ‘tween deck, fed a diet of hardtack and salt junk, subject to malnutrition, seasickness, and a host of other ills. It is astonishing that their death rate was so low. They were a tough lot, however, coming from the working classes of England, Ireland and Scotland. Her name was changed to Star of India in 1906 and after 60 years of solid performance in 1923, she became the crown jewel of the San Diego Maritime museum, where she remains today as a floating piece of history.                            100_1116                            We arrived in the afternoon and walked into one of the shops that stands next to the Star of India. The store was crowded with white suited sailors fresh off their ship and they were eager to do some shopping. I was asking the clerk , I don’t know, something, and I noticed my body began to sway back and forth, as if rolling on a ship’s deck. The store IS located within a ship but it’s securely docked. I looked at all the sailors, they weren’t swaying so I figured they had their sea legs. Now I’m swaying quite a bit, back and forth, and I really felt as though I was going to get knocked off my feet. And the worst part was I couldn’t do a thing about it! It was like some kind of out of body experience. I knew I was doing it, I felt like an idiot swaying to and fro but was unable to control my actions. Finally I grabbed onto the counter and stared wide-eyed at the clerk. Yeah, she was looking at me funny, too.. I managed to gain control and as we walked out, Kimberly asks me, “So what was THAT all about?” She saw me swaying and she had begun swaying too. Was something trying to communicate with us already? I’ve never felt like that before. I was feeling like I was slipping out of body non consensually, unable to control the swaying, but realizing I was doing it and helpless to stop myself from tumbling to the floor. The spirits of the Star of India knew we were coming, alright..That was weird.. We started our lockdown by being escorted by one of the Star’s docents, Dave. Dave walked me through the ship’s four decks and located the light panels and alarm system. “I’m gonna be gone, and it’s the security guard’s 4th day on the job, and the first three didn’t have much training. Make sure when you’re ready to leave that you show him where these panels are and make sure he sets the alarm. If you need to leave in a hurry and you’re running down the plank, the gate won’t be locked, just push through it.” Wait.. What? Has he had people running off the ship in a hurry? Dave wouldn’t say.. Still wondering if I was going to be running screaming down a poop deck in the middle of the night, we set up our base in the galley and then we headed down below deck. This is another reason I wanted some ambient lights on. Have you tried to navigate a ship’s steep stairs with a thin rope for a rail? Do that in complete darkness? Yeah, I don’t think so! Besides, it’s a museum too, and I don’t want to break anything. We walked from stem to stern taking still digital shots. I felt drawn to crawling into every nook and cranny of the ship. It just felt as though they were somehow hiding from us. Sure enough, the cameras began malfunctioning. It was as though they were deliberately causing the equipment failure. The camera would turn on, I’d point in the direction I wanted to photograph and Boom, the camera would lock up. We had three separate battery drains as well. I had made sure all the equipment had fresh batteries before we started. The batteries would go from a full charge to completely drained in a matter of minutes. It’s a common occurrence for electronic equipment to drain or malfunction with the presence of paranormal activity. I believe they do this to gather energy from an external source in order to manifest either visually or audibly. Remember, spirits have no physical body so in order to be seen or for you to hear a disembodied voice or to create an EVP, they need an external source of energy. I also believe they sometimes just like to screw with us. I believe they mess with equipment when they don’t want to be caught on camera. Spirits are very resourceful that way..                                    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA             So began a cat and mouse type game of bangs in one room across ship, equipment malfunctioning, basically leading us from one end of the ship to the other. We decided to regroup on the main deck. With cameras behaving themselves now, we began taking more still shots. Kimberly’s sister Michelle noticed she was getting a lot of orbs immediately in the vicinity of the lifeboat. “Come here, Look at these!” Michelle called excitedly. Over the course of several consecutive shots, dozens of orbs would suddenly appear around the lifeboat, then in the next frame slightly disperse, then be gone completely by the fourth shot. There was no dust and very little breeze, so we ruled out dirt contamination. I would take several shots of the same boat with a similar camera to no avail. The orbs only appeared when Michelle took the pictures. With activity seeming to center close to the lifeboat, we figured this would be a good time and place to conduct an impromptu seance. Each of us gathered a chair and we sat in a circle. We relaxed our minds and allowed ourselves to slowly focus on the spirits around us. Silently we invited them to join us. I let my eyes fall slightly out of focus ( and at my age that’s pretty darn easy) and I gazed up at the elaborate rigging in the masts. Slowly taking shape aloft in the rigging lines and beams were shadowy shapes. I gazed a little longer and I could see the haggard, barefoot sailors staring back at us. They looked at our group with what I can only describe as a bit of disdain, they looked thoroughly unimpressed with these ladies trying to demand and order them about. Just then I distinctly heard the words “Bilge Rat” ! It seems the pecking order of sailing ships is certainly Captain, crew, THEN female ghost hunters! This was going to be harder than I thought. We had been politely asking for general information from the crew but it seemed being polite little women was getting us nowhere fast. Now we didn’t want to stoop to the level of harassing or taunting, that’s just rude and unnecessary. We needed to rethink our approach. Who would the Captain respect enough and answer their questions? On a whim we thought “Let’s tell him we’re from the ship’s owners and we’re here to make a report.” We didn’t really expect it to work but thought, Hey, let’s give it a try. We Googled one of the several owners of the Star and took a guess about the timeline, picking the Shaw, Savill and Alboin Line. ( She was still the Euterpe during the 19th century ). We had Margaret’s husband James in his best British accent,call out into the night air, “We’ve come from the Shaw Co and we need to ask you some questions. We need to make a report and we need you to comply, Captain.” I was sitting with my back to the Captain’s quarters. It had a small window and short, cotton curtains with the lamp’s light glowing through. Kimberly faced the Captain’s quarters. Her eyes widened, “Kitty, the curtains just moved!” I wheeled around to look. Sure enough, the tiny curtains were parting ever so slightly. There is no way any breeze can get into his quarters because of the wooden partitions inside the galley. We kept talking. “We need to ask you some questions, Captain.” The curtains opened a little more! We all saw this happening. We could have squealed with excitement but were trying to play it cool, you know….           100_1132                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I figured we had his attention but knew time was of the essence. We quickly relocated into the galley. We didn’t know how long we could keep the Captain’s attention. We started running several digital voice recorders and began an EVP session. The Captain’s presence could certainly be felt. Kimberly and I swore we could see him sitting on the galley’s sofa, glaring at everyone. It was in these first few minutes of recording we captured a Class A EVP saying, “Why did you lie to me?” We had made direct contact with the Captain of the ship and he understood what we had said! Apparently, the Captain did not appreciate being duped! Listen to the EVP we captured here ..Is this the Captain asking,  ” Why did you lie to me?” What will the rest of the evening hold? Coming soon.. Part 2..  If you want to see more of our investigations,  evidence and upcoming events, please check out our Facebook page at and please visit my website at !                     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                         100_1111