John Wayne’s Haunted Wild Goose
A few weeks before Wayne’s death, in June of 1979, The Wild Goose was purchased by Lynn Hutchins, an attorney.
A few weeks after Wayne’s death, Hutchins discovered he was sharing The Wild Goose with the deceased actor.
Before the yacht was purchased by John Wayne, during World War II, The Wild Goose had been a mine sweeper. The Wild Goose had a twin, Calipso. This was the boat used by Jacques Cousteau in his sea adventures.
Evidently when Wayne realized he was dying, he made preparations to sell his beloved The Wild Goose to someone with whom he felt he was simpatico. Lynn Hutchins passed every test Wayne and his son, Michael, conducted.
Hutchins promised the Wayne family that he would keep everything on the yacht just as “Wayne had left it.”
The yacht is virtually a tribute to Wayne with his books, awards, and portraits still adorning the walls and shelves of the boat.
Additionally, soon after Wayne’s death, Hutchins started to feel that Wayne was compelling him to buy certain things for the boat such as a pair of brass lamps. A crew member who had worked with Wayne for years told Hutchins that the lamps were identical to ones that Wayne had once had hanging on the boat.
Early one morning in August of 1979, Hutchins walked out of the master bathroom and saw a “big, tall figure, this fellow standing right there in the doorway…with a little bit of a smile on his face.” The figure vanished. Hutchins said the entity was wearing a cowboy hat, and he is certain that this was his first encounter with John Wayne’s ghost.
Hutchins again encountered John Wayne one late afternoon in October of 1979. This time the deceased actor was in the main salon with Hutchins. The attorney got up from a table to walk to the mirrored bar and pour himself a drink. In the mirror’s reflection, twenty feet away, he saw Wayne standing next to the chair where he had just been sitting. Again, he was wearing a cowboy hat. John Wayne stood there for several seconds before vanishing.
As the months passed, Hutchins started hearing “footsteps on the deck whenever he spent a night on board the yacht.”
The heavy footsteps always started sometime between 2 and 2:30 a.m. and they walked up and down the deck. When Hutchins would investigate the sounds, he never found anything or anyone around. A crew member did tell him that “it was Wayne’s habit to walk twenty laps around the deck in the evening.” Guests aboard the yacht sometimes heard the footsteps also.
One time in February of 1980 during a catered wedding reception aboard The Wild Goose, the engines failed. This could be a very hazardous situation, but The Wild Goose “moved against the 40-knot wind and the ocean-going tide,” and headed straight for the former residence of John Wayne in Newport Harbor. Maybe the actor just wanted to see how things were going at home!
Hutchins is never scared around the ghostly presence of Mr. Wayne, and actually feels a “protective warmth” whenever he is around. Who wouldn’t? I mean…it is John Wayne for heaven’s sake!
Spaeth, Frank. Mysteries and Monsters of the Sea. NY: Gramercy Books, 1998.
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