There are plenty of strange sightings of ghosts and mystery monsters on land or on sea, but one interesting area of such anomalous reports are those that happen under the waves in the dark waters of our planet. Here divers have come across a whole new world of the paranormal, cryptozoology, and other less definable mysteries, encountering things in the water that most would probably not expect to find there, things beyond our wildest dreams or even nightmares. From ghosts, to mermaids, to other strange creatures, here are some truly intriguing tales of the strangeness these divers have seen through their masks.

One very curious type of strange underwater encounter is that of what appear to be ghosts or spirits of some sort dwelling in the watery depths. Underwater is not the sort of locale one might usually associate with hauntings, but such reports are actually more numerous than you might at first think. Many of these phenomena tend to congregate around shipwrecks, and it seems that in a sense such wrecks are the haunted houses of the sea. By far one of the more well known and investigated such haunted sites is a place called called Chuuk Lagoon, also more commonly known as Truk Lagoon, in Micronesia, which when taken with its surrounding beautiful and picturesque azure waters seems to be a place far removed from ghosts, yet this is also a place with a dark history that stands in stark contrast to the bright tropical splendor to be found here.

During World War II, a massive U.S. led naval and air attack was launched here in 1944, in an offensive called Operation Hailstone, which sought to drive out the Japanese forces using Truk Lagoon as a base of naval operations and crucial stop-off point for supplies. Over two bloody days, from February 17 to 18, 1944, the merciless attacks would sink around 60 ships in the lagoon, including naval and merchant ships alike, as well as hundreds of aircraft, making it one of the largest underwater graveyards in the world. It is also estimated that around 3,000 people died in the attack, and considering the massive loss of life here and the rusted ships, tanks, and aircraft absolutely littering the bottom of the lagoon it is perhaps no surprise that it should be said to be quite haunted.

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Truk Lagoon

Divers to the site have reported coming across the ghostly sound of voices shouting out, shadowy figures in the water, and perhaps oddest of all a sunken Japanese ship called the Hoki Maru, which had been sunk with a shipment of trucks aboard and from which can be purportedly be heard the sounds of spectral trucks, grinding machinery, and engines revving. Other wrecked ships in the area reportedly produce the sound of mechanical grinding noises from engine rooms that have not been operational for many decades, and other anomalous noises of machinery or even human voices echoing out through the water. The lagoon was investigated by a team with the TV program Destination Truth, allegedly making recordings of what seem like the sound of long dead truck engines starting up, as well as a human voice calling out underwater, and the team even claims that they picked up the heat signatures of a human figure lurking in the wrecks even when no one else should have been there.

The undersea graveyard of Truk Lagoon is by no means the only reported instance of haunted shipwrecks. There is the 19th century wreck of the British mail ship the RMS Rhone, which was sunk in October 1867 in a hurricane near Salt Island, in the British Virgin Islands. Divers exploring the wreck often claim to see the unsettling sight of ghostly swimmers frantically swimming from the wreck towards the surface only to vanish midway. In the 1940s there was the 1942 case of the U.S. cargo ship the USAT Liberty, which was sunk by a Japanese torpedo in 1942, the wreck of which is supposedly haunted by a ghostly torpedo that flies at divers to startle them before disappearing.

Also from 1942 is the wreck of the American tanker S.S. Gulf America, which was sunk by a German torpedo near Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Its wreck is said to be prowled by shadowy shapes, specters, and disembodied voices. In 1956 the Italian S.S. Andrea Doria was destroyed and sunk after accidentally being hit by the warship M.S. Stockholm. Divers at its wreck are said to be constantly pushed, pulled, and poked by unseen hands, and human figures moving about in the murk are commonly seen. The site is also known for being plagued by an inordinately high rate of diver deaths, although whether this is due to its depth and location or ghosts is unclear.

Other ghostly dive experiences don’t seem to be tied to shipwrecks, but can be every bit as spooky. One such dive was recorded by a very unique group of Florida-based paranormal investigators that focus on underwater hauntings or curses, and which calls itself Paranormal Divers. The group delved into a supposedly haunted underwater cavern and came back with quite the story to tell. They were reportedly diving in about 130 feet of water in the flooded cavern of an undisclosed location, said to be the haunt of a ghostly drowned diver, when one of the crew started hearing unearthly screams emanating from the murky waters below. The frightened diver then whirled about to take photos, and captured what the group claims to be the very first photographic evidence of an underwater ghost, showing a seemingly spectral diving face mask hovering in the gloom. The group would say of the incident:

This is an image of a diver’s face mask frame, taken at 130 feet in a flooded underground cavern shaft. There was no diver present in the deep portion of the cavern during the time of this shot. Our photographer took the frame in sequence after the team heard screaming coming from below. We panned deeply and shot the black water and the source of the screaming voice…which was the EXACT site of a diver death. This is the real thing. To our knowledge, the first underwater ghost photo ever taken in history.

The photo in question is inconclusive to say the least. It certainly shows something hovering in the darkness that could be said to be a diving mask, but as to what its origins are it is hard to say. It could be a trick of light, another diver, or a ghost, and considering that we only have the word of the Paranormal Divers to go on, although it could be supernatural in nature we have no evidence at all that it is. In another report, a commenter on a scuba diving site gave an account of a harrowing encounter with the unexplained under the waves. The witness claims that he was out with two diving buddies in the Puget Sound, along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington, hunting for prawns at about 1 AM when something happened that none of them could quite explain. The witness says:

The creepiest dive of my life though, two buddies of mine and I were on a night dive in the Puget Sound hunting prawns. It was about 1 am and we're a good 100 ft deep, the pitchiest black you could imagine. We used to do this thing on night dives where we'd get in a circle, turn off our lights, then stir up the water and watch the bioluminescence float around us like floating stars in a black watery space. Beautiful. Only this one time we turn off our lights, stir up the water, and the water glows just enough to reveal a fourth person sitting in our circle.
We were at a dive resort so it wasn't so odd to see another diver, only it was 1 am — we'd seen no one else prepping a dive at the dock. He was also alone which was odd considering the dangerous conditions of a night dive in those waters, and he had no fins or gloves. I don't know how he swam so well without fins or didn't get hypothermia without boots or gloves. We wore drysuits because it was so cold but this dude was in a wet suit with exposed skin and we thought we saw a giant gash in one of the legs.
So the three of us all notice him and we're too fucking scared to move, I can hear my buddies panting in their regs (regulator breathing equipment), and the guy just smiles and waves, then swims away.

In yet another report first published in the Santa Rosa Communicator in 2011, a ghost was spotted in a so-called “blue hole,” or underwater sinkhole. Two scuba diving instructors were apparently carrying out a dive at the blue hole when they noticed something strange through the grate which supposedly keeps anyone from going down into the more dangerous territory of the hole’s deeper unexplored depths. There past the grating they claimed to have seen a solitary diver wandering about wearing a pink tank. At first they thought it was just another diver who had somehow managed to infiltrate past the security measures, but as they drew closer the mysterious diver allegedly vanished into thin air right before their eyes. When they asked the people running the hole if there was another diver there, they were told that they had been the only divers there all day. Apparently, it turned out that this had not been the first report of a mysteriously vanishing diver in the hole, and authorities would tell them that there had been at least five other similar reports from there.

Ghosts are certainly not the only strange thing one is liable to come across while floating through the waters of our world, and there are plenty of stories of mysterious creatures appearing to scuba divers as well. In 1988, a professional scuba diver named Robert Froster was diving near the coast of Florida when he noticed some strange disturbance in the water in his periphery vision. When he turned to see what it was, he saw a figure dashing through water that had been rendered murky and foggy through the stirring up of sediments. Whatever it was appeared to be undulating somewhat towards him, and when it got to within 20 yards the diver noticed that the thing had arm-like appendages that seemed to be tipped in talons and were reaching out towards him. As it drew closer still, Froster claimed that he could see that its top half had smooth skin, unmistakable breasts, and a head of flowing hair, while the bottom half was covered in scales. Whatever it was did not seem friendly, and the frightened diver would say of its gaze, “I’ve never seen such evil hate in the eyes of any human or animal before.” He was able to make it to the surface and aboard his vessel without further incident.

In another account from August of 1991, a diver was out in the water near Cape Aya, on the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine, in the Black Sea. He was about 100 meters off of the coast in calm seas under a full moon when he suddenly felt something poking at his shoulder. Turning around to see what it was, there was only the splashing of water all around. Thinking that his friends were playing a practical joke on him, the witness began to swim towards shore thinking nothing of it. That was when he experienced a strong strike to his shoulder, and this time when he turned around he was met with the sight of the face of a woman there in the water, although her eyes were described as being much larger than normal, and even creepier still she seemed to exude a bioluminescence.

The scared witness immediately made his way towards shore with as much vigor as he could muster, and behind him he could hear thrashing in the water, which he forced himself not to look back at, afraid of what he might see. As he drew near to shore, perhaps thinking that he was away from the thing that he had encountered, he felt another powerful jab to his shoulder, and he saw once again the face of the mysterious swimming woman, her eyes black and expressing what he called “disappointment.” The swimmer rushed onto shore screaming, and looking back he could purportedly make out a silvery body splashing on the surface to disappear down into the black depths. Although the terrifying experience was over, he found himself obsessed by what he had seen, even seeing the strange woman in his dreams, and felt compelled to go back several times to the same location but never saw her again.

Also from the Black Sea is an extremely strange report from the summer of 2002, near Odessa, Ukraine. In this account, three Ukrainian divers had headed out to go exploring a weird, crater-like hollow depression on the bottom that they had previously discovered in the area. As they approached the locale, they say they noticed an unusual cube-like structure encrusted with seaweed and shellfish upon the bottom, and they approached to try and pry some of the numerous cockleshells from it. As they did this, they claim that an ominous, resounding voice blared out from all around them, reverberating through the water to command them, “Don’t do that! Don’t do that!” over and over again.

As soon as this mysterious voice echoed out around them, the scenery shimmered and changed, with some sort of ancient ruins suddenly becoming visible to them, complete with classical Greek-style columns. Among these ruins were seen two bizarre humanoid beings, around 2.5 meters in height and just hovering there in the water without any discernible diving suits or breathing equipment, seemingly totally able to breathe underwater. All they wore were tight-fitting bodysuits of some sort, and they were near one of the ruins apparently studying it with some sort of circular object or device of some kind. Having seen enough, the divers made their way to the surface, where the previously calm sea was seen to be roiling and dotted with mysterious green lights glowing and flickering under the surface.

Another strange account of an encounter with underwater humanoids supposedly happened at Russia’s Lake Baikal in 1982. Navy divers in the lake on a training exercise reported coming across unknown human-like organisms swimming about at a depth of around 164 feet. The huge humanoids were described as being around 10-feet tall, and wearing some sort of skin-tight silver suits and round helmets on their heads. When the divers tried to pursue the creatures in order to catch one of them they fought back, and three of the Russian divers purportedly died as a result, with four others seriously injured, after they were propelled from the depths by a powerful, mysterious force, causing massive decompression injuries.

These would not be the only alleged giant underwater humanoids to be spotted in Russian lakes, and they were supposedly reported from all over remote waters at the time. Indeed, that very same year there was a training exercise of reconnaissance divers going on at Issik Kul Lake, a frigid, deep water lake in the Transiliysk Ala Tau area. This mission was supposedly actually warned about what had happened at Baikal, by a Major-General V. Demyanko, commander of the Military Diver Service of the Engineer Forces of the Ministry of Defense, USSR.

Such stories were further fueled by an account from a B. Borovikov, who came across such enormous underwater humanoids while diving in the Black Sea to hunt sharks in 1996. He claimed that as he was diving at a depth of around 8 meters in the Anapa area, he was terrified to see a group of massive humanoid creatures around 3 meters in length ascending from below. They were described as being milky white in color, with human-like faces but tails like fish. The entity in front reportedly saw Borovikov and stopped to stare with bulging, frog-like eyes, and another passed while waving with a webbed hand. The whole group approached until they were unsettling close, before suddenly darting off into the murk. Whatever these cases are describing, these accounts and more have been covered in some depth in a book by UFOlogists Paul Stonehill and Philip Mantle, called Russia's USO Secrets: Unidentified Submersible Objects in Russian and International Waters.

These are bizarre cases to be sure, but perhaps not quite as much so as what happened to a Russian submariner and diver named Nikolay M., as he was diving one day in 1997 in the Bay of Finland, in the Saint Petersburg region of Russia. Nikolay allegedly was diving in shallow water when he saw an elongated object on the bottom which was reminiscent of a cucumber. He at first took it to be a part of some sort of wreckage, and tried to get it to the surface by tying some old rope around it, but he was ultimately unable to budge the odd object.

Undeterred, he decided to actually haul it out with his car, which was on shore and not that far away. He retrieved a pneumatic drill in order to drill holes in the thing to attack a sling to it, but when he started drilling into the object it began to issue forth streamers of a thick dark liquid like oil, which crept out into the water. In spite of this startling development, he kept pressure on the drill to go deeper, after which it stopped upon hitting something within. At this point the object reportedly split open to regurgitate a bubble containing a humanoid creature with porcelain white skin and a bleeding wound where the drill had apparently hit it.

The creature did not seem pleased, and fixed the diver with a malevolent gaze, after which it lashed out with taloned hands to grab his arm and cut into his flesh. Nikolay then supposedly used the drill to bore into his attacker, after which it let go and he lost consciousness. The next thing he knew, he was being dragged from the water by rescuers. It was found that he had sustained deep cuts on his arm and lost a piece of his hand, but there was no sign of the strange cucumber object or its bizarre, unearthly occupant. What did this man see? Was it some sort of cocoon? If so, for what? Nobody knows.

It is hard to know what to make of some of these cases, largely due to the fact that they have taken place in a world that most of us never really see, under the vast waters of our world. While we may never be able to fully explain what has happened in any of these incidents, it does make it clear that beneath the sheen of our seas and lakes, lying down beneath where the naked eye can penetrate, there are sometimes incredible, even frightening phenomena lurking down below.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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