Pacific Paranormal Investigations conducted its first investigation of the Star in August 2007 and has since launched two more thorough follow-up inquiries to debunk and analyze a host of perplexing evidence, some of which is thought to be potentially paranormal....
Adelante (The Magazine For the Congress Of History Of San Diego and Imperial Counties) October 2008.
The Euterpe Times (Monthly Newsletter Of the Sail Crew Of the Maritime Museum Of San Diego) 3.34 (October 2008).
Note: published credit attributed in error to former PPI member Brian Johnson
The Star of India prides itself as the oldest active ship in the world; however, it launched in 1863 as the Euterpe (the Greek goddess of music). Considered an experiment of sorts in iron shipbuilding, the Star Of India sailed on a route spanning England to New Zealand until 1923; several years later, it was towed to San Diego. Though still seaworthy, it is primarily a permanently docked maritime museum. Crewmembers who have worked aboard the Star for decades confirm the earliest reports of activity on the ship that predate its transition to a museum. Cold spots, disembodied footsteps, apparitions, and anomalous sensory experiences point to several tragedies that occurred on the Star during its working years.
In 1884, John Campbell, a teenaged stowaway, was discovered and forced to work. However, while working on the rigging he fell 100 feet to the deck, crushing both legs; three days later, he perished from his injuries and was buried at sea. Considered one of the more playful spirits haunting the ship, workers and visitors occasionally report feeling his cold but gentle grasp near the area of the deck where he fell. Another tragedy that befell the Star involved a Chinese crewmember whose screams went unheard as topside crewman slowly crushed him to death while lowering the chain on top of him. While no activity specific to this mishap has been reported, general activity is often reported in the ‘Tween Deck sections where emigrant families lived during their months of transport. Yet another important, but unsubstantiated, bit of folklore involves the crew of the Star taking on board a captain who did not go down with his sinking ship and who consequently slit his own throat. Despite attempts by the ship’s surgeon to rescue him, the distraught captain pulled out his stitches three days later and died in the First Mate’s Cabin. The location has since become one of the most paranormally active spots on the ship, where some employees refuse to enter and where even investigators have accumulated a wealth of evidence of potential paranormal origin.
Pacific Paranormal Investigations conducted its first investigation of the Star in August 2007 and has since launched two more thorough follow-up inquiries to debunk and analyze a host of perplexing evidence, some of which is thought to be potentially paranormal. The San Diego based Pacific Paranormal Investigations (PPI) began in 2005 as a not-for-profit organization of investigators and researchers who, honoring the scientific method, seek to help those concerned or curious about their experiences with paranormal activity. Using an arsenal of commonly found but specialized equipment, PPI investigators recorded video and audio evidence, environmental data and personal experiences that lead them to believe that there is paranormal activity occurring on board the ship. Equally important are the controls they place on the evidence-gathering to help maintain the integrity of their evidence. For example, during the course of their first investigation, PPI realized that outside noises were a serious concern for evidence contamination, so they modified their investigative procedures by isolating the ship from the outside environment, including light-proofing portholes and controlling the number of teams on board to track the whereabouts of anomalous sounds during the night.
Following an investigation, the group commits its resources to an in-depth period of evidence analysis, during which time compelling video and electronic voice phenomena may be routed out and subjected to further debate before being revealed. In the case of the Star of India investigation, analysis of both video and audio evidence yielded some important enigmas that drew PPI back to the Star for subsequent investigations. Class A EVPs, loud anomalous bangs and footsteps, inexplicable EMF variations, sudden static electric charges while the ship’s power was turned off, and a host of personal experiences that could not be adequately explained but which nonetheless rattled some of PPIs more experienced investigators. Since that first investigation, follow-up investigations have led PPI to debunk or otherwise provide alternative explanations of some of these claims. Although some of the Star Of India’s rich paranormal folklore may have been demystified, the ship’s enduring mystique continues to draw them back with even greater curiosity. If you are curious about PPI’s services, please visit them at www.pacificparanormal.org.
Whether for its paranormal background or its rich maritime history, the Star of India Maritime Museum deserves the attention and support of the public. Jim Davis, Events General Manager and First Mate on board the Star of India, graciously accommodated PPI to make their investigations possible, smoothly running and successful. Davis’s work is paramount in keep the Star of India open and available to the public as the important artifact of maritime history that it is, as well as one of San Diego’s defining landmarks. For more information, please contact him at [...], and please donate a contribution of time or money at the museum’s official website to keep the San Diego Maritime Museum afloat: www.sdmaritime.com.