Creepy Mystery: The Unknown Sailor


In 1945, the US Public Health Service Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts primarily served to patch up wounded servicemen from the war. Given they were in Boston the bulk of these patients were sailors from the Navy. However, on a rainy night in February an unfamiliar ambulance dropped an unconscious man with shrapnel wounds off before speeding off. For the next three decades, this man would serve as a point of confusion and mystery for the hospital staff.

This man bore tattoos one would expect from a sailor, oddly though he had images of both the British and American flags. But the ink was faded, as this gentleman was much older than the usual sailors that passed, hospital staff guessed he was probably in his late 50’s or early 60’s. The man had no form of identification on him, the only thing doctors and nurses had to go on was that hte ambulance driver said his name was “Charles Jamison” before he left. Any efforts to track down this dive failed as no station in the region had any record of this ambulance or driver. They patched Jamison up and proceeded to try to figure out who he really was, this would be a job that would continue for years with no resolution.

Suffering with some form of amnesia after his recovery, Charles Jamison remained at the hospital. He rarely spoke and spent the vast majority of his time sitting in his wheelchair seemingly lost inside his own head. The local naval base did not have any record of a Charles Jamison being stationed there and nobody at any of the local docks knew who this man was either. The US Navy as a whole, only had one man by that name but he was accounted for as a rescued POW overseas. With those two dead ends, a nationwide media campaign was launched, putting Jamison’s face in newspapers across the country. Once again, this failed to turn up any leads. The fingerprint records of the FBI and military both turned up nothing on this mysterious patient. It was as if he had appeared from nowhere.

What made things even odder was that Jamison is definitely someone who would stand out, he was a large man with piercing eyes and distinctive tattoos. In 1953, Oliver C. Wendell, took over as director of the hospital. During his tenure in this position, he developed a word association game with Charles Jamison in an attempt to open up communication and possibly kick up his lost memory. The initial success eventually only led to more questions. Jamison claimed he had served in the Navy during the First World War onboard the Cutty Sark, conducting top secret missions. Not only did the British Navy have no record of anyone of his name during the war, but the Cutty Sark had been decommissioned for the past 50 years. Oddly enough Charles Jamison seemed to believe that Victorian era Prime Ministers of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone were still around. Even though they had passed away in 1880 and 1894 respectively. From here he changed his story, to serving on a ship in New Zealand, once again this turned up as a dead end.

The closest they ever came to discovering who Charles Jamison was came in 1956 when a man named, Frank J. Higgins swore, the mysterious man was a dead ringer for his father-in-law who had gone missing sailing to Newfoundland in 1941. But fingerprints proved that the striking resemblance was where the similarities ended. In 1975 Charles Jamison passed away with his true identity remaining a mystery. His obituary read that “interviews with him yielded only the information that he had no family, that he had gone to sea at age 13, and that he thought his ship had been torpedoed”. What the man known as Charles Jamison left behind was a tragic enigma of an unknown sailor who seemingly came from nowhere.