The Ghost Ship of New Haven

February, 2009 by Ray Bendici
Filed Under: 

350px-ghost_ship_133The Damned Story: In 1646, to help boost the trade standing of the young colony of New Haven, a group of prominent merchants banded together to have a mega-ship built. The idea was that the bigger the vessel, the more goods and products that could be shipped in one shot, and therefore, the more money that could be made. Simple economics, right?

Unfortunately, they were to learn the law of diminishing returns the hard way.

The trouble started when they first tried to launch the ship, which it turns out was frozen in ice dockside. Then, once they managed to get it free of the ice and out into the open waters of Long Island Sound for its maiden voyage, it listed to one side as it sailed.

Despite the problems, the giant ship was sent forth, laden with cargo for trade and the financial hopes of the New Haven colony. And with so much riding on the trip, the local folk were anxious for news of the journey's success. They waited for weeks, and then months, without any word.

Finally, on a humid June day after a terrific storm struck New Haven, the ship was spotted sailing back into the harbor . . . unfortunately, it was up among the clouds! Obviously, it became quickly apparent to those gathered that it wasn't the actual ship, but a specter of the one they had sent forth. They watched in amazement and wonder as the apparition started to come apart and dissipate before their eyes, as if caught in a vicious storm. After it finally disappeared from sight, the settlers of the New Haven colony decided the real ship had sunk, and thus declared it lost.

Advertisement

Still, over the years, there were multiple sightings of the lost ship in the clouds. And to this day, there are those who believe it can be seen after a thunderous gale, doomed to replay its tragic demise forever.

To read a more detailed version of the ghost ship's story, we recommend Legendary Connecticut.

Our Damned Experience: We have yet to see the ghost ship, but we'll stay on the watch, matey!

If You Go: New Haven harbor is visible from numerous spots, although our favorite is Lighthouse Point.

View Lighthouse Point Park in a larger map

Comment with Facebook

Comments

Submitted by Dom (not verified) on
As a student of a local university down near this area, I have spent a number of nights not far from where they are claiming they have seen the following "ghost ship". I am not meaning to deny it, but again I have yet to see this urban myth. Even during the summer and winter months you can see fog rising up from the water, but nothing in the solid shape of a ship.

Submitted by Christine S. (not verified) on
I have been there around midnight with 3 friends and although I did not see the ghost ship we all heard little kids laughing and playing at the carousel and the music playing from the carousel. There was no one else in the park at the time. It is best to go during spring or fall to hear it because in the summer time you have people that rent the park out at night or just people hanging out. Also another great place to visit that is not to far from Lighthouse Park is Fort Nathan Hale where the battles took place. They have recently closed the forts so you are unable to get into them but you can still see in the jail. There are many forts that are buried there and it is an interesting place to visit. Enjoy

Submitted by Christine S. (not verified) on
I have been there around midnight some friends and although I did not see the ghost ship we all heard little kids laughing and playing at the carousel and the music playing from the carousel. There was no one else in the park at the time. It is best to go during spring or fall to hear it because in the summer time you have people that rent the park out at night or just people hanging out. Also another great place to visit that is not to far from Lighthouse Park is Fort Nathan Hale where the battles took place. They have recently closed the forts so you are unable to get into them but you can still see in the jail. There are many forts that are buried there and it is an interesting place to visit. Enjoy

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
Myself and a friend saw the ghost ship at the wharf in New Haven many years ago. we were driving on the highway when we saw it. got off and drove over to the wharf for a closer look, by the time we got there it was gone.

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on
These waters in Long Island sound at the time, 1646 were infested with pirates, my hunch is that maybe that was the case of its demise. The water being frozen should have told them something also. The forts at Fort Hale I believe maybe haunted though, I've been there many times and I always get a strange feeling when I look inside the old bunkers. Great place to spend the day at and learn some American history at the same time.