By Shelby Taylor
All Hallows’ Eve is coming up fast — do you know where you’ll be getting your fright on? If you’re up for a drive to Bremerton, we suggest a different kind of haunted experience, and it’s one that promises to linger way past October’s end.
This will be the USS Turner Joy’s 10th time turning haunted. The naval museum ship took up the tradition of dressings its decks in the spooky to help draw people in. Even today, people pack the pier abuzz with expectation.
Themes vary year to year, and in the past, they’ve tended to center on the Philadelphia Experiment. As io9.com explains: “tales of the Philadelphia Experiment involve covert US Navy operations that led to time travel, teleportation and mangled flesh” — most definitely a fun subject to run with, especially given its naval ties.
The Paranormal Experience
This year, the Turner Joy turned to A.G.H.O.S.T., one of the oldest Paranormal Investigation Teams in Washington State, for assistance with its Haunted Ship. Over the summer, A.G.H.O.S.T. President Ross Allison and team-led groups pointed out the five hot spots for paranormal activity on the Turner Joy. It is said that two dutiful sailors’ ghosts call the Turner Joy home, and actual sailors have corroborated all of the ghost stories that swirl around the ship.
Impressed by the author, lecturer and paranormal investigator, Turner Joy Director, Jack James, approached Ross about the Haunted Ship project, and the collaboration began.
In terms of the Haunted Ship’s storyline, Professor “Perry Normal” has, in the words of Ross, “developed a new device to communicate with the dead. He’s chosen to run the experiment on the ship.” And that’s where the audience comes in — you’re simply along for the haunted demonstration. The professor will be joined by a team of ghost hunters who steer attendees through a ship of tortured souls, and yes, things will go terribly wrong.
“By the time you’re done, you will be scared,” Jack adds.
Refreshingly, The Paranormal Experience “will not focus on blood and gore,” Ross said. Rather, the experience will be a more psychological one, one which you’ll think on during those times when you’re alone in the dark and that bump-in-the-night fear takes hold.
The Paranormal Experience also has a vintage Vietnam War feel to it, nodding to the fact that the Turner Joy was involved with the conflict for 10 years. In fact, the ship — along with the USS Maddox — played a part in the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which President Johnson used to justify war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
The Haunted Ship runs from Tuesday, October 27 through Saturday, October 31. Hours for Tuesday through Thursday are 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and tours go all the way to midnight on the 30th and 31st. Pre-sale tickets are $10.50 and can be purchased online. Tickets are $12 at the door — 300 Washington Beach Ave, Bremerton.
No children under the age of 7 will be admitted.
Want more? Visit the USS Turner Joy the Paranormal Experience’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.
If the spooky isn’t for you, the Turner Joy offers an “armload of awesome things,” according to Jack. From overnight programs, which are especially popular with scouts (knot tying, anyone?), to reunions, memorials and ceremonies, there are many ways to experience this piece of local, floating history. While the USS Turner Joy may have split its time between Long Beach, the Philippines and Vietnam during the Vietnam War, it was constructed in Seattle and has bobbed on Bremerton’s waterfront since 1991.