In 1941, the United Service Organizations was founded on behalf of the state of North Carolina (USO of NC). It is also known as the USO of North Carolina Jacksonville Center.
Eleven percent of the United States Military is comprised of North Carolina residents, and the USO is a not for profit organization that oversees the care, and wellbeing of these soldiers, as well as their families.
One of the largest locations is in Jacksonville, and it also happens to be quite haunted. Many staff members, including their Director, believe they know why–and which spirits now haunt the Center.
See also: The Most Haunted Hotels in NC
Jacksonville USO Ghosts
Soldiers from the Past
Being a mecca of not only resources, but entertainment for North Carolina soldiers, and their families, it is natural that the Jacksonville USO has seen many faces come, and go throughout the years.
For many locals, the USO is simply their secondary home. During the 1960s, one WWII veteran would come to the USO on a daily basis to read the paper. He was eventually found dead in the showers of the facility.
During the 1970s, a Korean War Veteran frequently visited the USO, and even had a tendency to joke that he would haunt the place once he died.
Not only did he pass away in the Center, but it is believed he does, in fact, haunt the USO, along with the WWII Vet.
Paranormal Encounters Everywhere
The Director, Deb Fisher, has reported that several employees won’t go into certain rooms of the Center, especially the basement which, eerily enough, is also known as the dungeon.
A couple employees have downright quit their jobs after being alone in the basement for an extended period of time, Fisher openly admits. What they encountered has yet to be put on record.
Staff, and visitors alike are quick to vocalize the fact that the USO is haunted–and they have personal anecdotes to prove it. The ghosts at the USO are anything but shy.
Out from Every Corner…
Paranormal activity extends well beyond the basement of the Center. There have been numerous reports of the lights being turned on, and off of their own accord, in multiple rooms, accompanied by sudden, inexplicable cold spots, drifting throughout the house.
There also happens to be a crawl space, where a very old chair sits, with a scattering of broken pencils. The pencils are said to move on their own during the night.
Deb recalls a past volunteer, who had spent many years working at the USO. This particular volunteer was always helpful, and willing to do anything with a smile on his face…save for taking out the trash at night.
He would always complete the task, but always very quickly, and he always seemed to return in a state of panic. He told them that whenever he took out the trash, he would see a dead woman in the yard, crying out to him as though she were in a lot of pain. The sight always scared him half to death.
Other employees, and visitors have reported hearing phantom music playing in the hallways. A couple of individuals have even reported seeing apparitions, a couple dancing swing style, together.
The dark silhouette of a man in fine clothing has been reported a few times, always walking straight towards a wall. Disembodied noises are also frequently heard, but the origins of these sounds is never quite clear.
The moment a sound emanates from one particular room, and those who hear it go to investigate, another sound will come from several rooms away.
The Haunted Auditorium
Former Director Judy Pitchford recalls having most of her experiences in the auditorium of the Center.
She could always sense a supernatural presence while she was in the large room, and she always seemed to stumble into random spots of the auditorium that never seemed to get as warm as the surrounding spaces. They always felt inexplicably cold, and dark.
She said the auditorium always gave her chills.
Many employees in her service agreed, to the point where they refused to take on any shifts that happened at night. But Judy would insist that the ghosts could not harm them. Or so everybody thought.
The Ultimate Paranormal Experiment
Word about the haunted USO has spread throughout the country, with help from paranormal enthusiasts on social media. The Center piqued the interest of two well known organizations, the crew on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters, and the South East Paranormal Investigative Association (SEPIA), who decided to come in, and investigate the building for themselves.
Both crews felt inexplicable cold spots, and heard disembodied voices, and sounds. They even found a strange hot spot located on the floor of the basement.
Based on the evidence at hand, plus evidence collected from a previous investigation, the group at SEPIA deemed there were five locations within the USO that were haunted. But they wanted even more proof.
They decided to open the doors of the USO as part of an experiment. Participants could tour the facility, and then report their own paranormal experiences. Nobody was surprised by the number of people who claimed the USO was haunted, however everyone was shocked by the degree in which the spirits made their feelings known.
Many of the stories from participants who toured the USO spoke of paranormal experiences, including running into phantom cobwebs while walking around–a sensation that is actually linked to walking into the residual essence or energy of a spirit.
But anecdotes quickly took a turn for the violent. Participants started appearing with scratch marks on their bodies, all, they claimed, placed their by spirits while they were walking around.
One teenage girl said she, and her friends heard the sound of a man coughing nearby, then she was scratched by an unseen hand along her neck. Two other girls reported being scratched on their neck a few hours later.
Something unseen liked to brush up against unsuspecting visitors as they toured the USO during the experiment.
One participant, who had merely come for a friend’s birthday, described feeling the sensation as though someone placed an icy-hot packet along her back. After a few minutes, she started to get really itchy.
She asked her sister to look at it, and her sister found a long scratch running vertical along her back.