There has always been a lot of debate in both the scientific and the supernatural realm with regard to what actually constitutes a ghost. Some believe that they are souls that haven't, for some reason, crossed over to the other side. Those believing in this theory suspect that there is something that the dead left unfinished in life. Therefore, they can't cross over until they finish whatever their task.
Others believe that someone holds them back, not allowing them to cross over. It could be a loved one who can't let go of them, or it might be an enemy who seeks to block them from paradise.
Some believe that ghosts are nothing more than residual energy left behind at a place where something tragic occurred. They call it a "loop" in time and space that replays the incident over and over again.
Both theories have some credibility. It wouldn't be unnatural for any one to want to complete their purpose in life. It also makes sense that those who die a tragic death might leave behind some residual energy that is locked up in the place where the event occurred.
In the case of naval ship hauntings, the second theory would most likely apply. In most instances, the ships in question had not experienced any paranormal activity prior to the tragic event that jump-started it. Such is the case with the following:
The USS Hornet
Many ships have held the name of the Hornet, but it is the eighth in a long line of colorful and heroic ships by that name, that seems to bear witness to ghost stories. Many sailors lost their life aboard her. Some were, of course, as a result of battle. Others, however, were the result of other types of tragedy.
Accidents aren't uncommon aboard naval carriers, but it does seem odd that the Hornet experienced more than her fair share. Sailors were sucked into air intakes, blown of the deck by aircraft exhaust, and killed due to the carelessness of others. A few were even acts of suicide.
In her 27 years of active service, the Hornet lost 300 people. The majority of these deaths were battle related. However, the ship also holds a horrible title. It is known as the U.S. ship with the highest rate of suicide. So, it certainly seems plausible that such a bloody history might result in a ghost or two.
Over the years, both crewmen and visitors have made claims about the Hornet's ghostly activity. Some of the claims might be dismissed easily by other explanations. Things like objects falling off shelves, toilets flushing on their own, bangs and other sounds could have perfectly feasible explanations.
However, the same can't be said for the number of people who have witnessed full body apparitions. Doors opening and closing by themselves can't be easily explained away. Nor can tools that vanish in the midst of being used be easily explained. Especially when they are never found again.
Many of the same types of events occur aboard the USS Lexington. Although dry-docked in Texas, the ship turned museum seems to hold on to its illustrious military past.
It was nicknamed the "blue ghost" by the Japanese who claimed on more than one occasion to have sunken the ship only to watch it return yet again. The ship certainly had an illustrious military career, but it was also equally bloody with hundreds of sailors losing their lives aboard the carrier.
Tourists and staff alike have reported seeing and, in some cases, talking to sailors dressed in old-fashioned uniforms. Visitors at first assumed the beings were part of the "show" put on by the museum. However, after talking with others, they were surprised to discover that such individuals were aboard the ship.
Others swear to have seen a man dressed in full Japanese World War II regalia aboard the ship, sometimes in the company of another young American sailor. Again, however, no such individuals were hired to "entertain" visitors.
Still others claim to have witnessed a soldier moving through a wall of the ship, in the location where a doorway once existed. They also reported hearing footsteps, bangs, and clanks that sounded as though soldiers were at their work stations.
The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) checked out the Lexington themselves and managed to catch two different cases of vocal electronic voice phenomena. Oddly, both appeared to be female.
After extensive research, TAPS was able to discover that one female sailor had been killed on board the Lexington. Whether or not it was she who attempted to make communication with the group, no one can say.
If these ships are haunted, one must question why. Certainly, it seems feasible that they could have left behind some residual energy because of the bloody past of both ships. On the other hand, it could be that some of the crew continue doing in death what they did in life - - perform their duties on behalf of their country.
Certainly, it isn't a stretch for anyone who believes in ghosts to believe that they might also haunt ships. The real question lies not in the location of the ghosts, but in whether or not you believe in them at all. Those that do, will likely see the hauntings of the Hornet and Lexington as just another link the chain being forged as the ultimate proof.