It all started when we, the Zombies of Gilligan’s Island, took second place at the Monster Bash aboard the aircraft carrier Hornet on Halloween. Our prize was tickets for 4 for the overnight History Mystery Tour on the Hornet in February 2012. So we got a couple of extra tickets, Bernie brought his cousin Danni, and we went, not knowing quite what to expect. There were several others on the tour, mostly experienced ghost enthusiasts. They prefer the term “paranormal investigators” giving themselves the sound of legitimate scientists. They and the Hornet guides were overflowing with stories of sightings and events that confirmed for them the notion of ghosts.
Some of the investigators had fancy equipment – special infrared lights and cameras, audio recorders, and EMF detectors (ghost meters) to detect electromagnetic fields that occur when a ghost is present. I bought a ghost meter from Amazon at the last minute too to see what I could see. Ginger had downloaded a ghost detector app for her smart phone that was quite impressive. Yes, “They’ve got an app for that” too. It showed a little radar screen with ghosts showing up as blips, and it spoke random words as the ghost tried to communicate with us. (Earlier a ghost near Jeff’s truck helped us find a burned out fuse that had disabled his taillights.) It turns out the Hornet folks supplied a variety of ghost gizmos too. Martha was given a night vision thingie, and some others were lent EMF detectors, better than the one I had, since they got readings and I never got a dang thing.
We broke into groups and our guide asked if there were any skeptics among us. I confessed sheepishly and he asked that I keep it to myself. He led us around the ship telling us ghost stories and visiting the ship’s hot spots. Sick Bay was first, a favorite place for sad stories and ghosts. The beds there looked more comfortable than the berthing area racks we had been assigned. We spent some time there in the dark and the more enthusiastic among us seemed to get readings on their meters. The guide entered into twenty-questions type conversations with ghosts who responded to him through his EMF meter. E.G. “Did you serve on the Hornet in the 50’s?” with a measurable reading indicating a response of “Yes”. A lot suspension of disbelief was going on among normally intelligent people.
We visited the CPO Mess, where we sat at tables in the semi dark. Occasionally the EMF meters would show a reading and a twenty-questions conversation would begin. The guides had flashlights, the kind you turn on by twisting. The lights were set so they would be almost on and almost off, then placed on the tables. Occasionally the lights would come on spontaneously and it was postulated that a ghost had done it, otherwise how could the light possibly have come on “by itself”. The guides and others did more ghost questioning with the answers indicated by whether the lights had turned themselves on or off. On one occasion, Bernie’s twist flashlight came on when some of our group rose from the table to leave. In amazement, they sat back down, and low and behold, the light went out again. It seemed clear to everyone but me that there was a ghost who was aware of their presence. I kept quiet, and only responded vaguely when asked if I was convinced by this undeniable evidence.
Overall it was an interesting experience and a great opportunity to see normally inaccessible parts of the giant warship. And it was a fun and convivial night. For ghost detection I could see how people do suspend rational thought very easily when going along with a group. Martha had expected to have more tangible evidence of ghosts based on stories of people being touched, etc. but the flashlights turning on and off were enough evidence for her and the others.
Panorama of engine room..
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