The Great Eastern was a haunted ship that was launched in 1858 and was said to be cursed. It dogged by misfortune from the beginning. Construction men fell to their death while working at deadly heights. Other gruesome accidents took the lives of other workers.
Construction of such a massive ship involved millions of hand-driven rivets. An estimated 1,000 workers were hired to comprise 200 “rivet gangs” to get the job done. Because someone small had to squeeze inside the narrow space between the double hulls, young “bash boys” were hired to do this work.
These boys spent 12-hour days in the space between the hulls, enduring the deafening thunder of the riveters’ hammers. After construction was completed, some of the men working as riveters could not be found. There were rumors that they had been accidentally sealed into the hull of the ship.
During the launch, a mooring cable snapped and killed a crewman. A disaster happened during the ship’s trials when a boiler exploded killing five workers. Another jumped overboard and was crushed by the ship.
The Great Eastern never lived up to expectations. The ship never carried a full complement of passengers. On its fourth trip it suffered severe damage in a storm at sea. In 1862 it struck an uncharted rock and tore open its hull. The ship was saved from sinking by its double hull, but the damage was costly. The ship continued losing money for its owners. Attempts were made to sell the steamer, but there were no takers.
The men who worked aboard the steamer complained of an eerie hammering noise constantly heard from far below decks. They said it often woke them from their sleep, and was loud enough to be heard during storms. It was said to be made by the ghost of one of the souls left trapped between the hulls during construction.
When the ship was dismantled for scrap, the skeletal remains of the riveters were found. This proved once and for all that they had indeed been sealed into the hull of the ship during construction and had starved to death. The rumors were true. Was this the cause of the ghostly noises heard on board?