Thursday, December 10, 2020

HGB Ep. 363 - USS North Carolina

Moment in Oddity - Bluetooth Named for Scandinavian King (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Many of you probably have some form of Bluetooth technology in your possession. This could be your Bluetooth toothbrush or Bluetooth speakers or maybe you are listening to us through your Bluetooth headphones or your phone connected to your car through Bluetooth. Did you ever wonder why it is called Bluetooth? Would you believe that the answer is a 10th-century Scandinavian king named Harald "Blåtand" Gormsson? He ruled Denmark and Norway from the year 958 until 985. The Blatand part of his name was a nickname. It seems the king had a dead tooth that had turned a grey blue color. Everyone could see this tooth and so they started calling him Blåtand, which literally translates from Danish to "Bluetooth." Three telecommunication powerhouses got together in 1996 to develop a wireless link. These were Intel, Ericsson and Nokia. They needed a code name for the project and they chose Bluetooth because the king had united Scandinavia, just as this team was going to unite PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link. When it came time to choose a permanent name, the team found that their first choice had been trademarked several times and since time was running out, they just went with what they had. The logo and symbol is King Blåtand's initials written in ancient Danish runes. Bluetooth being named for a Scandinavian king with an actual Bluetooth, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Project Blue Book Shut Down

In the month of December, on the 17th, in 1969, the U.S. Air Force shut down Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book was the third study conducted into the possible existence of unidentified flying objects. Signs and Grudge were the first two and were conducted in the 1940s. Project Blue Book launched in 1952. Thousands of UFO reports were collected and analyzed as to whether they existed and were they a threat to our national security. The Air Force concluded that there was no evidence that UFO sightings were extraterrestrial vehicles and they were also no threat. Most UFOs were said to be natural phenomena. The name Project Blue Book was meant to indicate the importance given to the new project. Universities used blue booklets for their tests. This was like a college final exam. We'd say the Air Force failed in their analysis.

USS North Carolina

The USS North Carolina was a battleship commissioned in 1941 that participated in every major naval battle in the Pacific during World War II. During that time, the battleship had several men die on board and was struck by a Japanese torpedo. The battleship earned 15 battle stars for its efforts. The battleship is today a floating museum that hosts both historical tours and ghost tours. We had the privilege of doing an overnight investigation with not only six of our listeners, but also four of the Ghost Hunters from the newer Ghost Hunters Series. On this episode, we share the history and the results of our investigation of the USS North Carolina!

This USS North Carolina was not the only and not the first ship to be named for the state of North Carolina. But she was the most decorated one. She was actually the most decorated battleship of World War II. USS North Carolina was first known as BB 55 and her keel was laid on October 27th in 1937 at the New York Navy Yard. It had been sixteen years since America had built a battleship and this would be a grand one measuring 728 feet long with enough weaponry to be considered the world's greatest sea weapon. The ship was armed with nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts. The ship had nine levels. She was one of a line of fast battleships that would be built. The North Carolina was commissioned on April 9, 1941 and she was mobilized after the attack on Pearl Harbor with 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men that included 86 Marines.

The ship's first action would come after she was sent to the Pacific to help with the Guadalcanal Campaign. Her anti-aircraft barrage during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in August of 1942, helped save the carrier Enterprise. George E. Conlon was killed while performing heroically during this battle on August 24, 1942. He was the first man from the battleship to die. Protecting aircraft carriers would become the North Carolina's main duty. As she traveled along with these carriers, she covered 300,000 miles. She would take a hit by a Japanese torpedo on September 15, 1942, but the rumors of her demise were greatly exaggerated as they say. Five men died. These were Albert Speers Geary who was washed overboard, Oscar Callaway Stone, Ingwald Nels Nelson, William Osborne Skelton and Leonard Edward Pone. The battleship would have many close calls and lose ten men in action, with 67 wounded. A friendly fire incident on April 6, 1945 killed Edward Emil Brenn, John Malcolm Watson and Carl Elmer Karam Jr.

The North Carolina helped to secure the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in 1944. She stopped for repairs and then was off to the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Later, when Japan surrendered, she carried men to serve as an occupation force and then made her way back through the Panama Canal to New York for an overhaul. The ship did training exercises on the East Coast after that and was decommissioned June 27, 1947 and placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey, for the next 14 years. After that time, there was talk of scrapping her out, but the residents of North Carolina would not hear of it  and they started the Save Our Ship (SOS) campaign. It was successful and they brought the battleship home October 2, 1961.  She was dedicated on April 29, 1962 as the State’s memorial to its World War II veterans and the 11,000 North Carolinians who died during the war. She serves as a museum now offering tours, some of which are about ghosts. And that is what we went to investigate.

Danny Bradshaw started as a night watchman on the battleship in 1976. He was positive that he shared his space with ghosts. He saw his first spirit shortly after starting as watchman. He was making his rounds one night and found himself in the kitchen. He reached for the power box to turn on the lights when he felt a cold gust of air and then what seemed to be a hand on his shoulder. He spun around and no one was there. He heard footsteps and flashed his flashlight in that direction. He again saw nothing, but started scanning the room with the flashlight. When he reached the open hatch, ha saw a sailor standing there with hair so fair it looked white. The flashlight passed right through him. Bradshaw screamed and the ghost disappeared. This was the scariest moment of Bradshaw's life. Bradshaw came to believe that there were at least two spirits on the ship, one that was good and one that was bad. 

This blonde haired young man has been seen many times. People claim that hatches open and close on their own. Lights turn off and on by themselves. Objects move on their own and people feel cold spots. Occasionally, a ghostly face is seen peering out of portholes. There are two security guards that take turns living on the ship. One of them told us about some of the experiences people have had on the ship. His first story was about a group who was allowed to investigate an off-limits area that had been where the torpedo hit the ship during the War. A women in the group started shaking horribly like one would with an intense chill. It only went away after they got her out of that area. It happened to her again in another part of the ship. Then he shared the following experience he had. (Battleship Experience) So he had trouble with the spirits unlocking the doors on him after he would set the alarms.

Our first area that we investigated was down several levels, we lost count, and was in an area with lots of large shells. We thought we heard footsteps above us. (Battleship Torpedo Area 1) Whitney mentions feeling like someone was walking around in this upper area that overlooked where we were. Now it's easy to poo poo someone's feelings, but later when Dolly, Kelly and Diane were standing up there with Brian and Richel after everybody had left the area, the box they use that senses everything was going crazy and whatever was setting it off was clearly moving around. We thought maybe it was residual. (Battleship Torpedo Area 2)

This would be the first time our team would use the Estes Method and Dolly, Kelly and Diane all gave it a try. First, we just want to mention how cool Richel and Brian were. They were unassuming and open to letting us try things. (Richel Estes) Here is Dolly's session. (Dolly Estes) So you heard Brian ask for a name and Dolly says "Fitz" and then Brian asks if that is for Fitzgerald and Dolly says "No." A listener named Jimmy was watching the Facebook Live and let us know that there was a "Fritz" on the crew list. Another person asked if it felt good to hear a woman's voice and Dolly says "back" and then "yes." Towards the end you hear Dolly say "hey" a couple times or "hey" and then "wait." A couple people from our group had wandered over to where the big guns on the ship were located and it was like this sailor we were talking to was telling them they they shouldn't be over there. Dolly can see nothing. When we ask if they aren't supposed to be over there, she says "No" and then "back." Diane gives it a try. (Diane Estes)

We next investigated the Officer's Mess Hall, which Whitney told us was not actually used for that, but rather for training and Catholic Mass was held there. Whitney tried the Estes Method in this room and she got nothing. At another point we ended up in a corner near Sick Bay and Kelly and Tiffanie felt really dizzy as though the ship moved, but the ship was sitting in mud because it needed repairs from the hurricane that had blown threw earlier in the month. This interesting thing happened (Points to Dolly) Our group had a chance to do a dowsing session in the Sick Bay (Sick Bay) We seemed to be talking to someone who had an injury to their stomach. The next morning Diane was talking to Whitney about this and she remembered reading something in the oral histories. Cornelius Fountano was a stewards mate second class and he had an appendicitis attack and they had to do surgery to remove the appendix. Could this be who we were talking to?

One would think that with many women in our group that the guys on board would be very happy, but we really got the feeling that we were not welcome and our best interactions came when Dan would ask questions. This was an interaction with the dowsing rods up on the main deck (Not Welcome) And here is how things changed with Dan jumping in (Radar Dan) We went to another area and our interactions led us to believe we were talking to a Japanese Cryptographer. But the answers were slow in coming and we were all feeling pretty drained as the 2am hour loomed. Our group decided to pack it in and head back to the central meeting area.

We had a great time meeting the Ghost Hunters in person and hanging out with some of our Spooky Crew. We are learning so much about the other side and having a lot of fun. We can't wait for our next investigation! Is the USS North Carolina haunted? That is for you to decide!

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