The ghosts of Pearl Harbor

On December 8, 2010, in Ghosts & Hauntings, by James

It was December 7, 1941. For many Americans the world was about to change and the date would remain fixed in the national consciousness.

At 7:48 a.m the Japanese airforce launched its surprise attack on the US Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Within a few hours 2,402 US personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded.

Ford Island NAS

The place that suffered the highest casualties was Ford Island Naval Air Station because of the battleship moorings surrounding the island.

This attack prompted the US to enter the Second World War.

Ford Island is now home to a number of residents and tourists are able to visit the island to tour the USS Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

From just after the war until now, these residents and tourists have reported strange things from the island.

Many have made reports of disembodied voices in their homes. Some report unexplained footsteps coming from empty rooms. Others have reported objects moving around and being stacked in corners.

Other phenomena include lights and appliances which turn on and off by themselves, ghostly apparitions and strange feelings of sadness and dread.

Hickam Air Force Base (Ford Island)

On the site of the Hickam Air Force Base sits a building – the Pacaf HQ. This building still has bullet holes in the walls from the attack.

Inside the buildings a number of soldiers were killed and injured.

It is said that people who go there in quiet times can hear the moaning of the dying soldiers and sometimes even the sounds of war.

These have been some reports of people seeing the ghosts of dead soldiers wandering the corridors – still dressed in their fatigues.

Doors have been known to open and close without explanation and lights and appliances turn on and off without anyone being near.


One famous ghost named Charley is reportedly seen quite frequently by personnel attached to the military base.

Charley sightings peaked during the 1980′s when people heard ghostly footsteps, jangling keys, faucets that opened and closed themselves and heavy doors swining, despite there being no wind.

The command historian at the time, Lea Arakaki, documented the strange events in her histories.

One entry read: Security forces didn’t like walking the halls at nights because they were “nervous about ghosts wandering around.”

Lea also discovered that there was indeed a soldier at the time named ‘Charley’.

These days if something strange or unexplained happens, the personnel just say:

“That’s just Charley.”

Wasp Blvd North

One of the most widely reported ghostly occurrences are the “fog-like” apparitions that are seen walking on the north side of the island, believed to be the ghosts of sailors who perished in the attack of Pearl Harbor.

These apparitions float through the houses and are often accompanied with a strange odor.

P-40 Ghost pilot

Exactly one year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, radar picked up a plane flying towards Pearl Harbor from the direction of Japan.

A squadron was dispatched to intercpet the intruder, but when they arrived at the spot, they saw something odd.

They saw an American P-40 plane complete with correct markings, bullet holes in the fuselage and the landing gear sheared off.

They described the pilot as bloodstained and slumped over. He looked up at the squadron, smiled and waved at them.

The plane abruptly descended and seemed to crash on the ground below.

Ground crews were quickly sent to the site and wreckage was discovered … but the body of the pilot was never found.

Haunted Guard shack

Inside Hickam AFB there is a guard shack. During the attack, the guard stationed at the guard shack was killed.

Today people travelling past at night say that they can see the ghost of the guard, dressed in the correct uniform standing guard.

Haunted K-9 kennel

At the end of HAFB, across from the golf course is the K-9 kennels. The kennel office is located inside an old bunker dating back to the attack.

K-9 officers often hear strange, muffled voices coming from on top of the bunker.

Despite checking their radios and searching the remote area, nothing and no-one is seen. Yet the ghostly voices continue.

Haunted USS Arizona

The USS Arizona is perhaps the most famous ship that was sunk at Pearl Harbor. After the war, the sunken hull became a national monument.

Only a few bits of the ship remain above water now, but below the surface the hull remains which still contains the remains of the sailors who lost their lives.

One strange thing about the wreck is that after all the decades since it sunk, it still leaks oil from the hull. Where does this oil come from? Some believe that it is the ship weeping for the lives lost.

On the morning of December 7th, 1941, the officer of the deck wasn’t at his post due to personal reasons. While he was away, the Japanese began their attack, and the officer died in the blast.

The guilt-stricken officer is believed to haunt the ship, walking the deck at low tide and looking out at the water near the flagpole.

Schofield Barracks

J Quad Building 846 is said to be particularly haunted.

At night mumbling voices and muffled laughter can often be heard. On investigation, the cause of the sounds can not be found.

Some people have also reported feeling something tugging at their blankets, but when they look, no-one is there.

One thing is certain – the ghost of the attack of Pearl Harbor will continue to haunt the American psyche, with or without the help of the paranormal.

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