Is Fort Morgan Haunted?


Johnson, Tim. Living Images. "Fort Morgan."


~The Ghosts
The rumor? "Fort Morgan is haunted."

There are those who believe that
Fort Morgan is haunted. There are reports of shadows moving across the arched tunnels walls at night and lantern lights moving throughout the fort. The Tennessee, the South’s most powerful ironclad, went down during the Battle of Mobile Bay along with the majority of her crew (Donovan 133). Soldiers who drown in the ribs of the Tennessee supposedly haunt the beaches near Fort Morgan, thus making the fort and the oceanfront below potential stomping grounds for supernatural enthusiasts.

While I was on field visits to Fort Morgan in September and October 2006, I was able to interview several people. In every interview I made sure to ask about the possible hauntings at Fort Morgan.

First there was the Powells whom I met in September onsite. The Tom and Sandy Powell are lifelong visitors of the fort. I asked Sandy if she had ever heard about the possibility of Fort Morgan being haunted, and if she had experienced anything unnatural there herself. Immediately she grinned and became more animated.

“I don’t remember any hauntings—but it’s a spooky place,” she told me excitedly. “It’s the way I felt there. In my mind you can see ghosts. People died and suffered there. Anywhere you go where people died, it makes it spooky. I think it could be haunted. I wouldn’t want to stay there at night.”

While I was interviewing my father about Fort Morgan, I asked him the same questions.

“So I’ve heard that Fort Morgan may be haunted. Have you heard anything about that?” I asked, grinning.

“Naw but, you know, when I was a kid and went in there, there was rooms that was dark, and you didn’t go in those.” He paused to look me in the eye. I knew the rooms he was speaking of, having shied away from them myself in the past. They were dark holes in the walls that were black enough to appear capable of sucking the sunlight away.

My father continued:

“You know it’s under ground sorta but it’d be dark and there’s no lights in there.... and  then they had certain places that you could walk through the dark place and come out on the lighted side of it, but it was sorta spooky goin’ in there.

“So,” I picked up on the pause, “it’s just kinda a spooky place to be in?”

“Yeah. Yeah, it was spooky.”

Smirking, I if he had ever been to Fort Morgan at night. Like the Sandy Powell, my father answered with an emphatic “Noooo."  

I found similar answers when I interviewed Michael Bailey, the curator of Fort Morgan's museum and Blanton Blankenship, the manager of the historic park for the state. Both men co-authored Fort Morgan along with Jack Friend and Dr. Bob England. These individuals  live nearby and work at the fort. I was sure if anyone was likely to have had a supernatural experience at Fort Morgan, it would be one of these two.

"I’ve heard that Fort Morgan is haunted. Have you heard anything about that? Is it really haunted?" I asked the two authors.

Blanton Blankenship laughed. "My line on that is nobody wanted to be here when they were alive, they’re NOT gonna want to be here after they’re dead."

Michael Bailey agreed. "I'’ve been through the fort by myself at night many times. I’ve never had any spirit talk to me."

I was slightly disappointed. "No dead Confederates?"

Mr. Bailey laughed. "No dead Confederates that we know. We know the ones that got killed. We know them by name! But no, never seen one [a ghost], never talked to one."

The last person I asked about the hauntings was Winnie McIntosh, who works admissions as well as at Fort Morgan's museum.

"Have you heard that Fort Morgan is haunted or have you had any personal experiences with the supernatural here?" I asked.

She gave me a grave look. "We have heard from different people. They come in, “I had an experience! I can feel them!” I think they’re a little bit strange. Because, I have been here all my life and never seen them [ghosts]. I have wandered through this fort as a small child and have never felt scared. This is not a scary place.

As for me, I don't believe the fort is haunted by the dead. I've never had experiences personally to proove me wrong. Instead, I believe that the history behind the fort is what makes the back of our necks tingle a little. Like Sandy said, it's the thought of soldiers living and dying there that can make the place feel different, even eerie.

~A note on Tim Johnson
[information below is taken directly from]

Tim Johnson created Living Images in 1994 by combining two loves: the Civil War and photography.

Johnson, who has had a strong interest in the Civil War since childhood, became a reenactor in 1978. His photographs, using fellow reenactors to make the "ghost" images, are taken at actual sites and carefully researched so they are historically accurate.

Johnson's work allows him to pay tribute to those from both sides who gave their lives, and his photographs are an extension of his love for a precious piece of our nation's heritage.