The SS Watertown Faces

The SS Watertown Faces

In this article we will be covering the tragic death of James Courtney and Michael Meehan, and the paranormal activity that followed their demise.

The SS Watertown faces…

The SS Watertown 1924

Two crewmen of the SS Watertown were handed the routine task of cleaning an empty cargo tank in December, 1924.

It would turn out to be the last task either of these men performed.

During the job, an accident caused an increase in fumes within the tank, and both men were killed before any of their fellow crew members could reach them.

They were named James Courtney and Michael Meehan.

The crew found Courtney’s body draped over Meehan’s – a sign that Meehan had succumbed to the engine and oil fumes first, and Courtney had then made a desperate attempt to drag him out of the tank.

The two men died when the Watertown was halfway through it’s route from New York City towards the Panama Canal, so the captain opted to bury the men at sea.

During their service the captain asked his crew if they would like to say any last words about the men – they remained silent.

Was this a sign that James Courtney and Michael Meehan were not exactly the most popular of sailors?

Was their unpopularity the reason behind them being given the messy and unpleasant job in the first place?

The SS Watertown Ghosts

Throughout the weeks that followed their burial at sea, the crew started to report seeing the faces of James Courtney and Michael Meehan in the water and waves around the ship.

Their ghostly faces would suddenly pop up from beneath the waves, and just float there, staring for about five seconds…before disappearing.

The SS Watertown Ghosts

Before long, the captain himself witnessed this paranormal activity, and decided to report it to his superiors.

It didn’t go down too well, and he was ridiculed by just about everyone he knew!

He decided to get proof of this ghostly event, and purchased a camera to take on board the Watertown.

The Images

The captain was finally able to snap six photographs of the paranormal event at sea – he then sealed the camera, and the images safely, until he arrived at the next port of call.

When they were processed, five of the six images showed nothing but waves across the sea surface…but one had managed to capture the faces.

The image was tested by experts and found not to be tampered with in any way.

There has been several investigations into the photograph and many conclude the images to be genuine, Unfortunately, the negative went missing many years ago.

Surely, it would have been hard to fake this sort of image so well back in 1924?

What are your opinions on the subject?

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

10 thoughts on “The SS Watertown Faces

  1. This is such a freaky cool story!  I love it!  

    Is there more to the story?  I would love to know what happened to the ship or if any other Paranormal Experiences were noted somewhere? 

    I myself and some others I know have had many different kinds of Paranormal Experiences and continue to do so.

    1. Hi Marlene,

      I’m afraid this is all the information we could gather on this subject. If something new pops up – we’ll add it to the article in the future! 🙂

  2. I have always been facinated with the parinormal activitties. This is an interesting article. I can understand where they thought he had made that up, but back in those days, there was no Photoshop to enhance pictures, you really had to be an expert. 

    I believe the photo is real, but I wonder if two other men lost their lives for the photo’s creation, unless it is indeed an actual ghostly picture? I have seen so many questionable photos over the years. 

    Do you believe?

    Personally I am intrigued about this subject! I will be back to read more for sure!

    1. I tend to believe in a lot of what we post here Stacie – I am a geek after all! It’s interesting that you mentioned the men could have lost their lives trying to ‘stage’ the photo – a good angle!!!! 

  3. Hi there!

    It’s always interesting to know more about paranormal experience, there must be many of them that I never heard about.

    I’m glad I found your site today, I like to read about this topic once in a while and it’s quite interesting to know why it happens.

    It’s interesting to read your story about the SS watertown faces, was it the only time they have seen the faces in the water or do you know if they have been seen more times by other boats crew? it will be interesting to know.

    Well, thank you for sharing a good read to start my day, I’m sure I will come back to read more, already I added your site to my Pinterest account so I can find it later to read more. 

    1. Hi Alejandra!

      I’m afraid this was all the info we could gather on this particular subject. Thanks so much for adding us to your Pinterest board! 

  4. You are really a good narrator and this story kept me on my toes all through. It was so sad to read about the death of these two brave gentlemen James and Micheal. 

    I wonder why their bodies had to end up in the sea instead of a decent burial or may be this is what you are up next? I’m very poor when it comes to memorization of historical events but am so glad to see one person with an interest of such stories.

    I’m looking forward to your next story.

    Best wishes 


  5. Hello there,

    As a person who absolutely loves everything paranormal related, I am constantly on the look for new and exciting paranormal sightings with engaging stories. I am very glad I have stumbled across Your article because I can add new and interesting paranormal activity to my collection with very interesting details and story. Prior to this article I didn’t know nothing about The SS Watertown Faces, so it was very fascinating to read and learn about it. I can only image how cool, intriguing and thrilling it would be to see Jame’s and Michael’s faces ”pop up from beneath the waves and start staring” at me while I would be on my boat. I wonder, is this picture taken in 1924 is the only time when someone has witnessed this paranormal activity? Has anybody else during all of those years till now, have witnessed Jame’s and Michael’s faces? Thanks for the great article, keep up the great work! 

    1. I really don’t know Evald – I think it only happened over a short period of time after their deaths, but as I say – can’t be 100% sure! 

      It’s actually worth checking out in a quick Google search…

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