Ghost Ships: UB-65 German Submarine

by T. Duplain

German U-boat Ghost ShipThe UB65 was built by Germany in 1916. It was only a week after its launch that ghostly events began to occur. A steel beam was swinging into position when all of a sudden, its chains broke and it crashed to the floorboards. One worker died immediately, while another was severely injured and eventually succumbed to death two hours later.

The UB-65's Deaths Continue
Trouble came before the UB65's maiden voyage as just before the ship was completed, three men were taken over by fumes in the engine room. They died before anyone could find them. Furthermore on the maiden voyage, the UB65 hit a storm. One crewman was lost overboard. Another time during submarine diving tests, one of the ballast tanks sprang a leak. It left the crew without any means of renewing the oxygen in the u-boat. Repairs took twelve hours and were completed just before the men were suffocated. On the return trip, the submarine torpedoed, killing the second officer and damaging the ship.

A Ghost Captain Seen on the Ship
On January 1918, the German U-Boat UB65 sailed into the English Channel looking for possible targets. The U-Boat’s starboard look-out on the conning tower, viewed an officer positioned on deck almost exactly under him, despite the fact that all the hatches were battoned down (except for the one on the tower). The ghost seemed to shout a warning, as he turned toward the lookout, showing that he was the ship's previous second officer that was killed in an explosion on UB65's first voyage. The look-out's terrified yells brought the current UB65 captain to the tower who also witnessed the ghost before it disappeared.

The Ghostly Curse Continues
After repairs, before the German u-boat was about to relaunch, a crew member sprinted into the wardroom alarmed that he saw the dead officer come aboard the ship. The captain and others thought the man was hallucinating, but went onto the deck, where another crew member trembled near the conning tower. He recounted to the captain how the dead officer had floated up the gangplank toward the bow. The dead officer stood there for a few moments before vanishing.

The UB65 German u-boat now had a reputation of being haunted, and nobody wanted to board it, let alone be stationed on it. Eventually, the German authorities attempted to stop the stories and thus sent a commodore to investigate the reported haunting.

Sceptical at first, he questioned the whole ship's crew. He soon became persuaded that the stories were real and the submarine was removed from service. While in dock in Belgium, a Lutheran pastor supposedly exorcised the spirit. The UB65 went back to sea with a new captain and crew. The captain chose not to tolerate any gossip of ghosts and threatened the crew with severe penalties if the ghost was even talked of. The ship finished two tours of duty without trouble, but after the captain was changed, the hauntings started once again. During May 1918, the sub was cruising the English Channel and eventually the coast of Spain. An officer claimed to have seen an unknown person enter the torpedo room, but when he went to check it out, there was no one there. After another ghostly incident, the torpedo gunner went insane, shouting that the ghost would not let him be. He leaped overboard and was never seen again.

On July 10th, an American submarine saw the UB65 on the surface and prepared to attack. Just before torpedoes were launched, the UB65 exploded. When the smoke had finished, all that could be seen was debris. The boat sank with thirty-four people and was believed to have been destroyed by its own torpedoes.