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Haunted Investigation of the USS Salem

On August 19th, the Shadow Chasers teamed up with several affiliate members to investigate the USS Salem in Quincy, Massachusetts.
While we have been in service since 2002, we have never been ones to target prestige locations, and in-fact we have had nearly 90% of all of our cases come to us, this was to be our second 'Paranormal Road Trip.' The site was notoriously haunted and well within driving distance. The team unanimously decided it would be worth our time and an investment to investigate one of America's most notoriously haunted locations.

History: Ordered by the US Navy on 14 June, 1943, USS Salem (CA 139) was laid down on 4 July, 1945 at the Bethlehem Steel Company's Quincy Yard in Quincy, MA and launched on 25 March, 1947. She was commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 14 May, 1949.

USS Salem served a distinguished 10 year career as flagship of the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and the Second Fleet in the Atlantic. During her career she served as host to such notables as the US Ambassador to Spain, John D. Lodge; the Honorable Thomas S. Gates, Undersecretary of the Navy; Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN, Chief of Naval Operations; the Shah of Iran; the President of Lebanon and the King and Queen of Greece.
Although Salem never fired her mighty guns in anger, her very presence served as a stimulus for peace during those troubled times that came to be called the Cold War. She served as a Lady of Diplomacy, rather than as a means of exerting brute force.

After four months of local operations, Salem sailed for Guantanamo Bay on 24 January 1953 for training. Returning to Boston on 27 February, she sailed for the Mediterranean on 17 April and again relieved Newport News as flagship. Her fourth deployment was marked by Exercise "Weldfest" and by emergency relief work after the 1953 Ionian Earthquake which devastated the Ionian IslandsSalem was the first American ship to arrive on the scene, and provided relief supplies and assistance from 13 August until her own stocks ran low four days later. Relieved by Des Moines as flagship on 9 October, she returned to Boston on 24 October and entered the shipyard for overhaul.
USS Salem was decommissioned on 30 January, 1959 and joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.In 

October 1994, Salem was returned to her birthplace in Quincy, Massachusetts where she is now a museum ship as part of the United States Naval Shipbuilding MuseumSalem also houses the USS Newport News Museum, The US Navy Cruiser Sailors Association Museum, and the US Navy Seals Exhibit room. 

Planning Phase: In most investigations you contact the proprietor and work with them to set up an ideal investigation date. The USS Salem was quite a bit different. One of our Twitter friends sent out a flyer about investigations on the ship. After inquiring, she started relaying information between our requests and the actual paranormal teams responsible for the preservation of the ship. After some discussion we were invited to spend the entire night on the ship for a private investigation.

Despite a few miss-communications we eventually managed to establish a time and date for the 19th at 6PM-7AM. A few days before hand we verified the time and date with our contact. The primary team's director was not able to respond but our contact assured us that everything was taken care of for our investigation. We were told that we could arrive at any time and our contact would be on-hand after 5:30.

Road Trip: We set out from Utica at noon and met up with our team member Sean for lunch. Continuing on from there we discussed the history of the location and all of the reported activity from the site. Investigations by Ghost Hunters and all of the teams that discussed the USS Salem from the History Channel to the Syfy Channel all claimed extensive history and activity on the site. We arrived in Quincy, MA at just before 5PM. Since we were were in unfamiliar territory on the docks we decided to check in with the ship first. Unfortunately, we decided to stop at what we assumed were the offices for the Salem. This led to a parking issue with the MBTA parking fees and their confusing directions for the parking lot. 

After dealing with the confusing parking lot rules to avoid getting our cars towed, we headed up the gangplank and buzzed the ship at the security gate. We were promptly met by our contacts who informed us that we were more than welcome aboard and we could either order to the ship or go and grab dinner before the investigation. We were also informed that the ship had it's own parking lot that was exempt from the MBTA hassle. We opted to go out and grab dinner and go over our plans for the investigation based on our new information. Taking our ques from our investigation at Rolling Hills we decided that it would be best to forego any supplies and just head back to the ship.



On Site: We arrived almost an hour early and met with our contacts who offered to assist us with bringing our gear up to the ship. After several trips from our cars to the ship we managed to get all of our gear on deck. Our contacts brought us down into the forward wardroom to give us the initial overview and the waivers for the investigation. 

We reviewed the procedures, safety protocols and the hazards of navigating the ship.
Once the overview was out of the way, our contacts took us on a walk-through of the ship explaining all of the related stories and areas of the ship that we would have access to throughout our investigation. We were informed that the 'Butter Room' where the bodies were originally stored during the relief efforts for the Ionian disaster would be off limits due to hazards. We would be limited from investigating the anchor room, the sub-decks, engineering and the bridge (depending on the weather). Aside from the few restrictions we were granted access to the entire ship. Our contacts informed us that they would only have the 3-4 members on-hand throughout the night and for the most part they would stay out of sight. The ship was wired with a number of IR surveillance cameras that they could use to monitor most of the ship. As a result, they could stay out of our investigation and make sure that everyone was safe throughout the investigation.

Reviewing the activity for the ship, our contacts tell us about the activity in the anchor room where staff and visitors have reported seeing a figure walk the corridors and where Jason and Grant experienced the most of their activity when Ghost Hunters investigated the ship in 2009. The wardroom was reported to have shadow apparitions passing through the room, the dentist's office, infirmary and lower ops rooms (now museum rooms) had reports of apparitions and the sounds of the crew tending to their duties. Our base would be the Forward Wardroom but there were also reports of apparitions passing through the starboard hatches. Once more, the host team offered to help us set up and move gear into position if we needed it. From initially setting foot on board to having all of our equipment in place, including their tour took a little more than two hours. We had 9 cameras in place on extended batteries. We placed cameras in the forward anchor room corridor, forward ward room facing the requisite hatches, port corridor facing down the length of the ship to the stern, another in the starboard corridor near the galley, another in the stern crew quarters on the starboard side, another in the starboard wardroom, another in the port prep-room/museum, another in the port crew quarters and two more cameras place at the stern.
Investigation: We opened our investigation by dividing into two teams. Kate and Courtinie started on the weather deck while Sean, Josh and Phil started on the lowest deck in what used to be the Navy Seals prep area. The investigation was fairly straight forward except for audio. There was a mysterious deck call though the intercom system periodically. We contacted our hosts and they managed to silence the museum trapping so that we could have clean audio. Unfortunately, due to the Salem's position in the harbor, the traffic passing over the bridge outside was so loud that even three decks below the weather deck we could hear the traffic. Slowly the teams searched each deck noting EM and ES anomalies and after several hours the teams re-grouped in the forward wardroom. Even with all of the equipment in place and a consistent survey strategy the investigation of the ship was an immense task. We had yet to have any experiences or capture anything significant. One of our hosts stopped in to let us know that we would have access to the bridge later in the evening and a few additional areas of the ship. 
After some discussion we decided to investigate in parallel with one team in the starboard corridor and another in the port corridor surveying deck-by-deck. Initially leaving the forward wardroom Sean and Josh glimpsed a shadow figure down the port corridor at the stern of the ship. Several team members witnessed the figure but we were unable to capture it on video. We investigated throughout the galley, crew quarters, medical bay and starboard wardroom. In the galley room we managed to capture some activity, some interactions with the equipment and even captured several EVPs. After a couple of hours our team needed to regroup and grab some additional batteries as well as some additional equipment before proceeding but when we returned to the Forward Wardroom we asked our hosts if they had any snacks or drinks on-hand, they responded that we could send a couple team members out to grab some supplies if we wanted. This was the complete opposite of Rolling Hills.
Continuing our investigation after the resupply, we were able to document a number of audible phenomena that sounded like footsteps and voices that were coming from near the crew quarters and galley near the stern. Our investigation was interrupted during a resupply as our hosts asked us to stay below decks because of a disturbance outside the ship. Several drunken men were outside in the parking lot throwing things at the ship. 

After the incident we were invited to climb up to the bridge and the signal deck. We were able to investigate the captain's cabin, bridge and various other rooms. We received some responses on our equipment from the captain's cabin but little recorded activity. Returning to the wardroom, our hosts interceded again inviting us to investigate one of the closed sections of the ship. The Combat Information Center. This time all of our team and our hosts guided us into the CIC to investigate. Once everyone was in the CIC everyone heard the sounds of men running on the upper decks and hatches closing. This alerted our hosts as no one else was on board.  As everyone climbed to the upper decks the sounds receded and no one could identify the source.  
We regrouped and investigated a number of additional rooms that were now available to us including another converted museum room with an old diving suit. A few EVPs were caught from the diving suit room but activity seemed to be declining. Heading to the stern of the ship we managed to capture a number of interactions with the flashlight and voice recorders. The most significant response was when we placed the PX across the room and asked for a response. The PX responded with several names and reactions to our questions but when we asked for a more significant response the device was shoved from its position and almost thrown to the deck. We retreated back to the wardroom and retrieved some much needed caffeine and equipment while we discussed the next phase.


After deliberation we decided to perform another full sweep of the stern galley and rear weather deck but this time we did not capture any more additional EVPs. We decided to focus on the crew quarters where we had also captured activity previously. As we entered the room we caught a shadow figure moving through the starboard hatch. We were unable to capture any additional activity and most of our cameras were full with more than 9hours of video on each not counting the additional handhelds were were using. 

 The Wrap Up: Our investigation of USS Salem concluded watching a very stunning sunrise on the weather deck. We packed our equipment, headed out to the cars and were invited back to investigate whenever we could come out again. The Shadow Chasers investigation of the USS Salem was certainly an adventure. We captured a number of audible phenomena on multiple audio recorders and video. We captured a few interesting photographs and had a number of experiences. Would we want to go back and investigate the Salem? The definitive answer is Absolutely. 

The USS Salem was an impressive site to investigate and the host team was great to work with on an investigation. Even though Ghost Hunters had limited experiences and little evidence from their investigation our results showed the site was haunted.

Early Morning in Salem waiting on the Coffee shop to open.
 The USS Salem is known for its history and more recently for its paranormal activity. The ship is a historic site with a long legacy and although it was never in combat, it has quite a bit of truth to the accounts. Experiencing the ship is definitely a unique experience and quite limited opportunity. The close of this particular Paranormal Road Trip brought us from Quincy and the USS Salem up to the town of Salem. Unfortunately we arrived in town almost two hours before anything in Salem opened. 

USS Friendship in Salem Harbor



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