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Star of India
Place - Star of India
1492 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, California 92101
Web Link * (619) 234-9153
The Star of India sailing ship is docked at
the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
The Star of India (originally known as The
Euterpe), the oldest working sailing ship, is described as an
1863 era iron, ship-rigged, sailing ship, with a long life history
being used in the merchant trade business, hauling cargo,
transporting immigrants, etc. It has a plain bluff bow and a full
stern with windows. The original ship, The Euterpe, was a
full-rigged ship, which meant it was a square rigged sailing ship
with three or more masts, all of them square rigged.
However, The Euterpe was modernized in 1901
and given a barque sailing system, as a result of having new
owners. This system resulted in superior all-around performance
with far smaller and less skilled crews. This mast and sail
arrangement has 3 masts, fore and aft sails on the aftermost mast
and square sails on all other masts.
The top inside level of the Star of India
housed the captain and his top crew managers, the captain's office,
their eating area, etc.
The in-between level, between the top level
and the bottom area of the hull housed the crew and passengers in
rather close quarters.
The original ship, The Euterpe, named for a
Greek goddess, was built in the shipyard at Ramsey in the Isle of
Man, England in 1863. It was one of the first ships made of iron,
as most ships of the day were made of wood. The company who built
her immediately put her to work as a cargo ship in the Indian jute
trade. The Euterpe had a rough first voyage, suffering both a ship
fender bender collision and an attempted mutiny!
The second voyage was a hair raiser as
well. The Euterpe was caught up in a nasty cyclone in the Bay of
Bengal, but she managed to limp into port, after having to cut away
her topmasts! The stress caught up with The Euterpe's first captain
who died on board soon afterward.
After 4 more successful, uneventful trips
to India as a cargo ship, The Euterpe was sold in 1871 to the Shaw
Savill Line of London. For the next 25 years, the ship brought
emigrants, a tough, hardy lot, to New Zealand, Australia,
California and Chile, making 21 trips, through all kinds of
In 1894, The Euterpe was chartered by
explorer Archibald Campion for his polar expedition, because of the
ship's iron hull, and because the ship had both crew quarters and
cargo holds. Interestingly, Archibald brought along his own
invention, an electric motor with a variety of interesting
attachments, which allowed the crew to power the ship through the
ice and also provided light and heat.
In 1898, The Euterpe was sold to an
American company, The Alaska Packers. After being modernized with a
barque sailing system mentioned above in 1902, The Euterpe began
sailing from Oakland, Calif. to the Bering Sea during the Spring,
with fishermen, cannery workers, box shook and tin plate on board.
When they returned in the following Fall, they brought back canned
In 1906, The Alaska Packer renamed The Euterpe, calling her The
Star of India.
By 1923, sailing ships were replaced with
more reliable steam ships, so The Star of India was taken out of
service and was "laid up". Her future looked grim until a group of
San Diegans, led by reporter Jerry MacMullen, raised $9,000 dollars
to buy The Star of India and had her towed to San Diego in 1926. A
grand restoration was planned for the ship, but then the depression
came, followed by WW2.
So, for 30 years, The Star of India sat
there, slowly deteriorating into a tattered image of its former
self. Luckily, The Star of India's fate was changed yet again, this
time by an experienced, highly thought of windjammer skipper,
Captain Alan Villers, who while on a speaking tour came to San
Diego, in 1957.
Seeing the bedraggled state of The Star of
India, the now incensed Captain Alan let all of San Diego know how
upset he was that the people had neglected such a great ship for so
long, making a lot of people very ashamed of themselves. A fund was
established to collect money for its restoration. Skilled
workmen who had experience from working on the waterfront volunteered and began to
repair the aging hulk, making other much needed repairs.
Not only was The Star of India fully
restored to its former glory, it was made seaworthy once again. In
1976, The Star Of India was once again sailing around for an
enthusiastic audience! She goes sailing about once a year and has
a trained crew of volunteers.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
According to the San Diego Visitor's
Center, the Ship's staff, its crew, Paranormal researchers such as
Dr. Joe Nickell, and everyday visitors, some entities have never
taken shore leave and continue to hang around the ship. One
One would expect deaths on a battle sailing
ship, (such as The USS Constellation), but I was a little surprised
to read that working on a merchant sailing ship unfortunately also
wasn't without risks, serious illness or accidents, which does make
sense after thinking about it.
Sailors lose their footing and can fall.
Accidents of all kinds can happen to people while at sea. A moment
of not thinking can mean the difference of life or death.
Unfortunately, people did die while working on board The Star of
The oldest known entity is believed to be a young man by the
name of John Campbell. It seems that in 1884, John Campbell, a
teen-aged boy seeking adventure, stowed away on The Euterpe. He was
eventually discovered and put to work to earn his keep. While
tending to the masts, about 100 feet above the deck, his foot
slipped and he fell to the deck below, breaking both legs. He died
3 days later in great pain.
- Sometimes when the living stand near the mast where
young John fell off, they feel a cold hand touch them, as to
warn them not to climb the mast, or perhaps just to let them know
of his presence
- A horrible accident happened in the anchor chain locker, a dark
storage compartment located below the main deck, toward the bow of
the ship. A Chinese crewman was in this locker area going about his
business when crewmen on the deck above began to start the
machinery to raise the anchor. The chain filled the anchor chain
storage locker, slowly crushing the Chinese crewman to death. No
one heard his screams because of the noise of the machines and
- In the area around the chain locker a persistent cold spot is
often noticed by the living.
- Some crewmen throughout the years suffered horrible accidents,
and some wasted away from fatal illnesses, spending their last
hours alive in the cramped crew quarters where they died.
- A sense of fear and anxiety as well as cold spots and a chilly
room temperature are reported by the living and psychic-sensitive
people, when they visit the crew's quarters.
An entity is still busy in The Star of India's kitchen, which
has not been used in years.
Pots and pans have moved by themselves, with no help from the
- The smell of freshly baked bread sometimes fills the kitchen
and dining area.
October 28th, 2001 - Dr. Joe Nickell of
CSICOP -- Well known Paranormal Investigator, Dr. Nickell took a
tour of San Diego's Star of India and visited known areas of
manifestations on the ship, and found that entities were indeed
haunting the ship.
The above list of manifestations have been
reported by the living.
en.wikipedia.org * wikipedia.org/wiki/Barque
gothere.com * sdmaritime.com
Large Pictures © Tom Carr