As ghosts go, Arthur isn't the kind that requires a call to Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.
The folks at Castle Air Museum don't want to "bust" Arthur, but they wouldn't mind if someone could get him to clean up his messes.
Arthur is the name locals gave to the ghost who many believe haunts the B-29 Superfortress at the museum.
His is just one of several ghost stories that appear in ordinary places, from a mysterious helper at Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto to a frightening apparition in Knights Ferry.
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Arthur makes himself known in various ways — drivers going by on Santa Fe Avenue report seeing lights in the plane, which doesn't have power. According to museum caretaker Donna Ebersole, he's shown up in photos.
"We had a family here take a picture of their son in front of the plane," she said. "When they got their film developed, there was a man standing behind him."
And he doesn't contain himself to the Superfortress bomber, the only model used to drop atomic bombs in war (the Enola Gay was a B-29). He gets out to mess with the staff.
"I was outside cleaning screens. There wasn't any wind or anything. He decided to knock 'em over, one by one," Ebersole said.
Museum volunteer Janie Sundgren said Arthur also occasionally turns lights on and off, knocks plaques off the wall and sends papers flying off desks.
Nobody knows who Arthur might be — a pilot from one of the three B-29s used to assemble the museum's aircraft, a victim of one of its bombs or a passing ghost who liked the look and feel of the plane.
Margie Sue Brogdon tells of another ghost who liked to mess things up, only her unnamed ghost occasionally helped clean, as well.
In 2003, Brogdon worked in the GNC store at Vintage Faire Mall. One night, after drawing down the large metal door to close, she saw a woman walk in front of her.
"I started to go after her and tell her we're closed, but there's nobody there," Brogdon said.
Other employees told her the store had its own ghost, which would move around the products on the shelves or knock over displays.
Brogdon said she'd see the ghost every once in a while.
"She wore a yellow shirt and she had short, reddish-brown hair," Brogdon said. "She looked like maybe a 1970s-era teenager."
Once, during a big sale at the store, Brogdon went to clean up a flaxseed display, which had drawn people all day who left bottles in disarray.
"I could hear things moving around, and I thought, 'Is that in the store next to me?' " Brogdon said. "It sounded like click, click, click. The little hairs were going up on the back of my neck. When I got over there, it was all cleaned.
"I said out loud, 'Thank you.' "
Not all the area ghosts are so helpful.
Jessica Steele wrote to The Bee about her grandfather, who might have returned after five years to protest his wife's plan to remarry.
A couple of nights before the wedding, the family heard a crash. A photograph of the grandparents had fallen off the wall for no reason.
"My mom thought it was a spooky coincidence and doesn't know whether to brush it off or take it as my grandpa trying to tell us something," Steele said.
This wouldn't be a ghost story without a truly scary tale.
Vince Flammini said he and his buddies used to take girls out to the covered bridge in Knights Ferry on full-moon nights.
"At about midnight, you'd look back and see someone hanging in there. It'd give you goose bumps," said Flammini, now 71. "I've seen it myself several times 30, 35 years ago."
Flammini said it might have been an optical illusion created by the moonlight reflecting off the water, but it didn't seem like it. "You'd swear somebody put a dummy up there. But I'd go back there and look and there were no dummies there."
As for the girls he and his friends took there, Flammini insisted, "they loved it. But they would not go back. ... It scares the tar out of you."
One of Modesto's ghost stories met a sad end of its own.
A length of cloth woven on an antique loom at the McHenry Museum in downtown Modesto continued to grow, though nobody operated the loom. Unfortunately, the loom, believed to have been used on a local ranch in the 1800s, was among artifacts stored in the old John Muir schoolhouse, destroyed by fire in 2007.
Want a chance to meet Arthur? Castle Air Museum is holding a "Late Night Fright" with food, music, haunted houses, candy and flashlight tours, today from 6 to 11 p.m. The museum is at 5050 Santa Fe Drive, Atwater. Admission is $5 at the gate.
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.