ALAMEDA -- The USS Hornet Museum will host a paranormal conference this weekend -- including an overnight investigation of paranormal activity -- in hopes of raising up to $10,000 to help students learn about science, technology, engineering and math aboard the aircraft carrier.
"That's our goal with the youth of today," said Heidi Schave, the Hornet's education manager. "Without public transportation, it makes it hard for schools."
At the museum, students can connect the math and science they are learning in the classroom to activities and work outside the classroom. Elementary schoolchildren learn about weather and aviation. Older students delve deeper into the sciences.
Some may question whether the USS Hornet Museum is haunted, but Sommer Carter, of Alameda Paranormal Researchers has investigated the Hornet. She and her team say they've seen apparitions and recorded electronic voice phenomena, or EVPs. Even some of the staff on the Hornet said they have seen apparitions or heard things that cannot be explained.
The conference speakers include Schave, Carter, Bill Murphy from the SyFy Channel's "Fact or Faked" show, Paul Bradford from Ghost Hunters International, parapsychologist Pamela Heath and "Dead Explorer" YouTube sensation Alejandro Dominguez.
Speaking before the conference, Murphy said paranormal is a side of normal. He said once something is proven, it becomes normal -- which is true with any science. The conference is open to three levels of participation. Level 1 is the daytime conference, dinner, and three hours of paranormal investigation. Level 2 includes lunch, a six-hour overnight paranormal investigation, overnight accommodations aboard the ship and breakfast. Level 3 includes only the six-hour investigation, dinner, overnight accommodations aboard the ship and breakfast. Overnight guests will sleep in real World War II-era bunks.
Guests have nothing to fear from potential spirits. The Hornet's community events manager, Madeline McEntyre, said the spirits are friendly. Schave said many claim the spirits are crew members from World War II, while McEntyre said the spirits are happy the ship has been saved from the scrap yard.
The Hornet is docked at Alameda Point, the site of a former U.S. Naval Air Station. Parking is free across the pier from the museum. For safety reasons, no one younger than 12 is allowed at the event and youths 18 and younger must be accompanied by a paying adult.
The conference staff is encouraging guests to bring any equipment they have to record the presence of supernatural spirits. And guests staying overnight should bring a sleeping bag and toiletries as needed. Admission to the conference includes admission to the museum as well as vendor booths and exhibits. Schave is expecting about 100 people at the event.
"It's a fun investigation," McEntyre said.
What: Grey Ghost Paracon and Overnight Investigation Conference 2013, a paranormal conference and educational fundraiser for the museum's STEM program
Where: USS Hornet Museum, Pier 3, Alameda Point
Tickets: Range from $100 to $175