In Season 9, Episode 7 of Ghost Adventures, Zak Bagans and his investigative crew take a trip to Fort MacArthur located in San Pedro, California. The fort has a long and interesting history as it is also the site of the infamous “Battle of Los Angeles”. Could the location still be inhabited by spirits of the dead?
Originally named after Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., the fort was first established in 1888. The fort was designated to be a military reservation, but in 1914, it was quickly converted into a coastal defense site. It then served as protection for the coastline throughout World War I and World War II.
Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 sightings of Japanese submarines and aircraft were being reported from everywhere. Hysteria ran rampant during that time and sightings were reported all up and down the California coast making the military authorities nervous and jumpy.
When reports of enemy submarines torpedoing two military batteries off the coast Redondo Beach, CA. came in, that only made the situation worse. One of the attacks took place on February 23, 1942, and it was thought that the submarine had been sunk, as no one reported seeing it again. However, two days later and in the wee hours of the morning, Fort MacArthur fired a barrage of heavy gun artillery into the sky without hitting anything. No debris was recovered either. Conflicting reports about what really happened or what was seen by witnesses caused many to believe the incident was an over-reaction by the fort’s occupants.
The event occurred February 25, 1942, a little over two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor which made American citizens jittery, to begin with. Then added to already shredded nerves, was a report that military radar tracked something in the air about 120 miles west of Los Angeles.
When all was said and done, over 1,400 shells had been fired at ‘whatever’ was in the sky. Yet, no debris or wreckage was ever discovered or found. Sixty-seven years later, no one is any closer to knowing what really happened that night. Some reports say that the unknown object was a weather balloon. Except, no confirmation was ever given by either the military or local meteorologists of that fact nor was any debris of a weather balloon ever found. Nevertheless, the question remains: What really happened that night?
Upon learning of this strange piece of history, the Ghost Adventures crew go out in search of answers. They look towards the fort’s spirits as the entities themselves may have been witnesses to the Battle of Los Angeles.
Zak Bagans and the Ghost Adventures’ crew investigate Fort McArthur
Zak Bagans starts his investigation like most others by getting background information on the fort’s history, as well as any details about the mysterious event in Los Angeles. The first thing that comes to light is a suicide that also happened at the fort. Could this poor soul be one of the spirits haunting the fort?
A local photographer shared her experiences from past visitations, but only a dubious coughing sound was recorded. Bagans informed the viewers that it had been revealed to him that the Fort’s occupants had all come down with Bronchitis at one time. The ominous coughing heard by Bagan’s crew may have been a residual of those who died from the disease.
To gather further evidence, Bagans interviews Joe and Vici Ruffalo about their findings during one of their own investigations. Joe and Vici are local paranormal investigators, with Vici claiming to hear the spirits. She states that one of the spirits gave her his last name “Radcliffe.”. While questioning the spirit, the Ruffalo’s captured an EVP of the spirit saying his first name is “Ashley.”
The Ruffalo’s provide evidence showing that there was an Ashley Radcliffe stationed at the fort during WWII. Vici goes on to state that she saw a full body apparition of a man in uniform wearing a small brimmed hat.
To confirm the information provided by the Ruffalo’s the Ghost Adventures crew employed the skills of psychic’s Marti and Michael Perry. Marti is a spirit artist who draws the portrait of whatever spirit Michael is communicating with. Both connected with two male spirits and one of them was in uniform which seems to corroborate the information that Vici Ruffalo received. Michael was led by one of the male spirits to a quartermaster’s room filled with uniforms. Unfortunately, all communications ceased with the spirit once in the room.
SUBSCRIBE TO HULU NOW: Plans start at $5.99/month!
Armed with background information about the fort, and the information provided through interviews, the Ghost Adventures set out on their investigation.
With a spirit box in hand, Bagans points to the portrait of the older man Marti drew and asked, “What is your name?” The box replied “Jason.”
Now, this is where the evidence digresses from the information reported by the interviewees. All parties are reporting they are getting two male spirits and Marti drew the portraits of two male spirits. In theory, the two male spirits should be Ashley and Jason correct? Except that Vici reported that she was in communication with a spirit who killed himself, referring to the 2009 suicide. The person who supposedly committed suicide, however, was named Joseph Kelly. He was 44 when he died and his obituary picture doesn’t match either of the portraits. Kelly was not a military man either, he worked for the Long Beach Symphony.
As for Ashley Radcliffe, he was born in 1926 and stationed at Fort MacArthur the duration of the war plus six months. In 1944 that would make Radcliffe only 18 years old. The men in the portraits are older than 18 years old, so neither picture is of either Radcliffe or Kelly. This begs to question who the men in these pictures are.
While there’s no denying that Fort Macarthur is haunted, the findings published by other paranormal investigators has triggered a level of doubt. It’s now directed viewers to the fact that the two portraits of supposed spirits aren’t what they seem. Because of that, we’re unsure of what to trust.
Do you think Fort MacArthur is haunted or have false findings lead paranormal investigators on pointless chases? Let us know in the comments section below.
Ghost Adventures is currently streaming on Hulu. New episodes air Sundays on Travel Channel. For more on Ghost Adventures, follow us on the Hulu Watcher Twitter Account @HuluWatcherFS or on the Hulu Watcher Facebook Page.