Atwater, CA

This "boring Atwater tourist trap" is one of the scariest places you can go in California

Evie M.

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Air Force One at Castle Air Museum in Atwater, CATaurusEmerald on Wikimedia Commons

Before anyone says anything, I do not consider the Castle Air Museum to be a "boring tourist trap". I have personally worked there when I was younger, and it is far from it. But as kids growing up in Atwater/Merced (AKA "Merdead") all the majority of us knew is it looked like a dusty plane graveyard rather than a place filled with incredible history, bravery, sacrifice, and apparently some ghosts. I have heard it dozens and dozens referred to a "boring tourist trap" when it is in fact the one place you should run to when visiting Atwater/Merced.

I will explain why.

Why is the Castle Air Museum considered to be so haunted?

I first learned about the ghost stories when I went to work at the airfare museum in my early twenties. In fact, I had been recruited by the museum for the first year of the haunted event they attempted to put on. (I'm not entirely sure if it's still running, I hope it is, but at the time we hid behind cardboard boxes placed along the trail of planes.)

I distinctly remember my new boss telling me all about the one haunted plane out of the sixty housed at the museum. Located at 3605 Bellevue Rd. in Atwater, CA, the Air Force Base is more than a staple part of the atmosphere while driving along the highway to town—it's quite a large part of U.S. History in general, with planes all the way from one of only 19 surviving SR-71 Blackbirds to one of the Air Force Ones. Super cool.

But the plane of interest around those parts was a Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Discovered along with three other planes and transported from China Lake Naval Weapons Center, "Raz'n Hell" and the other planes were reconstructed at the base museum in Merced.

As I walked with my boss along the gravel path, letting him give me a quick rundown of where I'd be jumping out and scaring people, he'd stopped right in front of "Raz'n Hell" and told me, "this airplane is insanely haunted."

He then pointed the dark cockpit of the plane and proceeded to tell me all the different encounters people have had with the supposed ghost, who they call "Arthur". Apparently, the ghostly shenanigans started even before the plane arrived at the museum. While preparing to be transported to Castle Air Museum from China Lake, a hatch with both heavy pressure and a broken hatch "banged open and shut multiple times all on its own". From then on, reports came in of hatches closing and shutting without any assistance, the landing lights going off and on though they had no bulbs installed, propellers moving though they were "locked in place." People have heard knocking and seen the co-pilot window open and shut.

Terrifying, right? Well, the air museum is very proud of its ghostly guest, and welcomes all visitors who might want to take a look at this creepy plane to get a gauge of the energy for themselves. What's great about the museum is even if you're not into ghosts, there are 59 other incredible planes to learn about.

Even before I knew the plane was haunted, I got a serious vibe.

I'll definitely have to go back home and take another look soon, though. My only question is: who's coming with me?

Edit: I was talking with my dad about the Air Force Base today and learned about the haunted barracks. Sadly, construction to have them torn down and replaced has begun, but maybe the ghosts will transfer over. All the more reason to go and visit.

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"Reader beware, you're in for a scare!--R.L. Stine"

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