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Haunted Battleships of Buffalo ~ CNY Paranormal

Shadow Chasers

Buffalo Naval Park, located in Buffalo, NY, is notorious for their ghosts and hauntings. The Naval Park is home two three retired destroyers, the USS Croaker, USS The Sullivans, and USS Little Rock. All three ships are reported to be haunted, but it is the USS The Sullivans which has the most tragic history, and is reported to be the most haunted.

At first glance, the USS The Sullivans is a destroyer distinctive from most others of its era. The main deck and forward smoke stack are graced with a green insignia of a shamrock, as well as having the name of the boat written in green paint on the back of the boat. In addition, the name of the destroyer is distinctive. It is the only ship in the US navy to have a plural name.

The history of the Sullivans is one which is tragic, and had long-lasting consequences for the Navy, consequences which are still in effect today.

USS The Sullivans is named after the five Sullivan brothers, George, Albert, Madison, Joseph, and Francis. After the US entered World War II, all five brothers decided that they wanted to serve their country, with the specific request that they not be separated. All five brothers were stationed to the USS Juneau, which was torpedoed while returning to Pearl Harbor for repairs after the Battle of Guadalcanal. There were 700 sailors on the ship, only 10 of whom survived. Unfortunately, none of those survivors included the Sullivans.

All but George were killed immediately. George survived for a few days after the incident, floating out at sea with a hope of rescue becoming slimmer and slimmer. It is reported, most likely through legend than fact, that George searched every corpse he encountered, desperately searching for the bodies of his brothers.  Legend says that eventually George snapped, and decided to make an attempt to swim to shore, some 50 miles away. George never made it.

After the death of the Sullivans, a policy was put into place discouraging the placement of multiple siblings on the same ship. This policy was not always enforced, but the tragedy of the Sullivans drew attention to the need for policies to assist families in these situations.

Soon after the sinking of the USS Juneau, a ship already under construction was renamed the USS The Sullivans in honor of the five Sullivan brothers.

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When the USS The Sullivans was decommissioned in the 1960s, paranormal activity was observed on the ship. The mildest of this activity was batteries frequently dying on the ship, flickering lights, strange knocks, and ghostly voices.

One tour guide reported being below decks, and having a torso with a burned disfigured face approach him at a fast rate of speed. Another occurrence happened when a group was touring the ship after hours. The tour guide had turned off the power to the entire ship, but as the group toured the bridge, they observed the radar scanner turned on and functioning, even without power.

The most haunting occurrence on the ship revolves around a portrait of the five Sullivan brothers that hangs on the ship. It is reported that it is impossible to take a picture of this portrait. Every picture successfully taken has a mysterious mist that covers the face of George Sullivan. That’s if the batteries on the camera work long enough to take a picture.

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It is believed that the USS The Sullivans is haunted by the ghost of George Sullivan, consumed by guilt for not being able to rescue his brothers. George roams the ship, desperately seeking his brothers, just like he did in the days before his death.

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[Contributed by NY Shadow Chasers]

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