Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

Stephanie Schoppert - September 7, 2017

World War II left scars all over the planet and those scars continue to shape the world today. The tremendous loss of life can still be felt on battlegrounds, in hospitals and in the towns and cities where so many fought till the very end. For some, the war seems to rage on as spectral figures dressed in their same uniforms have been haunting the places where they died or the places that hold special importance. Many of these stories remain unproven or unexplained, but for those who have seen these ghosts or felt their presence, their existence is very real.

SS Alkimos

The SS Alkimos has been known as a cursed ship from its very beginning. The ship got its start during World War II when ships were being pushed through the production line at a staggering pace. Being built in just ten days on the production line meant that corners were cut and the ship was ramshackle from the start. There were even rumors that the ship was completed so quickly that welders were actually sealed into the hull where they slowly died. Dead welders were only some of the rumors of accidents and deaths that plagued the short construction of the SS Alkimos.

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

The S.S. Alkimos when it was in service.

Once it was put out to sea, its cursed reputation only continued. It was originally under the name of George. M Shriver before being changed to the Viggo Hansteen. From the moment, it was put into service on October 11, 1943, it was plagued with technical difficulties. The ship would often break down. In August of 1944, the ship’s deadly history got another chapter when a brutal murder-suicide took place. The ship was at port in Naples when a crew member shot and killed a female Canadian radio operator before turning the gun on himself.

After the war, the ship changed hands before finally ended up re-christened as the Greek ship the SS Alkimos. The bad luck and technical difficulties continued to follow the ship as well as stories of hauntings. In 1963, the ship ran aground off the coast of Western Australia. The propeller was damaged so efforts were made to tow the ship to Freemantle for emergency repairs before being taken to Hong Kong for larger repairs. While in Freemantle, the ship inexplicably caught fire. When it was finally ready to tow to Hong Kong, the tow cable snapped and the ship ran aground once again, this time just north of Freemantle.

In an effort to keep the ship going, caretakers were left on the ship until proper efforts could be made to salvage it. Caretakers reported feelings of being watched, smells of cooking food coming from the galley and a great feeling of unease while onboard. Efforts to salvage the ship failed as one company after another tried. In one attempt the ship that was trying to two out the S.S. Alkimos caught fire, causing the S.S. Alkimos to run aground again. This time it was left where it was. Plans were made to demolish the ship, but the man in charge died in a plane crash. Anyone who attempted to salvage to destroy the ship met with misfortune, all efforts have been abandoned and the ship remains there to this day.

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

A Dakota Douglas plane like the one being spotted at Dark Peak.

WWII Ghost Planes

Ghost planes are among the most pervasive ghost stories to come out of World War II. As it was a war that filled the sky with planes and showed how bigger and better planes were revolutionizing modern warfare, it is not too surprising that people would continue to report seeing and hearing planes in the sky long after the war. But there are some stories that defy explanation even when there is evidence to prove the stories real. Many ghost plane stories are told about the area of Dark Peak which is known for being the location of more than 50 plane crashes over the years.

One such ghost plane was spotted over England. It was not a freak apparition or something brought on by the post-traumatic stress of the war. Rather it happened in 2015 when a WWII plane was seen flying over Dark Peak in northern Derbyshire. The area is known for ghosts and aircraft sightings and that is part of what gives the area its name. In 2015 WW2 bomber plane was seen flying over the area by serval witnesses. The plane was identified by former RAF pilots who were well versed with the look of WII planes.

One RAF member identified the plane as a Lancaster the four-engine heavy bomber used by the RAF during the war. Another pilot disagreed and thought it was a Liberator, a smaller four-engine bomber that was used by the Americans. Another witness agreed that it was too small to be a Lancaster, but added that it had an antenna and was camouflaged. The plane never landed and there was no record of any scheduled flights of historical aircraft. It is also of note that the plane was silent as it flew, which is very different from the deafening roar of a Lancaster or a Liberator.

The bomber was not the only ghost plane to be seen in the area. In 2017, more reports of ghost plane sightings surfaced. This time several people reported seeing a Douglas Dakota. It was a plane flown by the RAF during WWII and there are no more in operation. One witness reported that something looked wrong with the plane and it seemed to be flying straight toward them. The witness said that the plane turned sideways and then vanished without a trace. Historical records did confirm that a Douglas Dakota crashed in the area of the sightings in the 1940s.

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

B-17 Flying Fortress.

B-17 That Landed Itself

It was a chilly November day in 1944 when an anti-aircraft crew stationed in Belgium saw a large plane coming toward them. The RAF unit recognized the plane as an American B-17, the so-called “Flying Fortress.” The sighting was strange because the landing gear was down and the plane was coming in fast. There were no landings scheduled and so the men on the ground assumed that the plane was making an emergency landing. They were correct but the reason for the emergency landing was something they never expected.

The plane landed and looked largely intact. The landing was rough and bouncy, it was clear to the men on the ground that something was wrong with the whole situation as the plane nearly clipped a wing before coming to a stop in the open field. For twenty minutes no one approached the plane waiting for the crew to come out and explain what had happened. Finally, those on the ground got restless and decided to approach the plane even as the engines continued their loud growl. When the hatch opened the silence within the plane was more deafening than the roar of the engines.

There was no crew. Not a single person was found on the plane but there was evidence that a crew had been on the plane recently. There were half-eaten candy bars and a navigator’s codebook with the colors of the day, which suggested that a crew had been on board that day. Even more mysterious were the neatly packed parachutes, enough for an entire crew completely untouched. Whatever had happened, it looked at first that the crew had completely vanished and the plane had just landed itself.

While at first it seemed like a bizarre ghost story and spread throughout the military as such, the truth is much simpler. The plane malfunctioned and took a hit, which made the plane unable to fly. The crew tossed what they could to lighten the load and then bailed out of the plane. As the B-17 dipped down toward Brussels, the problem with the engines seemed to resolve itself and the B-17 flew itself. However, without all of its engines functioning it was not able to stay in the air and performed the landing that was witnessed by the RAF crew.

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

The Tiger 131 Tank that is haunted by Herman the German.

Bovington Tank Museum, Herman the German

The Bovington Tank Museum is located in Dorset, South West England. The Museum offers a fascinating look at the history of the tank and has the largest collection of tanks in the world. There are over 300 tanks from over 26 countries and it even includes a British World War I Mark I, the oldest surviving combat tank. With many of these tanks leftover from bloody battles, it is not too surprising that there are dark histories tied to many of them.

One of the most well-known stories of hauntings at the Bovington Tank Museum is the story of a ghost who has been dubbed “Herman the German.” Herman the German is said to haunt the Tiger 131 tank. The tank is a German Tiger I heavy tank that was captured by the British during World War II. It is the only operating Tiger in the world today. The story surrounding the haunted status of the tank claims that when it was first brought to the museum the body of a German soldier was found inside.

Now every night there are rumors of a bloody, ghostly hand reaching out from the turret and the sound of screams coming from within the tank. Numerous workers and guests to the museum have reported seeing a man wearing a German WW2 uniform walking around the tank. The sightings became so common on the museum floor that the ghost was given the name of “Herman the German.” It is believed that he was a former occupant of the tank and may have lost his life inside.

There is another explanation to the story. It may have been made up by the museum curators in order to keep teens and vandals from visiting the museum at night. Prior to the frequent reports of sightings, it was not usual for artifacts to disappear from the museum. However, even after the museum reported that “Herman the German” might have just been a story made up to protect the museum, the sightings continue. Even in other parts of the museum, people report seeing things move, hearing footsteps or feeling like they are being watched. Orbs, believed to be indicators of spirits, are common in photos taken at the museum.

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

Clark Air Base Hospital, Philippines.

Clark Hospital, Philippines

Clark Hospital in the Philippines has been the sight of so many hauntings that it is widely considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world. NatGeo TV featured the location as part of their “I Wouldn’t Go In There” series because of all the stories and the history attached to the place. The hospital was part of the American Air Force Base in Pampanga. From 1903 until 1991 it was under the control of the U.S. Air Force and while much of the area is now the Clark International Airport, the Air Force hospital that was part of the base sits abandoned.

During World War II the base was expected to be a stronghold in an upcoming war against Imperial Japan. The U.S. Army sent large numbers of planes to the base in order to strike against Japan, but most of those planes were destroyed in an attack that occurred just nine hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The base fell to the Japanese in 1942 and American POWs were forced to march past the once welcoming gates of the base as part of the Bataan Death March. It was reclaimed in 1945 and served to care for American soldiers before they were sent home. It became a base of operations during the Cold War and the Vietnam War as well.

The hospital itself was reported to also be used as an asylum for American soldiers and that adds to the history of the restless spirits. Those who walk the decrepit halls of the old hospital today report the lights turning on and off. There are also reports of voices and screams echoing through the darkened halls where soldiers took their last breaths or suffered under Japanese occupation. But it is not just voices and lights that have many putting Clark Hospital as one of the most haunted places in the world.

After Americans left the base it was looted and vandalized by the locals which only adds to the spooky feel of the location. Even worse are the reports that the spirits at the hospital are far from friendly. People brave enough to walk through the doors report debris being thrown at them from seemingly nowhere. There are angry shouts and violent screams that warn any unwelcome guests from exploring the hospital and her ghostly inhabitants. With so many reports of ghostly sightings, sounds and even violent attacks, few places are as terrifying as Clark Hospital.

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

Changi Beach as it looks today.

Changi Beach, Singapore

Changi Beach and its nearby hospital are considered to be among the most terrifying places in all of Singapore. In fact, the Changi Hospital provided the inspiration for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Singapore in 2016. The hospital was a focal point of a local film called Haunted Changi. The pop culture that surrounds the hospital is a direct result of the history and the ghost sightings that accompany the location. Changi Beach was the location of the Sook Ching massacre where many Chinese were brutally murdered during the Japanese occupation.

Those who are brave enough to walk along the beach where thousands were tortured and murdered can find ghostly evidence of those atrocities. Among the common reports are the sounds of screams and people crying. There are sounds of fear and desperation as ghosts relive the fear of watching those they loved to be murdered either on the grainy sand or shot to death by machine guns after being forced into the water. But the sounds of the beach are among the tamer hauntings that the location had become known for.

Others have reported seeing floating heads flying over the sand or headless bodies trudging along the shore. Beheadings were a popular form of execution and many who lost their lives on the beach did so by losing their head. Other accounts tell of large holes dug into the sand in the same shape and depth as one would expect for a mass grave. The tortured souls continue to leave their mark on the beach and throughout the neighboring area.

The Changi Hospital nearby was used as a wartime hospital and has its own dark history. Many soldiers lost their lives at the hospital and have been said to walk the halls ever since. There are also reports of black magic rituals having been performed at the hospital as occultists tried to use the hospital’s souls in order to convene with the devil.

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

Operating theater at the abandoned and haunted Nazi medical center.

Polish Nazi Hospital

Built in Legnica in the 1930s by the Nazis this Polish medical complex was in use by the Nazis until 1937. After the Nazis lost control it went into Soviet hands and the Russians were happy to put the high-tech facilities to good use. It was known to attract the Soviet elite who were glad to have state-of-the-art medical care available, even President Leonard Brezhnev‘s wife made use of the medical complex.

Even today the building has good bones and could be very useful, but it has sat abandoned since 1993. It was not for lack of interest that the building fell into disrepair. A group of locals tried to get investors interested in the building and held a public tour and meeting for the property. Things took a bad turn when a sheet of glass broke underneath a man and he fell 33 feet to his death. The hospital has since been left alone with the exception of the guards and dogs that continue to keep people from the premises.

The reason for the fear is well-founded as there have been many reports of hauntings at the hospital and malevolent spirits. It was rumored that the Nazis used the state of the art facilities to perform many of their inhuman experiments. There are many who believe that those who died at the hospital, especially from the rumored experiments still haunt the expansive building. The bodies of those who died at the hospital are still somewhere on the grounds.

There is a large network of tunnels under the hospital leading some to think that the hospital was just a front and the Nazis used the location as a means to move agents around the region. When the Soviets abandoned the building in 1993, they left most of the medical equipment and files behind, some of them have been looted but most of it remains. Few will dare to brave the ghosts or the guards at the site.

Eternal Soldiers: 8 World War II Ghost Stories

Canon foundation and munitions depot of the fort. A place where many have claimed to see ghosts.

Penang War Museum, Malaysia

The Penang War Museum is a unique case on the list because it is a place full of World War II ghost stories but there is very little reason for them. It has been called one of the most haunted places on earth and was even the focus of a television show or two, but by all historical accounts, it is not a place that should be haunted. The Penang War Museum is located at Bukit Batu Maung Hill and is in the remains of a British fort from the days when the British colonized Malaysia.

The fort was built in the 1930s as a way to protect the British shipping routes around Malayan Peninsula. The British were only at the fort for a few years before the Japanese invaded in December of 1941. The fort was built to withstand sea attacks and had little defense against the Japanese air attack. The British fled and left the area to the Japanese. The Japanese used the fort to protect their own shipping routes until the end of the war, at which time it was abandoned.

That ends the official history of the fort. But the Penang War Museum has their own self-researched history that is much more gruesome and offers plenty of reason for ghosts. The museum claims that the Japanese turned the fort into a POW camp where there were frequent tortures and daily beheadings. The cruel executioner, the museum claims, was Tadashi Suzuki. Many visitors to the museum claim to have seen him or other Japanese soldiers walking throughout the area.

The museum plays upon this dark history with pictures of Tadashi Suzuki, plaques with gruesome stories and large effigies of ghosts that were said to have been seen by the construction crew during the renovation of the base. Despite all the reports of ghost sightings and the fear that can be felt at the place, there is no evidence that it was ever a POW camp or that Tadashi Suzuki was ever there. Many attribute the stories of the museum to taking advantage of dark tourism and playing on the atrocities of war that did happen elsewhere in Malaysia.