Docked within the Weymouth Fore River is one of the last remnants of the old Fore River Shipyard owned and operated by General Dynamics. The USS Salem (CA-139) was one of three heavy cruisers built for the U.S. Navy and is currently the only surviving example of that class of ship anywhere in the world. Like all museum ships, the Salem carries a unique story about its service and preservation. However, it also has a reputation only a handful of other preserved vessels have; allegations of paranormal activity and reportedly being haunted.
The Salem was commissioned in 1949 with construction taking place during the latter years of the Second World War. The Salem spent much of her career in the Mediterranean around Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East conducting training exercises with other NATO countries and allies. The ship played a significant role in providing relief aid during the 1943 Ionian Earthquake in Greece and being the flagship of the U.S. 6th Fleet during the 1956 Suez Crisis, the 1957 Jordanian coup attempt, and the Lebanon Crisis of 1958. The ship was decommissioned in 1959 and kept as part of the reserve fleet. In 1981 she was surveyed for possible reactivation as part of President Reagan’s 600-ship Navy plan but funding was not able to be secured from Congress and the Salem was struck from the Naval Register in 1991.
In 1994, she was returned to Quincy to begin a new life as a museum ship and it is here rumors and stories began to emerge of paranormal phenomena. One such ghost reported by visitors is “the Burning Man” thought to be one of the victims of the Ionian Earthquake who succumbed to severe burns while being treated on the ship. Another reported apparition is of a young girl with severe facial injuries who only speaks Greek.
Other alleged supernatural encounters include a ghostly cook who still maintains the kitchen area, a tour guide still performing his duties in the afterlife, vicious hellhounds roaming the halls at night, and poltergeists that become aggressive if you disrespect the ship. The reputation of the ship being possibly haunted has drawn quite a bit of media attention and seems to aptly live up to its nickname of “The Sea Witch.”
Whether you’re interested in seeing a historic U.S. Navy vessel or would like to possibly experience something otherworldly, the Salem is certain to offer something to all who visit and her story will continue to endure for many more years to come.
Know Before You Go
The museum is currently open on the weekends 10am-4pm from April to November and also on Fridays during July and August.