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My friend Duke is a huge bruiser who's built like a refrigerator, as he should be. You see, Duke is a veteran. He's a fearless guy who has seen his fair share of battle during his time in the Army, and truth be told, I have never actually seen him look the least bit shaken.
That being said, there was one time when I saw him look terrified—and it was when we were sitting around a campfire talking about paranormal things we saw. Duke, the big bear that he is, suddenly turned pale and started to shake.
He told us that he "saw something" staring at him back when he was stationed in Germany. He believes strongly that what he saw was the ghost of a deceased Nazi, and scarily enough, he's not the only one that has a story like it, either.
If you look online, you can find plenty of military encounters with ghosts that have some particularly notorious stories spanning back centuries. If you're looking for a chill or a thrill, these terrifying true tales will have you running back to your sergeant faster than you can say "OOH-RAH!"
The Alamo's Cleanup Guards
One of the first documented military encounters with ghosts happened in 1836, when General Juan Jose Andrade sent a party of men to burn the bodies of the fallen soldiers at the Alamo. Just as the orders stated, the war party headed towards the Alamo to prepare to clean up the deceased.
Within hours, they returned looking pale and shaken. The party refused to go near the Alamo again, claiming that it was "guarded by six devils." Since then, the Alamo has held a reputation for being haunted by the men who died there.
Since the incident with General Andrade, people who visited the Alamo have claimed to see boys dressed in period clothing, walking along with tour groups before vanishing, as well as hearing disembodied hoofs hitting the ground.
If you take note of certain apparitions, this may also be the scene of multiple suicides. People also claim to see a man and a young boy jump off the Alamo's mission—falling to their death right before they dissolve into thin air.
One of the more bizarre ghosts is the Alamo Sentry, which involves footsteps being heard on the rooftop of the sentry's spot. This sounds pretty normal, until you realize that the roof itself was only made walkable in recent years. Could it be a ghost that decided to take a new sentry position in the afterlife, or is it just a slice of imagination?
The Jefferson Barracks Badass
Missouri's Jefferson Barracks might be one of the most haunted military bases in the United States to still remain in use. It makes sense, considering that it's been a military hospital, a graveyard, and also a military staging area.
The most famous ghost of all is the specter of a guard who was shot in the head during a munitions raid. The guard is known for being very aggressive, if not downright hostile, with soldiers who are spending time guarding the barracks.
In most cases, he's seen challenging men to a fight—despite the fact that he clearly has a bullet in his head! Rumor has it that some soldiers have left their post simply because they were so disturbed by seeing a dead man challenge them.
However, the Jefferson Barracks Badass (as I'll call him) is far from the only ghostly soldier that calls this barracks home. Many Civil War soldiers seem to relive their last days here.
Most know that the jail cells are haunted due to the disembodied voices, shadow people, and floating apparitions that are seen here on a regular basis. But that's not the only place where Civil War personnel remain active. People have also spotted a general from the Civil War giving orders inside one of the offices!
Soldiers See the Many Ghosts of Okinawa
World War II was one of the most horrific wars in world history, and one of the main settings of battle was in Okinawa, Japan. Multiple military bases exist in the area, and it seems like all of them have tales reminiscent of allegedly haunted military bases.
The area is so haunted, American troops started to throw ghost tours on bases around the time of Halloween. Many people believe that Gate 3 in Camp Hansen is haunted by a World War II soldier who didn't make it through.
Soldiers who have had to guard the gate claim to see a man walk towards them, bloodied and bandaged, then disappear after trying to speak to them. So many men have refused to guard that location, Gate 3 eventually had to be closed down due to a lack of willing personnel.
Building 2283 of Okinawa's Kadena Air Force base still remains one of the most reputedly haunted buildings in the region, despite it being demolished.
After a servicemen snapped and killed his entire family there during the 1970s, anyone who spent the night there seemed to have difficulties. The next family who moved in all died in a similar manner, leading people to believe the building was cursed.
People who tried to tear down Building 2283 all fell ill, claimed to see a ghostly woman washing her hair in a nonfunctional sink, and felt a serious unease while nearby. Thankfully, that building is long gone.
At the daycare next door to Building 2283, teachers still complain of kids tossing toys over the fence because "the children on the other side ask them to."
One World War I veteran by the name of Will Bird wrote his memoir of "the Great War" in a book called Ghosts Have Warm Hands. In this book about WWI that will make you think, he talked about the many strange sights that military personnel saw while on the battlefield—many of which had a paranormal twist to them.
Bird himself was helped by the ghost of his brother, who died only two years prior. He woke up to see his brother looking over him smiling. He described the encounter this way:
"Steve grinned as he released my hands, then put his warm hand over my mouth as I started to shout my happiness."
Steve then told his brother to get his gear and follow him. Will followed him, only to see the place where he napped get blown to smithereens by enemy fire. Steve, despite being dead, saved his brother.
Gus Quarters and the Natives of F.E. Warren's Air Force Base
If you listen to local legends and lore, the Air Force personnel who are stationed at Cheyenne's F.E. Warren Air Force Base really have a lot of paranormal activity to deal with.
The AFB in question was started on seriously tragic circumstances. Before the military base was established, this area was the scene of a massive massacre of Native American tribes. It didn't quite end there though.
The nearby Fort D.A. Russell was actually established to protect railroad workers from the tribes—and quickly became known for eradicating Crow Creek Indians in brutal ways. Soon enough, there were no tribespeople anywhere near the fort.
Surprisingly, it's not the Native Americans who haunt the base. Legend has it that it was the troops that are left here today due to the sheer amount of cruelty they unleashed on the Native Americans. Many military personnel have claimed to see soldiers in period clothing standing guard outside the fort, still waiting for Crow Creek Indians to arrive.
One soldier in particular seems to be very well known for sticking around. His name is Gus Quarters, and he might just be the original "jody" of military lore. After being caught in bed with an officer's wife, he jumped out the window and died on his way down.
Ever since then, F.E. Warren Air Force Base residents have claimed to see unseen hands open up cabinets, as well as hearing footsteps running up and down hallways. Word has it that Gus Quarters might be making himself at home!
The Bitburg School's Ghost Nazis
Considering that this is a list of military encounters with ghosts, you're probably wondering what a haunted school in Germany is doing on this list. This school isn't like others; it's on Bitburg Air Base.
Well, it just so happens that it's an American school for children of service members. The school is also taught by military servicemen, which means that people who see ghosts here definitely have military connections.
Back before Bitburg became a United States military base, it was a Nazi military zone. As you can imagine, there's some seriously evil residue left over from the World War II years, lurking around every corner. Much of it is found at Bitburg's middle school.
Lights are constantly seen flickering on and off through the building. At night, the sounds of people screaming at the top of their lungs is often reported by people who stand guard nearby. One can only imagine what these souls must have seen in their lifetimes!
Helmand's Observation Point Rock
In Helmand, Observation Point Rock is often considered to be cursed by locals. During the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, the Rock was the site where Russian soldiers were executed by Afghani mujahideen.
Since then, the 2/8 Marines in Helmand have claimed to hear voices speaking in Russian. When the Marines went closer to the Observation Point Rock, they realized that there were no Russians to be seen in the area.
One Lance Corporal had this to say about the Rock:
"This place really sucks. The Afghans say it’s haunted. Stick a shovel in anywhere and you’ll find bones and bits of pottery. This place should be in National Geographic — in the front there are weird-looking windows for shooting arrows. You know, they say the Russians up here were executed by the Mujahidin."—Austin Hoyt, Mysterious Universe
Along with Russians speaking to one another in the afterlife, guards who are stationed in the area often find themselves dealing with disembodied sounds of people crying, phantasmal gunfire, a ghostly little girl, and lights that seem to float by without any discernible cause.
Evil Spirits Claiming the Enemy
It's often said that the area of Afghanistan might have some of the worst hauntings in the world, and that many of those hauntings take a more demonic form. While stationed at an air base in Mosul, a man by the name of Jerry Aberdeen definitely saw something that confirms those rumors.
According to Aberdeen, military personnel spotted a hostile group of people charging towards the base, trying to climb up the walls of the station. All hands were called to help defend the base, and subsequently opened fire. The men went down, but one guy in particular had something strange happen to him as he fell.
Aberdeen explained the episode in his own words:
"Right after he fell there was stream of black smoke coming out of him. The engineer made that comment that he must have been wearing a suicide vest and it malfunctioned. A few seconds later the black smoke grew larger and started to take a human looking form.
What happened next all three of us saw and there was no doubt. The now fully materialized black smoke was standing upright and now had red smoky glowing eyes and a weird looking mouth. The damn thing actually smiled at us and turned to, sort of run but it just dissipated after it took a few steps."—Jerry Aberdeen, Mysterious Universe
The jury is still out as to what Aberdeen saw. Was it a ghost? Was it a demon that possessed the man and made him attack the troops? Or, was it the legendary djinn that locals believe haunt the area?
The Many Haunts of the USS North Carolina
During World War II, the USS North Carolina was the ship that absolutely refused to be sunk by the enemy. It was an American pride and joy, and saw more than its fair share of battle. Due to the brutality of the war itself, not all of its crew members survived—even though the ship did.
Only 10 documented fatalities happened on the Carolina, but that doesn't mean it's without haunts. Servicemen stationed on the ship afterwards regularly spotted a young, blond man wearing World War II-era uniform going about his day to day business.
At night, people claimed to see shadow people flitting from room to room. So, who were these unfortunate souls, and why does it seem like they don't want to leave the ship?
The Ghost Planes of World War II
Everything you need to know before joining the Air Force might not be enough to prepare you for this. World War II saw some of the most vicious air fights in the history of the world. Bombs were dropped on major cities by planes, and at times, dogfights would change the fates of entire towns and villages. When peace prevailed, things seemed to die down a bit.
However, that didn't mean that soldiers were done fighting. Multiple eyewitness accounts from both civilians and soldiers alike detail strange military encounters with ghosts from the war—the most commonly cited experiences being ghost planes.
For years after the war ended, people would claim to see Nazi planes and Allied planes flying in the sky. In Pearl Harbor, servicemen would regularly hide after seeing Japanese planes hover over the docks, only to vanish into thin air.
The skies throughout Europe were no different. Military airmen would even call in to alert authorities to the sight of ghostly World War II planes that floated through the air, riddled with bullets. In one town, air raid sirens from disconnected speakers would still ring on a regular basis.
Eventually, the sightings stopped. Hopefully, the spirits that drove those ghostly planes were finally able to find the peace they so desperately wanted in real life.