A to Z Ghost Stories 01 | Faces in the Water

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The Ghost of the SS Watertown (November 1924):

In November 1924, two sailors, James Courtney and Michael Meehan, aboard the SS Watertown, an American tanker ship, met a tragic end. They were cleaning a cargo tank when they were overcome by gas fumes and died. The bodies were given a burial at sea.

Soon after the burial, crew members began reporting eerie sightings. To their astonishment, they claimed to see the faces of Courtney and Meehan in the water alongside the ship. The faces were said to be ghastly and surrounded by a spectral, greenish mist. The sightings persisted and became a regular occurrence, with the faces appearing whenever the ship was at sea.

The captain, Keith Tracy, was skeptical at first, but when he and other crew members also witnessed the apparitions, he decided to document the occurrences. The ship’s logbook recorded multiple sightings of the ghostly faces during the voyage.

Upon returning to port in New York City, Captain Tracy reported the strange events to his superiors. Surprisingly, a clergyman and a photographer were brought in to investigate. The photographer managed to capture what appeared to be the faces of the two deceased sailors in the water. The images were deemed genuine, and the story gained widespread attention.

The faces of Courtney and Meehan became known as the “Faces in the Water” and were featured in various publications. The haunting tale of the SS Watertown and its ghostly apparitions remains one of the more unusual and mysterious stories in maritime history.

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