The Star of India was built back in 1863, originally christened as the Euterpe. On her first voyage to India, the iron windjammer suffered a collision and her crew mutinied. On this voyage, the ship got caught in a cyclone and its captain died at sea. This wasn't the only tragedy on the Euterpe, another of the ship's captains committed suicide in 1875 by slashing his own throat. In 1884, one seaman touching up paint drowned in the Thames. And then, a young stowaway turned crewman, named John Campbell, fell over 100 feet from the mast lines to the deck.
The Euterpe was sold to American owners in 1898 and commenced a regular route between Oakland and Alaska. In 1906, her new owners rechristened the ship the Star of India. The ship fell into disrepair over the years until a restoration effort began in the 1950's. Fully restored by 1976, the Star sails at least once a year with a fully trained volunteer crew, making her the oldest active ship in the world.
While the history of the ship makes it a landmark for San Diego, the paranormal experiences on the ship make it a landmark for investigators. Supernatural encounters include feeling the presences of former crewman; or smelling freshly baked bread in the ship's galley, which is no longer functional. Teacups and other objects in the captain's cabin move without explanation. And in the bowels of the ship, people report feelings of intense dread and sadness so overwhelming that they have to leave.
Across the port from the Star of India rests the Berkeley, the 1898 steam ferryboat that is a National Historic Landmark. During the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Berkeley carried thousands of survivors to safety. Her captain and crew, not knowing the fate of their own families, worked night and day to help victims escape the burning shores of San Francisco. Their unwavering and unselfish efforts saved countless lives.
In the early part of the 20th century, mining was still a vital component of the northern California landscape. You could buy mining supplies at any store, and pure nitroglycerin was available at any chemist's shop. Which is why it wasn't a total surprise when one day, a massive explosion blew out the entire side of Berkeley. It is believed that a man in the bathroom either deliberately killed himself, or accidentally set off a vial of nitroglycerin.
On the passenger deck, incredibly heavy footsteps are heard traveling down the deck in 15-foot strides. And the sounds of a loud party are heard on an empty deck formely used for parties. An ominous presence has been felt in the engine and boiler rooms.
Most peculiar, is a full-bodied apparition of a man wearing a trench coat standing in a doorway. He has been nicknamed the Fedora Man, and it is believed that he appears in several photographs taken on the party deck.
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It seems something is trying to get Steve and Jason running around the house!
Check out the introduction to Britt's Gear Guide as he takes you on a tour of the TAPS gear room.