Is USS Kidd Haunted?

USS Kidd

Ghosts of World War II sailors may still man their posts on this historic US Navy destroyer

Paranormal Activity on
USS Kidd

  • Shadow figures have been seen around the ship
  • Phantom footsteps have been heard
  • Disembodied voices are heard in certain rooms
  • Apparitions of World War II sailors have been spotted
  • Apparitions of disembodied limbs have been seen wandering around

Seafaring History of USS Kidd

Along the shores of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, there’s always something interesting to see.

Whether it is the bustle of industrial barges floating through the water or the buzz from riverboat casinos hugging the shore, Baton Rouge’s stretch of the Mississippi hosts a myriad of entertainment. This includes an especially unique museum: the USS Kidd.

The USS Kidd flies the jolly roger as a cheeky play on the name of the famous pirate Captain Kidd

A preserved World War II destroyer, USS Kidd has since spent decades as a popular tourist attraction. The old hull greets thousands of tourists each year and offers a one-of-a-kind glimpse into World War II naval life.

But some visitors say the historic ship hasn’t lost sight of its past. From strange sounds to apparitions of sailors, the USS Kidd may be one of the most haunted relics of World War II.

Timeline of USS Kidd's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see USS Kidd through the years

The Pirate of the Pacific is rumored to be haunted by the sailors who once called it home


Through the early 1940s, the United States was in a mad dash to build ships to support their navy. On February 28, 1943, shipyards in New Jersey launched four new destroyers for the first time, one being the newly minted USS Kidd.

Though named for a former Rear Admiral, the sailors onboard took to commemorating fabled pirate Captain Kidd with the new vessel. So, on its first journey through New York Harbor, USS Kidd flew a Jolly Roger.

Some say sailors are still chained to the historic USS Kidd


During its first missions in the Atlantic, USS Kidd leaned playfully into its pirate association. The crew continued to fly a Jolly Roger from the mast. And, as the ship would rescue downed airmen from other ships, they would ‘ransom’ the rescued sailors back to their home ships for trades of ice cream and other onboard rarities.

As USS Kidd transitioned from Atlantic duties to the Pacific Theater from 1943-1944, it earned its long-lasting nickname: ‘The Pirate of the Pacific.’



By 1945, USS Kidd had seen a lot of action in the Pacific as the US slowly won its war with Japan. While it had seen many lethal attacks on other ships, it had made it through relatively unscathed. But, on April 11, that changed when a kamikaze plane sailed into the Kidd’s hull, destroying the forward boiler room.

All told, USS Kidd lost 38 sailors in the attack, but stayed afloat. The next day, as the Kidd limped away and buried the dead at sea, the demoralizing news of President Roosevelt’s death also cast a pall over the ship.

Haunted USS Kidd is a Navy Destroyer harbored in Baton Rouge


Though USS Kidd spent the rest of World War II being repaired, the ship would see action again in Korea. From 1951 to 1953, USS Kidd engaged in numerous exercises and naval formations. Though the ship never encountered direct attack like it did in April 1945, it engaged closely in the war until March of 1953, when it headed home for an overhaul.

During its docking in San Diego that year, a freighter crashed into the side of USS Kidd, causing great damage, but no injuries to the crew.

Visit the haunted ship, but watch out for the ghosts


After both World War II and Korea, USS Kidd went on to do a wide variety of peacetime duties and Cold War deployments. In 1957, USS Kidd was a filming location for the movie ‘Run Silent Run Deep.’ By the 1960s, the ship had seen its share of age, and was transitioned to a training ship for Navy Reservists. In 1964, the ship was officially decommissioned.

But, when USS Kidd was finally stricken from Naval registers in 1975, it wouldn’t end up in the scrapyard like other Navy ships.

Now a museum, USS Kidd was a formidable Navy Ship known as the Pirate of the Pacific


After being deemed unfit for continued Naval use, USS Kidd was picked alongside two other destroyers in its class, USS Cassin Young and USS The Sullivans, to be preserved as museums. The ship was transferred to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where it opened to tourists as the USS Kidd Veterans Museum in 1983.

Some of those tourists now claim the old warship hasn’t left war behind. Instead, some suggest the ship is forever haunted by the souls lost onboard during World War II.

Is USS Kidd Haunted?

Though it had a long and prosperous wartime life, the paranormal activity around the USS Kidd all seems to center on the events of April 11, 1945. The kamikaze attack on the ship that day would remain its worst loss of life throughout its operational history. Now witnesses claim the trauma caused by that attack, and the 38 lives lost, remains alive through the ghosts still lingering in USS Kidd’s corridors.

Shadowy figures have been seen moving about in below deck on the USS Kidd

Shifting shadows and strange apparitions are some of the most common reports of ghostly happenings aboard. Some people report defined shadow figures lurking up and down halls and in rooms, and others have claimed to see far more detailed apparitions.

In these instances, witnesses have reported seeing the ghostly figures clad in 1940s Navy uniforms. Though none of these spectral sailors have been positively identified yet, many believe they are the sailors killed in the 1945 attack.

Ghostly crewmen have been seen in original attire aboard the haunted US Navy Destroyer

A Ship of Spectral Sailors

Perhaps the most unique report of hauntings aboard USS Kidd also has to do with apparitions. Or, rather, pieces of them. While full shadow figures and apparitions are often seen around the ship, other appearances show only body parts floating around the air.

Witnesses claim that disembodied arms and legs will wander the halls of the ship, as if connected to invisible bodies. Unlike the full-bodied figures and apparitions, these shadowy appendages are known to pass straight through the ship’s walls.

Haunting Voices In The Hull

Along with unexplainable shadows, odd sounds and disembodied voices are also a fixture of USS Kidd.The audible voices are said to be especially prevalent around the old sleeping quarters onboard.

Along with the echoes of ghostly voices, other unexplained sounds have been heard on the ship. These include the sounds of heavy doors slamming and the patter of footsteps coming from empty rooms and hallways.

Docked in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is reportedly haunted after a kamikaze plane crashed into the vessel killing 30

The USS Kidd, as a Fletcher-class destroyer, is not alone in its paranormal claims. Out of the three preserved destroyers in its class, another is also purportedly haunted.

USS The Sullivans, moored in Buffalo, New York, is also a purportedly haunted museum ship. And just like USS Kidd with its phantom floating limbs, The Sullivans sports some truly unique ghostly claims. Mainly, that it is haunted by its namesake Sullivan brothers, despite none of them setting foot onboard.

USS Kidd: A Ghostly Good Time

All the ghost stories swirling around USS Kidd’s hull haven’t seemed to deter any visitors over the years. On the contrary, it seems the ghostly stories have become part of what attracts visitors to the historic ship.

The ship remains so popular that it will remain at least partially open during an ongoing overhaul through 2025. During that time, the ship will be moved from Baton Rouge to nearby Houma, Louisiana, where it will remain open during refurbishments.

Lights beam aboard the haunted USS Kidd - shadows of former sailors have been reported in WWII attire

While the ship will return to its place in Baton Rouge in 2025, one has to wonder what the ghosts will think of the updates. And while you can’t book a formal paranormal investigation on USS Kidd, they offer overnight camping packages that let you explore the old ship after dark.

Who knows what you might see, or what you might hear reverberating through the metal-clad hull. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot one of the ship’s infamous apparitions, or at least an arm or leg of one.