Ghosts of Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Attack
A U/S/ battleship sinking during the attack
National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Stories about Pearl Harbor are enduring stories of bravery and daring. And often, we hear the same stories because they encapsulate the moment, the heartache, and the bravado of that fateful day.

The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 affected a large swath of people, not just sailors or Marines or men. Nurses and moms, kids and students–they experienced Japan’s terror and stealth attack that day, too.

Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed by a Japanese attack on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which launched the United States into World War II.

A photo taken at the USS Arizona Memorial / Pearl Harbor
Shows what looks like a face in the water.
Photo courtesy KHON

Those who died didn’t go peacefully, which makes Pearl Harbor ripe for ghosts.One of its more famous ghosts, “Charley,” has been there so long and his presence so well documented that it isn’t uncommon for local officers to respond “That’s just Charley” when water faucets turn themselves on, radio stations switch, or heavy doors swing back and forth inexplicably. However, he’s harmless.

Many of those who visit the memorial built over the Arizona feel inexplicable sadness and pain. But one of the most harrowing ghost stories regards a sailor who was shot after leaving his post during the Pearl Harbor bombings. He is said to haunt the deck of the sunken ship at low tide.

Pearl Harbor Memorial


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