My First (and so far, only real) Ghost Story

Back in the Dark Age of 1977, I (Chris) was serving my country in the US Navy, stationed at the Seabee base in Port Hueneme, Calif. There was a beautiful old mansion there, once owned by a Senator Bard, later appropriated by the Navy for its new Seabee force in World War II.  Legend had it that the place was lousy with spooks, and already being a journalist and nosy fellow, I somehow convinced the base commander to allow me and two companions (eyewitness and Seabee comrade Doug Jagd and base photographer Laura Beagle) to spend a night in the old manse. Long story short — we did encounter some fascinating and rather macabre things during that long and dark evening.

I told the story myself way back then, in the base newspaper, appropriately named the Seabee Coverall, along with some intriguing photos. Recently, I got a copy of the article from the base historian and am attaching it here for your reading pleasure.

Bard Mansion Haunting

Footnotes:  That summer, after I was already discharged, the article won honors as the Navy’s best story for 1977 — an honor of which I am still proud. Also, a professor at the UCLA School of Parapsychology (or some such name) looked at the spectral photo we’d sent him or her and pronounced it, rather routinely, as “an ordinary house ghost.”  Below is a scan from the original infrared print:

I can assure you that it has never seemed “ordinary” to those of us who spent the evening at the Bard Mansion. As for you?  Well, you’ll have to judge for yourselves.

4 thoughts on “My First (and so far, only real) Ghost Story

  1. Yes, Sharon, the Bard Mansion most definitely still exists. And from what I’ve learned on the Net, it’s still quite haunted. Thanks for reading!

  2. I was a young boy, living in the Officers’ Section when you published this article. My buddy, who lived in the Captains’ Housing, in the arboretum in front of the mansion, and I were obsessed with this story and the possibility of haunting a there. We spent wonderfully long days, and spooky nights, “investigating” the Bard ghosts. We were definite believers then. Thank you for inspiring our 9 to 10 year old imaginations.

  3. PTBoat — Thanks for the great post. Well, you know that nothing warms the heart of a horror writer more than inspiring little kids to love ghost stories. I’m curious whether you and your buddy ever saw anything spooky at the old Bard Mansion, when you were “definite believers.” Does that mean that now that you’re adults, you no longer believe? Or are you more like Agent Muldar, whose famous poster read: “I want to believe”?

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