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.
Hank Rubner returned to the USS Lexington Dec. 5 nearly 70 years after he served as a bomber pilot during World War II.
Rubner flew off the aircraft Jan. 3, 1945 and dropped bombs on a Japanese cargo vessel bound for Taiwan.
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.”
History of the USS Lexington
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.
Commissioned in 1943, she set more records than any other Essex Class carrier in the history of naval aviation.The ship was the oldest working carrier in the United States Navy when decommissioned in 1991. 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.
Why the Lex is called The Blue Ghost
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.
Want to see the ghosts of Lady Lex yourself? Take a tour or investigate.
Are you interested in seeing if Lady Lex is really haunted? Now, you can.
Take a paranormal tour of spaces around the ship that have reported sightings or activity. From the engine room to the upper decks of the aircraft carrier, see for yourself if there’s something to the ghostly tales.
Visitors interested in participating in the ghost tour can contact the sales office to schedule their arrival time after 5 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and participants must be 18 years and older.
If touring the World War II aircraft carrier is not enough to have you convinced, the museum offers an overnight experience for anyone interested in serious “ghost hunting.”
A group of eight can investigate the ship using their own methods and equipment at night when the ship is closed to the public.
The investigation will begin with a briefing by the ship’s paranormal investigator who will guide you to the sites of frequent anomalies. The command center will be in the ship’s galley area, but you choose where to set up your remote investigative equipment.
Paranormal investigators are asked to bring their own flashlights.
Guests can reserve their group tour at the sales office at 361-888-5873 ext. 305. The cost is $75 per person and $25 per guide. Participants must be 18 years and older.