SS Watertown Ghosts
James Courtney and Michael Meehan, crew members of the S.S. Watertown,
were cleaning a cargo tank of the oil tanker as it sailed toward the
Panama Canal from New York City in December of 1924. Through a freak
accident, the two men were overcome by gas fumes and killed. As was the
custom of the time, the sailors were buried at sea off the Mexican coast
on December 4.
On arrival in New Orleans, the ship's captain, Keith Tracy, reported the strange events to his employers, the Cities Service Company, who suggested he try to photograph the eerie faces. Captain Tracy purchased a camera for the continuing voyage. When the faces again appeared in the water, Captain Tracy took six photos, then locked the camera and film in the ship's safe. When the film was processed by a commercial developer in New York, five of the exposures showed nothing but sea foam. But the sixth showed the ghostly faces of the doomed seamen. The negative was checked for fakery by the Burns Detective Agency.
After the ship's crew had been changed, there were no more reports of sightings.