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The Nevasa Ghost
I haven't told this story to many people, only a few family members and some very close friends but I want you to know that this really did happen and it's as fresh in my mind today as it was on the actual night that I met the Nevasa Ghost 40 years ago.
I'd heard a few stories about a Ghost onboard but hadn't given it much thought really. I wasn't a believer or a disbeliever in spirits or an after life. I guess I just had an open mind waiting to be persuaded one way or another.
It was after we'd left Cape Town and heading across the massive empty Indian Ocean. I was on the 4-8 with Bob Eden, Bob Scarrott, Duncan Kilgour and Harry Ritchie when it happened. It was getting towards the end of the watch and I was busy repairing a leaking steam valve. I needed some new ½" Teflon gland packing which was kept in the forrad store which previously had been a flour store when she was a troop ship...
I've recently asked a few fellow Nevasa engineers what they remember about the Ghost stories and got this reply from Ivor Young;
understanding was that a couple of soldiers hung themselves in what was
then the flour stores and in our time was the engineering parts store,
giving rise to the ghost stories.
...it was a quiet night weather wise with not much movement down below but what movement there was was always accentuated at the extreme ends of the ship. To get to the forrad store you had to pass through the Boiler Room, Generator Room and Fridge Flat and then along a long straight walkway to the store. There were 2 free-swinging doors to the store which were only held closed by a chain and padlock just through holes cut in both doors. When the chain was removed both doors could swing either way, in or out of the store.
I unlocked the padlock and removed the chain and pushed the doors inwards. There was a small table on the left just inside the store where we always put the chain and padlock on while we were in there. All the spare parts were neatly stored in very orderly little metal boxes on shelves. To stop everything falling about when it did get rough the shelves were inside more steel doors held closed by split pins dropped through latches. Everything was absolutely normal and I went straight to where I knew the packing was kept and was measuring out and cutting the lengths I needed when it started...
I got this reply from George McHugh;
lot of people said they felt an eerie cold feeling in the area you
mentioned. I remember padding about in the store and saw a white steamy
figure. I NEVER mentioned it to anyone as I was the 2nd Engineer but I
felt that there was someone (something) there.
...the first thing I noticed was a sudden drop in temperature, enough to make a shiver go straight down my spine, then the chain and padlock on the little table shot across the floor with a force enough to hit the metal cupboards on the other side of the store, then immediately the main doors started swinging wildly in opposite directions which meant it couldn't have been caused by the roll of the ship which would've made them open and close together. This all happened in a few seconds and my first thought was it was one of the guys having a joke and I called out "OK you guys, very funny!" then suddenly at that very moment all the split pins started jumping out of the latches right in front of me and the cupboard doors started opening and closing violently and some of the steel trays started flying out onto the floor.
I absolutely shat myself and started running to the open doors which had stopped opening and closing by now. Just as I got to the doors they slammed shut but I kept on going bracing myself to hit them smack in the middle at full speed with my right shoulder. It was like hitting a solid brick wall and I groaned with pain and crumbled to the floor still leaning forward with my weight against the doors and just as I adopted the foetal position on the floor the doors simply fell open with my body weight. I jumped up and ran like hell still with my mind not accepting what had just happened and I fully expected someone bursting out laughing saying "got you then Skippy" but everyone was in their place doing their thing and I stopped running and very slowly walked back to the Plates. I was shaking like a leaf and never told a living soul for years.
Since then I've had a few other encounters, one was when I was in my kitchen which looked straight through the dining room to the games room and I watched a man walk through the snooker table and out through a closed glass door. I guess he was just taking a short cut...
...then there was the time I woke up in the middle of the night to find a female figure in a neck to floor gown standing at the bottom of the bed just smiling. She then proceeded through the closed door so I jumped up and opened the door and watched her glide down the stairs straight through the hall wall.
I guess you could say I've been persuaded to be a believer.
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