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Strange Hauntings in the Frigid Badlands of Antarctica

The bleak southern continent of Antarctica conjures up images of hellish, frozen landscapes inhospitable to life, a realm not of this world and certainly not meant for human beings. This is a at once a majestic place that draws us in, but alas also seems to be a place not really meant for us, an unexplored domain that for the most part pushes us away, and indeed all life. Yet we have been drawn to this place for years, and it has often posed as a last frontier of the earth, with many dying in the process of trying to tame this land, and for all of its harrowing foreboding, Antarctica sure does seem to have its fair share of haunted places.

One creepy supposedly haunted place in Antarctica is not really much to look at, just a ramshackle abandoned house left out to the elements crouched on the appropriately named forsaken Winter Island, in the Argentine Islands archipelago. The house, officially called British Faraday Station, or Station F, was built in 1947 by James Wordie, who had been chief scientist on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 – 1917 Endurance Expedition, for use as an observatory and base for researching geophysics, meteorology, and ionospherics. It would be used for decades before being abandoned when main operations moved to a larger base on adjacent Galindez Island. The original Wordie House still stands as an unused husk like a ghost in the snow, and by all accounts it has its own literal ghosts.

Wordie House

The few who have been here to experience the haunting say that objects within the house will move on their own, shadow figures are seen to prowl about, and that a strong presence can be felt lurking in the murk. There have even been reports of lights seen turned on in the house, which should be impossible since it no longer has any power source. The Wordie House was most famously investigated by the TV show Destination Truth, with the crew experiencing quite a bit of weirdness while there, including objects falling off of shelves, doors slamming shut on their own, and the curious sound of a light switch being feverishly flipped back and forth from an area of the house where no one was present, as well as the sense of a heavy, menacing presence that everyone could feel. It is unknown who these ghosts could be, but the house was built on a previous base that was washed away by a tsunami, so perhaps this could explain it.

Incidentally, Destination Truth also investigated an abandoned whaling station in Antarctica at a place called Deception Island, which was left to rot after the Great Depression when oil prices fell. The crew would see strange apparitions, light orbs, and also hear inexplicable voices. The crew also heard loud bangs that could not be accounted for and spotted a shadow figure skulking about. As evidence they provided a supposed thermal heat signature of something anomalous lurking near a window when nobody was there, and they also heard what they took to be a Morse code SOS signal being tapped out. Creepy things to experience when one is literally thousands of miles from the nearest semblance of civilization out in this cold starkness.

A perhaps even more intensely haunted place in Antarctica is Ross Island, which was the scene of tragedy in 1979. At the time, Antarctica was a rather popular destination for brave tourists who were looking for a bit of adventure and something different. On November 28, 1979, a New Zealand sightseeing plane carrying 257 people took off towards Ross Island, but things were seemingly doomed from the beginning, as it was carrying a crew who had little experience flying in Antarctic conditions, the flight data was mistaken, and visibility was poor. While lowering the plane through overcast skies so that passengers could see the Ross Ice Shelf, the pilot made an error of judgment partly due to the bad data, and took the plane far below the minimum allowed altitude, which due to the low visibility caused him to realize all too late that they were headed right towards the side of the volcano Mount Erebus. The plane would spectacularly smash into the mountain at full speed, killing every last person aboard.

Mt. Erebus

The numerous dead bodies were retrieved from the frozen barren wasteland and kept at McMurdo Station, an American base on the island and the only inhabited place there, before finally being shipped back to New Zealand. With so much tragedy surrounding the accident it is perhaps no surprise that the place is supposedly haunted. Visitors and staff at McMurdo Station tell of seeing the ghosts of the flight victims wandering about aimlessly over the frozen tundra or appearing within the base itself, as well as hearing disembodied footsteps, voices, or even eerie moaning and screaming. These wraiths never seem to actually interact with anyone, and it has been speculated that they perhaps don’t even know they are dead, or are mere memories somehow imprinted onto the landscape like images onto film. Whatever the reason, it would certainly be a spooky thing to see shambling over the frigid, lifeless landscape in one of the most remote, inhospitable places in the world.

Another allegedly haunted spot on Ross Island is a place called Scott’s Hut, which dates back to the days of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his doomed 1911 Terra Nova Expedition, which took place between 1910 and 1913. The tragic expedition, led by Scott, was of a scientific nature, and also aimed to be the first to reach the geographic South Pole, but not only did they fail to be the first, but the entire team died during the ordeal out there in the bleakness far from home. It would not be until 8 months later that any signs of the men would be uncovered in the form of remains, photographs, and journals, one of which was Scott’s, and in which was written the haunting final entry dated March 2, 1912, which reads:

Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more. R. Scott. Last entry. For God’s sake look after our people.

Scott’s Hut

Among the things found left behind was a ramshackle, makeshift cabin, not more than a hut thrown together with wood, junk, and prayers, that Scott had built out in the bleak, rocky moonscape of Cape Evans, used as a launching point for their final failed bid to reach the South Pole. After the death of the Terra Nova Expedition, the hut was used by the wayward, shipwrecked Ross Sea Party from 1915 to 1917, and then it was abandoned to become a spooky part of the landscape. Scott’s Hut still stands today and has gone on to become an important historic monument.

It is also considered to be intensely haunted, especially in the vicinity of a memorial cross set that was set out by the Ross Sea Party in the ice not far from the cabin to commemorate three of the men who died at the hut. Not only are there said to be the ghosts of these members lingering about the cross, but this cross is also said to draw the wandering spirits of other explorers who have died trying to reach the geographic South Pole of Antarctica, as if it is some way station for the dead. The hut itself is also said to be permeated with a sense of stifling dread and inhabited by shadow figures and various anomalous noises such as footsteps, voices, and the sounds of something dragging over the floorboards.

The haunted cross

Abandoned huts on the remote Ross Island seem to be prime haunting locations, because another one is a hut built by Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton for his 1907-09 British Antarctic expedition. Shackleton’s hut, like that of Scott, is also considered a historic monument, and is remarkably well-preserved, with even cans of food and other items set up or stored as if someone might come home at any minute. It is also said to be very haunted, and the paranormal phenomena here were even experienced by none other than famed New Zealand adventurer and conqueror of Mt. Everest Sir Edmund Hillary, who actually claimed to have seen Shackleton’s ghost there. He would explain of his bizarre encounter:

I remember when I first went to Shackleton’s hut—and I’m not a person who really sees things very much—but I went inside the door … when I opened the door—it’s a rather sort of bare hut inside—but I distinctly saw Shackleton walking towards me and welcoming me and then it all sort of flashed away and he was gone. It’s the only time I can ever remember something occurring like that, so I have a very warm feeling indeed for Shackleton and for his hut and I really believe that those huts, Shackleton and [Robert Falcon] Scott’s, must be preserved.

Even out here in this windswept unforgiving realm of ice, wind, and lifeless plains and mountains, there seem to cling ghosts in some form or another. The elements and harshness of the terrain seem to do little to deter them, and they purportedly exist out here far beyond civilization, mulling about and lurking in a possibly eternal loop that not many people will ever even be aware of far from the trappings of modern life. It seems especially lonely, and these spirits cling to an existence beyond our understanding, in one of the most inhospitable, remote places on earth.