USS Constellation

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The usual causes are at the root of paranormal activity which have been observed on the USS Constellation:
death suffered in battle, murder, suicide, past bad behavior
and the desire on the part of many spirits not to retire.




The 1854 USS Constellation is a large, 176-foot, large sailing vessel, in the naval category of Sloop-of-War, notable for being the last sail-only warship designed and built by the United States Navy. It is on display in the inner Baltimore Harbor on Pier 1, a real blast from the past. The visitor sees what a state-of-the-art, Sloop-of-War ship in the 19th Century looked like.

This National Historic Landmark is described as being a square-rigged sailing warship with a wooden hull, three main masts, and thirty-six guns which gave it plenty of firepower.

Its nickname was “THE YANKEE RACEHORSE” for good reason. It was designed with sharp bow lines, making it a speedy ship for its time. Its hull planking is made of clear, white oak, with live oak for its frames. Yellow pine was used for its decks, and white pine or spruce were used for its masts and spar deck.
The spar or top deck was where the control of the sails in all sailing operations took place. The refurbished gun deck is right below it, and is where the Captain’s Cabin, the Gallery, and the main battery of guns are located. The newest addition is a cast-iron stove, the kind that was used on-board.

Below the gun deck, the refurbished Officers’ Quarters, plus all three hundred and fifty sailors, are on the berth deck, where they lived, slept and socialized.

In the very bottom level is the orlop deck that is being restored. It is an overlapping, balcony-like, half-deck occupying a portion of the ship’s lowest deck space that was used for storage of food, water and gear needed for on-board living, and performances of duties. The lowest part of the bottom deck was used to store cables, etc.

The self-tour of most of the levels of the USS Constellation has many exhibits about onboard life, tours of duty, and the men who served. There is an auditory guide provided for a fee.

The public can enjoy a variety of activities for all ages. There are overnight adventures, half-day educational programs, and events held onboard.

Several planned restoration projects include the ship’s head, painting of the topsides, fine-tuning the rigging and restoring much of the orlop deck.



There have been three U.S. naval ships with the name Constellation: the Frigate USS Constellation, the Sloop-of-War USS Constellation, and the USS Constellation CV-64, which was the second ship in the Kitty Hawk class of aircraft carriers.

The USS Constellation CV-64 was commissioned on October 27, 1961, under the motto “Spirit of the Old, Pride of the New.” After an impressive forty-one years of service, it was decommissioned on August 7th, 2003.

The 1797 frigate USS Constellation was the first ship of the US Navy. It was one of six ships commissioned to protect American shipping from “marauding freebooters,” who were making American shipping abroad an unsafe endeavor. It had a wooden hull, with three main masts and thirty-six guns.

It was designed by naval constructors Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, with revisions made in their plans by builder David Stodder, and superintendent of shipbuilding, Captain Thomas Truxtun. Captain Truxtun was an experienced officer from the Revolutionary War. He literally wrote the book, concerning drill manual and tactical methods. It became a mainstay of Navy procedure.

It was finished at Sterrett Shipyard, Baltimore, Maryland, and was launched on September 7th 1797. The ship sailed flying the Continental Congress flag. Its first commission was being the protective force for US commerce ships carrying merchandise so they would arrive safely to their destination, from June to August 1798.

In December of 1798, the Constellation sailed to the Caribbean under the command of Captain Thomas Truxtun to protect other US commerce routes. Under his gifted leadership, it had many important victories.

On February 9th, 1799, it saw action with the French forty-gun frigate, L’insurgente, near Nevis, West Indies. The French were defeated, and L’insurgente was hauled into the nearest port as a prize. Other accomplishments included the capture of two French privateer vessels, the Diligent and the Union.

The frigate Constellation also captured the Algerian frigate, Mashuda on June 17, 1815, and continued to stop privateers in South America (1819-1820), safe-guarded American lives and property during the Opium War, and brought combatants to the commercial treaty table during the early 1840s.

When the frigate USS Constellation was taken apart in 1853, parts of the ship were used to build her replacement, the Sloop-of-war USS Constellation, which was designed by John Lethal and put together at Norfolk Naval Yard.

After being commissioned in 1854, it was assigned a three-year tour with the Mediterranean Squadron, under the command of Captain Charles H Bell. Its mission was to protect the lives and property of Americans, and the US merchant routes of commerce.

In 1859, it became the flagship of the U.S African Squadron, where they caught slave ships, like the Brig Dewlica, that was on its way to pick up its slave cargo. They chased and caught another slaver’s ship, the Brig Cora, freed the 702 slaves onboard, and arrested the captains. The brig’s crew was released.

On April of 1862-1964, Sloop-of-War USS Constellation was assigned to patrol the Mediterranean, looking for Confederate warships. It helped to blockade the Sumter and eventually capture it.

After returning through the West Indies, they were on the lookout for Rebel privateers, cruisers and blockade runners. After her crew and officers were reassigned, the Sloop-of-War USS Constellation finished her Civil War duty by becoming a Receiving Ship at Norfolk, VA and Philadelphia until 1869.

In 1871, the USS Constellation became a teaching ship for the Naval Academy, taking cadets on summer training cruises, after being updated with eight 9-inch Dahlgren guns, one 100-pound Parrott rifle and one 11-inch Dahlgren gun to fulfill the requirements of also being a gunnery school. The USS Constellation was a hands-on classroom for twenty-two years, until 1893.

In between classes, the USS Constellation was given special assignments, such as transporting exhibits to the Paris Exposition, and carrying supplies for both flagships and Irish famine victims.

In 1894, she was renovated into a stationary training ship, and permanently moored at Newport, RI. In June of 1904, she was dry-docked at the New York Naval Yard, and used for sail training until the Navy discontinued the training in 1920.

It was decommissioned on June 16th, 1933, and designated to be a “naval relic.” However, the USS Constellation was needed again. On August 24th, 1940, she was classified as a miscellaneous, unclassified, auxiliary, 1X-20.

During WW2, the USS Constellation had the honor of being the relief flagship for Admiral Ernest J King, and then for Vice Admiral Royal E Ingersoll.

In February of 1955, she was decommissioned for the last time, and moved to Baltimore to be preserved and restored in a floating dry-dock by a private, non-profit organization. Challenges awaited her.

The ship’s newest battle was with its physical deterioration. There were no strong sources of funds to undertake such a huge project. It took ten years to stabilize it before people could come onboard. When they did, it resembled a “reconfiguration” of the 1797 Frigate Constellation. Stabilization didn’t mean correcting the dry-rot that was becoming the next major problem.

Finally, in 1994, a money-raising organization, Constellation Foundation funded the major renovations of its hull, and restored her back into the Sloop-of-War USS Constellation, before returning to Baltimore’s inner Harbor on July 2nd, 1999.

The two-million-dollar repair of the USS Constellation took place during 2014-2015, when she was moved to dry-dock at the US Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay, to conquer the dry rot, once and for all. Several grants and generous individual donors paid for these needed repairs.

The Sloop-of-War USS Constellation will never be physically run-down again. Thanks to volunteers, grants and fund-raising, maintenance is an ongoing activity on this treasured National Landmark.



Needless to say, many men died violent deaths in battle, and accidents aboard this ship, while serving their country. Some who died much later after their naval service, decided to spend their afterlives on their beloved ship. A suicide and a murder also have caused hauntings.


Spirits who committed suicide find out that their problems and pain stay with them, and find themselves stuck where they did the deed.

The USS Hornet, MD (Because it was fifteen months from port during WW2, experiencing fifty-seven attacks, and suffering the death of friends, the USS Hornet holds the WW2 record for suicides of men who buckled under all the mayhem and death around them. They find themselves stuck on their ship).

Hotel Adolphus, TX (Heartbreak caused a tragic act and the haunting of a forlorn, lonely spirit).

Hotel Bethlehem, PA (Frank Smith was an employee of The Eagle Hotel, and held an important job, as he had an office and secretary in the hotel itself, up on the third floor. After a business deal went sour, he couldn’t live with the consequences of failure and shot himself in the bathroom off his office. He appears in solid form in front of staff, wearing a suit).

USS Constellation, MD (A sailor on either the Frigate USS Constellation or the Sloop-of-War USS Constellation became overwhelmed from being in battle and hung himself).

Servicemen who die while serving on a military naval ship, sometimes continue to do so in their afterlives.

Star of India, CA (Some sailors who died on board have never taken shore leave).

USS Hornet, CA (In the USS Hornet’s twenty-seven years of active service, more than three hundred people lost their lives aboard ship. The spirits who reside aboard have become part of this new USS Hornet non-profit organization and like to try to help the living while enjoying their memories, enjoying being with spirit buddies and working through their pain and restlessness as well).

USS Lexington, TX (The Lexington saw a lot of hot action in four major WW2 battles, suffering many dead. Many spirits are still on duty, sometimes helping and interacting).

Frigate USS Constellation or Sloop-of-War USS Constellation, MD (Spirits who died on board are still doing their assigned routines).


Spirits who have regrets and/or want to clear their names are often restless as they try to make amends, or try to find a way to do so.

Tavern at Clinton, MD (A travesty of justice has one restless spirit wanting to clear her name).

DuPont Mansion B and B, KY (Alfred Victor DuPont’s secret lifestyle choices got him into some real trouble. As a spirit he tries to make amends while still paying unwanted attention to some unlucky women).

Joshua Ward House, MA (The spirit of torture victim Giles Corey is still angry and wants justice).

Frigate USS Constellation, MD (The spirit of Neil Harvey feels regret for his personal weaknesses, but denies another accusation. In 1799, he was court-martialed for cowardice. He had left his assigned station at his gun in fear during a battle with the French, on February 5, 1799, when the thirty-six-gun French Frigate Insurgente was engaged and captured).

(As a result of being branded a coward and a traitor, Harvey suffered being stuck with a sword at the hands of Lieutenant Starrett. Wounded, but still alive, Harvey was then executed in the traditional brutal way,(used by both the British and Americans in this era). He was tied in front of a cannon and blown to bits, by order of Captain Thomas Truxtun himself).


People who cause others pain and sometimes death in cruel and vicious ways sometimes find that they are grounded in the place where they were so nasty, mean and brutal.

Comedy Store, CA (There is a nasty, negative, aggressive presence in the basement of the Comedy Store, still yearning to hurt someone. Now, all he can do is get his chuckles by scaring the living).

Joshua Ward House, MA (The spirit of the sadistic torturer, George Corwin, is stuck in the basement where he tortured those accused of witchcraft).

Irma Hotel, WY (Their guest from hell still hasn’t left. He was a murderous bully while alive, and finds himself stuck in the room where he dangled men out of the window. He wants to continue to hurt, but can only scare paranormal investigators).

Frigate USS Constellation and Swoop-of-War USS Constellation, MD (Among the spectral sailors who loved their work aboard, there are some nasty spirits who still yearn to hurt but can’t – just scare. Spirits who were cruel, mean, and perhaps murdered are among the spectral residents).


Spirits can attach themselves to favorite rooms, homes, possessions and even ship parts. They travel along with their favorite items.

Minneapolis Museum of Art, MN (Some spirits who enjoyed the parlor from the Foxhill Farmhouse, decided to attach themselves to the original wooden walls, and move with the carefully dismantled room, staying with it when it was reassembled in a display room).

The Dutton House, ME (When the Dutton House was carefully taken apart and moved to Shelbourne Structural Museum, and rebuilt carefully, the spirits who were attached to the rooms came along for the ride).

The Custer House, ND (After the Custer house was rebuilt from scratch using the original plans drawn up by Custer himself and their personal items were out on display, the Custer Family returned, and likes to visit often).

The Swoop-of-War USS Constellation Museum, MD (Some of the wood and other parts of the dismantled Frigate USS Constellation were used to build it. Parts of the old Captain’s Cabin were transferred to be part of the new Captain’s Cabin. The undamaged wood from the Frigate USS Constellation was also used for the Swoop-of-War USS Constitution’s structure. Spirits who were attached to the old ship parts came onboard the new 1854 sailing ship).


People who loved their work during their lives, often don’t want to stop, and decide to spend their afterlives continuing on with it as best they can.

Reading Fire Station, PA (A mover and shaker spectral Fire Chief continues to help out the living firemen).

Hotel Colorado, CO (The spirit of the first owner is still front and center, even correcting decor mistakes).

Bullock Hotel, SD (The spirit of Seth Bullock keeps a close eye on the staff and owners, who are numbskulls for setting up gaming machines. His duties are done in a progressive way with enthusiasm and vigor. Watch out!).

The Sloop-of-War USS Constellation Museum, MD (The spirit of Captain Truxtun is the spectral commander who leads the spirits of sailors still on duty and taking pleasure in remembering all of his ship’s accomplishments).


Spirits who were murdered are often restless, want justice, and their lives back, so they continue as if they were alive.

Kahler Grand, MN (The spirit of the Candy Heiress Helen Brach loves to enjoy her favorite hotel and the people who visit and work here. She tries to forget her painful, violent death, and to inspire the living to punish all of her killers).

Stones Public House, MA (The card shark who was killed and buried without a trace wants his story told, and his life back. He lets the living know that he is still there).

Lumber Baron Inn and Garden, CO (The spirits of two murdered young women, as well as all the other spectral residents, want the killer to be caught and punished).

The Sloop-of-War USS Constellation Museum, MD (An eleven-year-old boy who was the surgeon’s assistant aboard the Frigate USS Constellation in 1820-1822, was murdered by two other sailors with a knife in the cockpit of the orlop deck. It is not known if his murderers were caught. They may have thrown his body overboard and reported that he was lost at sea).



The following spirits are most active around midnight, especially between December 25th and New Year’s Day. The smell of gunpowder proceeds the physical manifestations.

The first sightings of these spirits started as soon as the USS Constellation was decommissioned and permanently docked in Baltimore in 1955.

Signs of the Spectral Crew

The crew on the Navy submarine, Pike, which was moored next to The USS Constellation Museum, saw the spectral sailor spirits still on duty as ghost lights, heard strange noises, and even saw apparitions walking/floating around its decks.

In an online 2017 article by Jennifer Franciotti that was posted on, Brian Auer, director of operations for USS Constellation Museum, stated “People walk by all hours of the day and night, and report seeing people walking around here on deck, people in the windows and gun ports.”

The living hear disembodied voices in areas of the ship where the living are not present.

The Spirit of Neil Harvey

Sometimes seen on the orlop deck, below the main deck.

He appears as a shimmering mass, as that is how he sees himself after being blown up.

He wants to be forgiven for being a coward.

He wasn’t a traitor, though, and wants to find a way to clear his name.

The Spirit of Captain Thomas Truxton

He probably is the apparition who is often seen in an old navy uniform, who makes consistent appearances on the forecastle deck.

He still loves his ship, even as a Sloop-of-War.

Lieutenant Commander Allen Ross Brougham, on board the Pike, took a picture of one entity of an 18th or 19th century officer that was described as having a “bluish white radiancy,” wearing an old-fashioned uniform, with gold stripes on his trousers, wearing a cocked hat and carrying a sword.

The Spirit of the Surgeon’s Assistant

The apparition of the boy has been seen where he was murdered, on the orlop deck.

He may like to play in areas around the ship.

He may be attracted to the children and youth who visit or participate in ship museum programs.

By the sailors’ hammocks, visitor saw the spirit of a boy with a slash all the way down his face.

He was able to tell medium Sybil Leek how he died, which may have given him some peace.

The Spirit of a Suicidal Sailor

This poor unfortunate soul had a mental break, and hung himself.

His spirit is stuck on the ship where he found his life to be unbearable.

He is described as a sad spirit who likes to float around and across the gun and forecastle decks.

The Spirit of Watchman Carl Hansen

He was the ship’s 20th century watchman, until 1965. He adored the ship, and had a strong emotional bond to it.

In his younger days, he was a Royal navy cook, making him an old sailor himself.

His spirit likes to play cards, and will cheerfully give tours to unsuspecting people.

On one memorable occasion he gave a tour to a priest who thought he was a real person.

At a Sea Scout Halloween Party, he once sat next to a young girl and smiled at her.


Staff and guests have experienced the full paranormal sports package, especially at night.

Paranormal groups, both private and television series, have investigated here, and no one left disappointed. Hans Holzer, famed parapsychologist, with the gifted psychic/medium, Sybil Leek, investigated The USS Constellation Museum, and indeed found spirits aboard. They found some spirits that they described as menacing, which shook them up a bit.

The full investigation can be reviewed in Holzer’s books: 1) Portal to the Past. 2) GHOSTS: True Encounters With the World Beyond.

Travel Channel’s Holzer Files: Phantom Crew (Season 1, Episode 8)

Team members: medium Cindy Kaza, leader Dave Schrader, and Shane Pittman reopen Hans Holzer’s investigation of the USS Constellation. Not only did they come across spectral sailors, but they also found out that some not-so-nice spirits are on a postmortem mission: finding “Jonahs,” (weaker people) to intimidate.



Yes Indeed.

A variety of spirits are keeping an eye on their ship, The USS Constellation. Some are making the best of it if they are stuck there. Others are working through what is making them restless, while still others are simply enjoying their fond memories.



USS Constellation
Pier 1, 301 East Pratt Street,
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

The USS Constellation Ship and Constellation Center Museum are located on Pier 1, in the Fort McHenry Shipyard, near the corner of Pratt Street and Holiday Street in Baltimore Harbor, in Maryland.




Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr


Haunts in Maryland