Sometimes, the unmistakable sound of a lone Merlin engine fills the air in the dark of the night, during snowstorms, heavy showers, fog and in all seasons over residents near the former RAF station at Biggin Hill, Kent. Locals are very familiar with the sounds of the rare engine even though the base was shut down long ago. There have been countless reports over the years where witnesses claim to have heard, and even seen, a lone Spitfire flying overhead. Amazingly, some of these witnesses have been Wartime Veterans, and pilots. Those of us who know the sound of a Merlin, know full well, it is not a sound to be mistaken for anything else. The question is not what engine is producing these sounds, the question is who is flying it.
According to past sightings, the Biggin Hill Spitfire is apparently seen around January, with the 19th your best chance to see the ghostly apparition in flight.
The legend of Clubfoot
Location: Binbrook - Former Binbrook RAF base.
Clubfoot was the unfortunate nickname given to an Australian who worked on Binbrook RAF airbase during the second world war. For reasons unknown, Clubfoot attempted to sabotage a Royal Air Force Lancaster Bomber, and in doing so, somehow mistakenly blew himself up. The legend of Clubfoot grew over time due to what, or who, many believed to be Clubfoot, appearing during the dark hours time and time again for many years after his death walking around on the perimeter road of the old base.
To this day...the sightings continue.
Gremlins: Their origin is found in myths among airmen of multiple nations, many of whom claimed that gremlins were responsible for sabotaging their aircraft in flight.
The term "gremlin" denoting a mischievous creature that creates havoc on board aircraft, originated in Royal Air Force (RAF) slang in the 1920s among the British pilots stationed in Malta, the Middle East, and India, with the earliest recorded printed use being in a poem published in the journal Aeroplane in Malta on 10 April 1929. Some sources even indicate that reports go as far back World War I
Scissor-wielding gremlins were known to cut the wires, sabotage engines, instruments, antennae as well as the aircraft fuselage on poor unsuspecting pilots . These stories even being shared by Spitfire and Hurricane pilots during the Battle of Britain. Flight crews continued to blame gremlins for otherwise inexplicable accidents and incidents which sometimes occurred during their flights.
Gremlins were also thought at one point to have enemy sympathies, but further investigation revealed that Axis aircraft had similar and equally inexplicable mechanical problems. As such, gremlins were portrayed as being equal opportunity tricksters, taking no sides in the conflict, and acting out their mischief from their own self-interest.
The Cosford Aerospace Museum Haunting
There is a well known and much talked about Avro Lincoln bomber located at the UK's Cosford Aerospace Museum. Over the years, there have been countless reported sightings of an apparition in and around the Lincoln aircraft, and most times, witnesses reported hearing perplexing sounds - some of which were apparently recorded during an overnight vigil inside the aircraft by a BBC reporter and a paranormal investigator.
During the course of the investigation, some of the sounds recorded by the BBC were played for some WW2 Veterans who actually piloted the Avro Lincoln Bomber. Much to the amazement of the investigators, the sounds were identified by ex-Lincoln RAF crews as those that would be caused by flight crews either going through the bombers pre-flight checks or during the course of a flight. The sequence, and timing of the sounds were precisely those that only a type specific trained crew would have been able to perform.
There have been numerous reports from former RAF Base, Montrose. A World War I trainee died while out on his first solo flight. Following the crash, his ghost was reported to have appeared in the base commander's room three times, before the room was locked up by the military, and not been used since. The ghostly crew member was also seen flying around in his biplane, up until the end of the Second World War.
A phantom RAF Officer was also seen around the base during the latter years of WW2. It was thought that he was killed when a mechanic with a grudge tampered with his aircraft's engine. The strange events continue to this day with continuous reports that an old radio set at the heritage centre continued to pick up Second World War transmissions, including Churchill speeches
An aircraft is never still in darkness to those who listen intently past the drone of the engines; there is a whispering in distant chambers. There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery.
From all of us at Sierra Hotel Aeronautics...Eat, drink and be scary!