There’s a reason why people have called the Lexington Museum on the Bay one of the most haunted places in America.
There are things that cannot be explained on the decommissioned World War II aircraft carrier, including ghostly touches and shadowy figures roaming the decks.
Charles “Rusty” Reustle, director of operations and exhibits, said the museum receives hundreds of reports of supernatural” activity each year.
Among the most famous sightings are a sailor dressed in uniform helping lost guests find their way back to the deck and a sailor in the engine room giving a lecture on how the turbines work before vanishing into thin air.
“They’re too many accounts that there has to be something to it,” said Steve Banta, the museum’s executive director.
Reustle said he has experienced several supernatural occurrences during his 26 years of working on the ship. “I’ve always been a skeptic, but there’s some things I’ve seen you just can’t explain,” he said.
The museum official said one of this best ghost stories involved losing six pen caps over the course of five weeks.
“I always use a ballpoint pen and over the course of a few weeks I lost about six pen caps off my desk,” he said. “The day I lost the sixth pen cap, I turned over my office looking for them. My office was spotless by the time I was through and I never found them.
“It wasn’t until I returned to my office the next morning that I found all six pen caps laying side by side right in front of my computer keyboard.”
Reustle said no one has ever been hurt by the ghosts on the ship. If anything, all of the occurrences have been playful not menacing.
Rene Moraida, the museum’s education coordinator, said officials have heard from security officers who heard running in the hangar bay around 3 a.m.
“The damage control officer said he didn’t see anything on the security cameras and went to see what the noise was coming from,” he said. “That was when he witnessed shadow figures running in chaos … the officer never came back.”
Bill Miller, volunteer and paranormal tour guide at the Lexington, said he believes what officers are witnessing at night are sailors running for cover after a torpedo attack hit the ship in Hangar Bay Three.
“They’re constantly doing the same thing over and over again … maintaining the ship,” he said of the ghosts he suspects roam the ship. “This was their home and they don’t want to go anywhere else.”
The World War II aircraft carrier was one of the oldest working carriers in the United States when it was decommissioned in 1991, according to the museum’s website.
An Essex-class carrier, the Lexington was originally named the USS Cabot. During World War II, final construction was being completed at Massachusetts’ Fore River Shipyard when word was received that the original carrier named USS Lexington, CV-2, had been sunk in the Coral Sea. The new carrier’s name was changed to Lexington.
After training maneuvers and a shakedown cruise, the carrier joined the Fifth Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The fleet was established on April 26, 1944 and was the Central Pacific Force. During World War II, the carrier participated in nearly every major operation in the Pacific Theater and spent a total of 21 months in combat.
Her planes destroyed 372 enemy aircraft in the air, and 475 more on the ground. She sank or destroyed 300,000 tons of enemy cargo and damaged an additional 600,000 tons. The ship’s guns shot down 15 planes and assisted in downing five more, according to the museum’s site.
The Japanese reported the Lexington sunk no less than four times! Yet, each time she returned to fight again, leading the propagandist Tokyo Rose to nickname her “The Blue Ghost.” The name is a tribute to the ship and the crew and air groups that served aboard her.
After the war, the Lexington was briefly decommissioned from 1947-1955. When reactivated, she operated mostly with the Seventh Fleet out of San Diego, California. The vessel was kept offshore ready to be deployed during tensions in Formosa, Laos, and Cuba.
In 1992, USS LEXINGTON became a permanent Texas resident! After the ship was decommissioned, a task force known as Landing Force 16 worked to move the ship to Corpus Christi. Many still enjoying this, very large, piece of history over 20 years later.
You may visit the USS Lexington museum they have it all set up tourists now. Although I did hear it can be quite hot inside the large ship, as most of it doesn’t have air access. Still seems like it’d be cool to visit just not in the Texas heat.