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  • Susan Stoderl

A Sophia & Pedro Short-Short Story | The Case of the Golden Gate Ghost Busters

Wreck of the SS Tennessee

Sophia and Pedro are waiting at the Union Square stop for the Ghost Tour bus with their pink-haired author friend.

"My guidebook claims that there are over one hundred fifty shipwrecks within a 950 square nautical mile area around the Golden Gate Strait, which lies between the San Francisco and Marin peninsulas. Some think it's closer to three hundred."

"That’s a lot of potential ghosts!" said Pedro, looking up from his book.

Sophia continued her mini-lecture. "The Golden Gate Bridge was built in 1937 to span the strait. It's known for its strong currents, dense fog, and rocky shores. On dark foggy nights, there have been reports from people on the bridge and sailors on ships seeing a steamship with two masts sailing on the waters. It's believed to be the SS Tennessee that ran aground on March 6, 1853. Sometimes cries are heard coming from the ghost ship."

"It says here that the steamer sailed between Panama and San Francisco, making stops at Monterey, San Diego, and Acapulco. There was dense fog, as it approached the opening to the Bay of San Francisco, strong currents swept it north so that it missed the entrance. By the time the lookout spotted the rocky shore, it was too late to reverse course. The area came to be known as Tennessee Cove."

"Five hundred fifty passengers, including one hundred children, were rescued, as well as 14 chests of gold, and 200 large bags of mail containing some 70,000 letters. And, they think that Levi Strauss was one of the passengers. He traveled on the steamer from Panama to San Francisco, the financial center for the gold rush, to open a West Coast branch of their family dry goods store. No Levi Strauss—no blue jeans! A serious loss to the world of fashion." Sophia was very fond of her blue jeans, especially the vintage bell bottoms.

"Jeans are a definite necessity, but I have a question. If they saved all the passengers and crew, then who is crying from the phantom ship?" asked Pedro.

"Aha! Those ghosts are busted!"


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