GALVESTON — The USS Cavalla has been attracting a new kind of visitor: ghost hunters.
After hours, when all the other visitors have left, paranormal investigators have been setting up to record video and use other equipment to explore the submarine for activity that might be considered ghostly.
The ghost hunters were at work on a recent evening, but that wasn’t the first time paranormal investigations had used the museum as a hunting ground. The museum in turn uses the video images in advertising for a Halloween event it hosts every year, said Aubrey Flaherty, assistant curator at the Galveston Naval Museum.
But reaction to the investigations, which have taken over the World War II-era submarine for two weekends this month, has been mixed, Flaherty said.
Some people find it disrespectful to veterans and a mockery of the ships and their historical significance, she said. But the museum’s staff members, some of whom are veterans of war, don’t see it that way, Flaherty said.
The museum, which manages the Cavalla and the USS Stewart displayed at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, is willing to try different things to draw traffic to its historical attractions, she said.
Annette Luevano of Texas Ghostly Gatherings has visited the Cavalla three times with small groups looking for evidence of paranormal activity. The groups set up equipment to test vibrations and the temperature, along with shooting video to observe activity, she said.
She claims they’ve identified something each time. Dramatic drops in temperature, increased kinetic energy and unexpected sounds, like that of a dog barking, Luevano said. On a recent visit this month, the group was sure they’d seen a spirit, a shadow of a person playing checkers, she said.
Most things are subtler, she said.
“It’s not going to be like on TV where things are moving and there are loud voices,” Luevano said. “It’s not nearly as glamorous as people might think.”
Flaherty has never experienced anything she considers paranormal — and that’s OK with her, she said.
“I’m here for the history aspect, not the paranormal aspect,” Flaherty said.