When it comes to having a good time, Fairfield’s Tashia Guinn prefers prowling the dank, darkened passageways of a decommissioned aircraft carrier to Disneyland any day.
The 19-year-old leukemia survivor got such a chance just last month after the Kids Wish Network arranged for her to join the cast of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” and explore the USS Hornet, a 67-year-old aircraft carrier that’s reputed to be the most haunted ship in the U.S. Navy.
Guinn was a 17-year-old senior at Buckingham Charter School in 2008 when she was first stricken by acute myelogenous leukemia. She collapsed at home and later was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Oakland, where she was diagnosed with the life-threatening form of cancer. It was there that her mother, Brandy, was told about the Kids Wish Network by a social worker.
The Florida-based charity grants the wishes of children and teens with life-threatening illnesses and, the organization reported, Guinn was clearly eligible for its services.
Guinn wanted neither theme park thrill rides nor the sunny beaches of a tropical paradise. She just wanted to meet the crew of her favorite TV program, “Ghost Adventures,” and perhaps accompany them on one of their investigations.
“The paranormal has always been a part of my life,” Guinn said. “There were a lot of stories from my family, but I’d never actually been on a paranormal investigation before.”
She got her wish — and more.
Not only did the Kids Wish Network start working on her wish to join the ghost hunters, a successful bone marrow transplant from her older sister, Keisha, also helped put her leukemia into remission.
In February, she and her family were whisked by limousine to Alameda, where she joined “Ghost Adventures” cast members Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin as they began their investigation into the haunting of the USS Hornet, a 1942 aircraft carrier that’s now a museum docked at the old Alameda Naval Air Station.
The afternoon was appropriately dark and stormy, and the “Ghost Adventures” cast was more than accommodating. They allowed Guinn to accompany them into the depths of the old Essex class carrier.
It was more than a standard meet-and-greet, and Guinn had an opportunity to participate in a search for paranormal activity inside the ship as the cast employed electromagnetic field detectors, infrared heat sensors and a specialized “voice box” for the use of any cooperative spirits they might encounter.
“I didn’t see anything, but we heard these really clear footsteps,” she recalled. “They sounded like military boots — but nobody was there.”
Hearing the ghostly footsteps, Guinn said, “was more surreal than anything — not scary — mostly just exciting.”
The “Ghost Adventures” crew, Brandy said, was great to her daughter and fun to be with.
When the USS Hornet exploration was complete, the trio showered Guinn with souvenirs from the program along with some of their standard investigative tools, including two types of electromagnetic field detectors, a temperature sensor and hands-free, triple-beamed flashlight.
High on the list of Guinn’s gifts was a silver Ghost Adventures Crew pendant presented to her by Bagans.
Although Guinn finds the field of paranormal investigation fascinating, she says her career options are still wide open. Among her interests are anthropology, animation and horticulture.