The most extraordinary and credible research into the ghost phenomenon ever documented is the so-called “Ghosts of Flight 401.” On December of 1972, an Eastern Airlines Tri-Star jetliner, Flight 401, crashed into a Florida swamp. The pilot, Bob Loft (on the left), and flight engineer Don Repo (on the right), were two of the 101 people who perished in the air crash. Not long after the crash, the ghosts of Loft and Repo were seen on more than twenty occasions by crew members on other Eastern Tri-Stars, especially those planes which had been fitted with parts salvaged from the Flight 401 wreckage. The apparitions of Loft and Repo were invariably described as being extremely lifelike. They were not only reported by people who had known Loft and Repo, but their ghosts were also subsequently identified from photographs by people who had not known Loft and Repo.
The strange tales of the ghostly airmen of Flight of 401 circulated in the airline community. An account of the paranormal happenings even appeared in a 1974 US Flight Safety Foundation’s newsletter. John G. Fuller, the best-selling author of The Ghost of Flight 401, carried out an exhaustive investigation into the hauntings with the aid of several cautious airline personnel. A mass of compelling testimony was produced as a result. The website Flight 401 – The Black Box Story provides an account of the crash as told using material from the Black Box. It highlights how poor cockpit resource management caused a tiny light bulb to distract the pilots and bring down a Tristar jetliner.
The cause of the crash was found to be a couple of minor design faults in the controls, and Lockheed rapidly corrected them. However, it was after some of the undamaged parts of the aircraft were subsequently recycled onto other planes that the mysterious incidents began to be reported. Although Eastern Airlines refuses to discuss the matter, researchers have interviewed numerous individuals claiming to have encountered the ill-fated pair on L-1011s. As the reports would have it, Loft and Repo have devoted their after-lives to watching over the passengers and crew of these Lockheed passenger planes.
Many of the testimonies are extremely persuasive. Many come from people in highly responsible positions: pilots, flight officers, even a vice president of Eastern Airlines, who allegedly spoke with a captain he assumed was in charge of the flight, before recognizing him as the late Loft.
Other sightings are convincing because they have multiple witnesses. A flight’s captain and two flight attendants claim to have seen and spoken to Loft before take-off and watched him vanish – an experience that left them so shaken they cancelled the flight.
One female passenger made a concerned enquiry to a flight attendant regarding the quiet, unresponsive man in Eastern Airlines uniform sitting in the seat next to her, who subsequently disappeared in full view of both of them and several other passengers, leaving the woman hysterical. When later shown a sheet of photos depicting Eastern flight engineers, she identified Repo as the officer she had seen.
Another incident occurred when one of the L-1011 passenger planes that had been fitted with salvaged parts was due for take-off. The flight engineer was mid-way through carrying out the routine pre-flight inspection when Repo appeared to him and said, “You don’t need to worry about the pre-flight, I’ve already done it.”
Repo and Loft are apparently not content merely to be present on these airplanes. Often their style is far more hands on, particularly in Repo’s case. Aside from his appearance to a pre-flight engineer who he appeared to have been assisting, there is testimony from a flight attendant who observed a man in a flight engineer’s uniform, whom she later recognized as Repo, fixing a galley oven. The insistence of the plane’s own flight engineer that he had not fixed the oven, and that there had not been another engineer on board, would seem to lend weight to her claim. Repo was also seen in the compartment below the cockpit by a flight engineer who had accessed it in order to investigate a knocking he heard coming from there.
On another occasion, Faye Merryweather, a flight attendant, saw Repo’s face looking out at her from an oven in the galley of Tri-Star 318. Understandably alarmed, she fetched two colleagues, one of whom was the flight engineer who had been a friend of Repo’s and recognized him instantly. All three heard Repo warn them to, “Watch out for fire on this airplane.” The plane later encountered serious engine trouble and the last leg of its flight was cancelled. It is interesting to note that the galley of Tri-Star 328 had been salvaged from the wreckage of flight 401.
The sightings were all reported to the Flight Safety Foundation (an independent authority) which commented: “The reports were given by experienced and trustworthy pilots and crew. We consider them significant. The appearance of the dead flight engineer (Repo) … was confirmed by the flight engineer.” Later, records of the Federal Aviation Agency recorded the fire which broke out on that same aircraft.
One of the vice-presidents of Eastern Airlines boarded a Miami-bound TriStar at JFK airport and spoke to a uniformed captain sitting in First Class. Suddenly, he recognized the captain was Loft, at which point the apparition vanished.
Another incident occurred when Repo appeared to a captain and told him, “There will never be another crash. We will not let it happen.”
A female passenger found herself sitting next to an Eastern Airlines flight officer who looked pale and ill, but would not speak; she called a stewardess but before the eyes of several people, the man disappeared. The woman was later shown photographs of Eastern Airlines engineers and she identified the man as Repo.
Unfortunately, further research into the well-witnessed paranormal incidents was severely hampered by the airline company which steadfastly refused to co-operate with the ghost investigators.
Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 left New York’s JFK airport, bound for Miami International Airport, on December 29, 1972. The Lockheed L-1011 carried 163 passengers and 13 crew members. The flight was under the command of Captain Robert Loft, 55, a veteran Eastern Airline plot. His flight crew included First Officer Albert Stockstill, 39 and Second Officer (flight engineer) Donald Repo, 51.
The flight departed at 9:20 pm and crew and passengers enjoyed a routine flight until 11:32 pm. At this time, the flight was near its destination in Florida and the crew began to prepare for landing. First Officer Stockstill noticed that the landing gear indicator did not illuminate. The other crew members assisted Stockstill, but became distracted by it. While the crew was focused on the landing gear indicator, the plane crashed.
Stockstill died on impact as the plane crashed into the swampy Florida Everglades. Captain Robert Loft and Second Officer Donald Repo survived the crash, briefly. Captain Loft died before he could be pulled from the wreckage. Officer Repo died the next day.
Of the 176 people on board, 101 died.
The Ghost of Flight 401
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJt0oSpYJM8]Frank Borman, prior to becoming CEO of Eastern Airlines, arrived at the scene after the crash to assist with rescue efforts.
Over the next several months, the employees of Eastern Airlines began to report sightings of the dead crew members Loft and Repo on board another L-1011. Parts from Flight 401 were reportedly salvaged after the Flight 401 crash investigation and refitted into another L-1011 in service. Ghostly sightings began to be reported by those who knew Loft and Repo. Eastern’s management threatened dismissal to those caught spreading “ghost stories”, it was said.
By this time, the rumors of the haunting had spread far and wide. Television and books told the stories of the ghosts. By this time, Frank Borman was the CEO of Eastern Airlines. Borman called the stories of a haunting “garbage” and considered suing the producers of the 1978 made-for-TV movie The Ghost of Flight 401 for libel.
Despite this, former Eastern Airlines employees still insist to this day that they saw the ghosts of Loft and Repo on board the other L-1011. Parts were said to have been removed from the plane. After the parts removal, there was no further mention of any more appearances by Loft and Repo.
After the 1972 crash, it was discovered that the indicator light that distracted the Flight 401 crew was caused by a burned-out light bulb. The landing gear could have been manually lowered with or without the light. The crash was due to the error of the crew. It is said that this is the reason Loft and Repo haunted Flight 401 – to keep future flights safe from human error.
The Ghosts of Flight 401
Over the following months and years, employees of Eastern Air Lines began reporting sightings of the dead crew members, captain Robert Loft and second officer (flight engineer) Donald Repo, sitting on board other L-1011 (N318EA) flights.
Parts of Flight 401 were salvaged after the crash investigation and refitted into other L-1011s. The reported hauntings were only seen on the planes that used the spare parts. Sightings of the spirits of Don Repo and Bob Loft spread throughout Eastern Air Lines to the point where Eastern’s management warned employees that they could face dismissal if caught spreading ghost stories.
While Eastern Airlines publicly denied some of their planes were haunted, they reportedly removed all the salvaged parts from their L-1011 fleet. Over time, the reporting of ghost sightings stopped. An original floor board from Flight 401 remains in the archives at History Miami in South Florida.
The story of the crash and its aftermath was documented first in John G. Fuller’s 1976 book The Ghost of Flight 401, and later in Rob and Sarah Elder’s 1977 book, Crash.
Two made-for-television movies based on the crash were aired in 1978: Crash of Flight 401, aired in October, was based on the Elders’ book, and dramatized the crash, rescue efforts and NTSB investigation; while The Ghost of Flight 401, aired earlier in February, was based on Fuller’s book and focuses more on the ghost sightings surrounding the aftermath.
Eastern Air Lines CEO (and former Apollo astronaut) Frank Borman called the ghost stories surrounding the crash “garbage”. Eastern considered suing for libel, based on assertions of a cover-up by Eastern executives, but Borman opted not to, feeling a lawsuit would merely provide more publicity for the book. Loft’s widow and children did sue Fuller, for infringement of Loft’s right of publicity, for invasion of privacy, and for intentional infliction of emotional distress; but the lawsuit was dismissed and the dismissal upheld by the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal.
Musician Bob Welch recorded a song on his 1979 album Three Hearts titled “The Ghost of Flight 401”.
The crash also appeared in a Season 5 episode of Mayday (also known as Air Crash Investigation). The episode was titled “Who’s at the Controls?” (In some countries, the title “Fatal Distraction” was used.)
The flight was also mentioned in Season 1 episode 4 (entitled Phantom Traveler) of the television show Supernatural.
This Tiny Island in Maine Is One Horror Story After the Next
What could be so scary about an island just barely off-shore? There’s no space for grass, trees, or any other plant life trying to break through the craggy terrain of Boon Island, just six short miles off the southeast coast of Maine. The sight of mainland’s shore—easily visible from the island—is perhaps the most frightening feature of the watery pile of granite that snares sailors like flies in a spider’s web. Marooned just a stone’s throw distance from civilization could drive anyone to madness or gruesome means of survival. Boon Island has seen all that and more.
Boon Island is older than colonial America, its recorded “discovery” dating back to at least 1682, when the trading vessel Increase wrecked against its rocky peaks. The four survivors, three white men and a Native American, survived by eating fish and gull’s eggs. Bitter cold and violent, the breaking waves of the Atlantic kept the survivors firmly in place until a month later, eyes trained on the mainland shore, they watched smoke curling over Mount Agamenticus. Quickly, the sailors built their own fire as a signal.
Native Americans, for the millionth time in history, graciously came to the rescue of the white men seeking to loot the land. Boon Island’s namesake was supposedly born of these survivors—their rescue a “boon granted by God,” though the island and appellation appear in shipping records prior to the Increase’s deliverance under different spellings. The island’s next “boon” would require more than a sacrifice of human life—it would require the surrender of humanity itself.
The British ship Nottingham Galley shipwrecked on Boon Island on December 11, 1710. Fighting starvation and a brutal winter, the few survivors resorted to eating their dead, all the while watching the mainland, just out of reach. Despite their gruesome account upon rescue—and the subsequent practice of local fisherman leaving barrels of provisions on the island for the inevitable use of shipwrecked sailors—it took another 80 years before the erection of a lighthouse. A wooden tower, it survived just 5 years before the brutal Atlantic winter storms took it down, when frothing waves hurled boulders across the bedrock like skipping stones.
A year later, in 1805, the project began anew, this time with stones as foundation for the tower. The three workers tasked with its construction drowned upon their returning sail home—just miles from shore.
Grieving Widow’s Island
The nineteenth century brought many iterations of a lighthouse that would not stand on Boon Island, with many men tasked with keeping the windy, damp rock well-lit. One legend tells of the newly wedded keeper who brought his wife to the island, where he fell ill and died during a nasty squall. Despite her grief, his widow climbed the 168 stairs to light the lamp for the remaining days of the storm.
When mainlanders noticed the tower going unlit, they voyaged to the island to investigate. There, they found her deranged with grief and wandering the rocks in hysterics. Though she made it back to mainland, she died just a few short weeks after her return.
The Coast Guard keepers who maintained the tower in the 20th century tell of “a sad faced young woman shrouded in white” who haunts Boon Island. Local lore supposes she is the ghost of the mistress of the captain of the Nottingham Galley, while others (rightly) claim she is the widow, returned to the island in search of her fallen husband. Bob Roberts, who worked as a Coast Guard keeper in the 1970s, frequented the island and described “strange events” that he couldn’t explain:
“One time, [Roberts] and fellow crewman Bob Edwards were off the island fishing, and they drifted too far from the island to make it back in time to turn the light on before dark. There wasn’t a person on the island, but somehow the light was glowing brightly by the time the keepers returned. On other occasions [Roberts] and others heard doors mysteriously opening and closing. When we would go to turn on the fog signal, he felt as if ‘someone was watching.’”
On another occasion, Coast Guardsman Dave Wells was doing routine maintenance on the tower when his Labrador retriever became spooked. The dog “chased something from one end of the island to the other and back again.” There was nothing he could see, though the dog continued its hunt.
“We figured the island must be haunted, but nothing ever bothered us,” says Wells.
In the 20th and 21st century, the lighthouse changed ownership almost as many times as it replaced its keepers. In 1978, when an ocean storm launched boulders across the granite island, the two men who would be the island’s final keepers narrowly escaped a stormy death in the tower. The roiling sea damaged the fuel tanks, helicopter pad, generator building, boathouse, and boat launch. It was finally decided that the station should be automated.
In 2012, Boon Island Lighthouse was put up for sale by the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 to “eligible federal, state and local agencies, non-profit corporations, educational agencies, and community development organizations to be used for educational recreation, cultural or historic preservation purposes,” but no one bid for the accursed tower—cultural posterity be damned. Online auction of the tower brought a bid by a real estate developer for $78,000, who somehow managed to flip it. The current owner, Boon Island LLC, is registered in Wilmington, Delaware, and Boon Island and its lighthouse sit abandoned and watchful, providing automated light flashes to passing ships and a strange gravitational pull to sailors who try to pass it.
There are no tours of the lighthouse. The only way to explore the lighthouse is arriving by air or sea, but do yourself a favor and enjoy it while you remain firmly planted on the mainland.
Gorgeous Haunted Houses and their Haunted Histories
Stately Southern mansions, vibrant Victorians and even well-cared for Colonials can harbor undead inhabitants and boast spine-tingling tales of ghosts, murder and intrigue. Read on to learn about five of America’s loveliest yet most haunted houses below.
The Winchester Mystery House
Winchester Mystery House, Copyright Winchester Mystery House
The House of the Seven Gables
Bogdan Oporowski/Wiki Commons
Learn More: Visit Myrtles Plantation
5 Most Common Signs that you’re living in a Haunted House
Do you have a strange and eerily feeling that you could be living in a haunted house? Do you hear footsteps, whispers, screams, and moans when no one is around? Do you feel that someone is watching you from behind? In this article, we will provide you the 5 most common signs that can help you determine if your house is haunted.
According to the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), there are signs that you need to consider if you feel you’re living in a haunted house. We will discuss these signs below and you can use them as a guide to find out if ghosts, demons, and other unknown entities live in your house.
5 Signs that your Home could be Haunted
Electronics and Lights Turn On and Off
Ghosts and spirits tend to like lights and electronics. One of the most common signs that you’re living in a Haunted House is the unexplainable on and off electronics and lights.
If you’re happily watching a TV program and suddenly your TV flickers on without you touching the remote control, this could be a sign that there’s a ghost in the living room. However, before you conclude that the there’s a ghost in your house, make sure to check if your TV is in excellent condition. To confirm if some unknown entity is turning on and off the lights or electronics in your home, you must experience it fairly often. You should also check if your appliances and light cables are not malfunctioning. If everything is in the perfect state and you still experience the lights and electronics turning on and off by themselves, then that’s a definite sign of a haunting.
Persistent Baffling Noises and Movement
Based on personal accounts of people who once lived in alleged haunted houses, moving objects, doors banging, footsteps echoing, whispering and screaming are widespread haunting occurrences. If you suspect your house is haunted, you should hear subtle or even loud unexplainable noises. You should also see objects moving on their own. If you see and hear these things in your place, then there’s no doubt that you’re living in a haunted house.
Sometimes you might not see moving furniture or objects in your house. You might only hear the hinges of your door swinging and upon checking, your door is securely closed. You can also discover a door that was supposed to be closed, but upon inspection, it’s wide open.
For the spooky noises, you can hear screams or someone whispering behind you. These can happen any time of the day, regardless of what you do in your house.
An actual encounter with ghosts, spirits or unknown creatures and entities are strong pieces of evidence that your house is haunted. Ghostly apparitions are common to alleged haunted houses as stated by paranormal investigators or people with sixth sense or third eye. However, seeing actual ghosts for ordinary humans like us is a rare phenomenon, so if you see a floating silhouette or a misty entity in your house, that’s a solid proof of a haunting.
Ghosts can take many forms. They can look like normal human beings or just an unrecognizable cloudy and misty shape. They can also appear and disappear in a matter of a few seconds. Also, they can lurk around your house whenever they wish to. You can see them in a mirror or pass through a solid wall. Some of them might be harmless, but other ghosts are in evil or demonic state. Therefore, once you see an actual ghost, it’s best to ask from a religious group, or paranormal authorities.
Feelings of being touched and watched
Feelings of being watched and touched are also common signs that indicate your house is haunted. If you feel like someone is looking at you in a particular area in your home at a specific time, this could only mean a haunting phenomenon.
On the other hand, feelings of being touched are one of the strongest indicators that there’s a spirit or unknown entity in your home. You can feel a light brush on your skin or a tap on your shoulder. You can also experience serious physical assaults, like scratches, slaps or hard push. This kind of touch is quite disturbing, and you should consider leaving your house right away to prevent any serious injuries.
Temperature Fluctuations from Too Hot or Too Cold
Changes in temperature from to hot or too cold is one of the most common signs that you’re living in a Haunted house. If an area in your house becomes too hot or too cold for no reason, and you feel some heavy or chilling atmosphere, then you’re most likely living with a supernatural being. However, a hot temperature is not as ordinary as the cold temperature occurrence in haunted houses.
In the paranormal world, the changes in cold temperature is called cold spots. Cold spots are areas in your house that you’ll feel an extremely chilly feeling and you’ll likely have goosebumps.
Other signs that indicates you’re living in a haunted house includes peculiar pet behavior, disappearing object phenomenon, and inexplicable shadows. One of the worst sign that we hope you wouldn’t encounter is the body possession. This means, a spirit has taken over your body.
If any of the above signs are present in your home, make sure you consult paranormal experts and your religious sect. They can help you in getting rid of the ghosts or spirits. They can also help cleanse your home from evil entities. In addition, we advise you that before you buy a house, do some research on the house history and previous owners. These are sometimes the key to unexplainable haunting activities in your home.
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