Everyone's worst fears and phobias come to life during the Edson Incident this monthThe Bay City haunted attraction was voted best in Michigan in 2022

Once a year, the USS Edson transforms from a family-friendly, historical museum into a haunted Navy destroyer with an eerie history.

The USS Edson, docked in the Saginaw River near the Independence Bridge is the centerpiece of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum.

This month, thrill-seekers are invited to walk through five levels of stairways and halls of the Vietnam-era U.S. Navy Destroyer as they experience what the website promises to be "the horrifying effects of a military experiment gone haywire. As you journey through the 5 levels of this macabre vessel, be prepared to face your deepest fears and discover what lies in the bowels of hell itself."

The USS Edson earned a nickname in North Vietnam when smoke from a battle blocked the ship from view. It re-appeared weeks later, earning the moniker 'Grey Ghost of the Vietnamese Coast.' (Photo courtesy of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum)Wayne Miracle, who helps set up the haunted boat every year, says the attraction is intense. 

"We do try to to be scary, " Miracle says. "We're not gory. We just try to be scary."

Even if you've been to the haunted event before, organizers promise to deliver fresh scares.

"We change it every couple years," Miracle says. "Right now, it's the Ship of Nightmares. We have different areas with different phobias or fears that most people have."

In 2022, the Edson Incident received proof that the team has succeeded in offering fun scares when it was voted the best Haunted Attraction by Michigan Haunted Houses.

"After all the work that everybody puts into what we're doing, it's nice to know that people are enjoying it," Miracle says.

The USS Edson, located at 1680 Martin St., recommends visitors be at least 10 years old, but leaves the final decision up to parents and guardians.

The tours begin in late September and continue  on weekends throughout October. The schedule and option to buy tickets are available online.

The haunted house has become the no. 1 fundraiser for the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum. Additionally, Miracle says he's happy to see that the October event attracts young people onto the vessel.
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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at editor@RouteBayCity.com