The Aeronautical Hall Of Horrors!


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: 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 to World War I

Scissor-wielding gremlins were known to cut the wires, sabotage engines, instruments, and 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 the 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 had 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's speeches

Herb Robredo didn’t believe in ghosts — until he met one...
It happened on a hot and muggy July night last year. Mr. Robredo and two other aircraft mechanics parked a T-43 training jet on the Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, flight line. He’d been “riding the brakes” inside the plane. Before getting out, he went to check a light that hadn’t turned off in the back of the plane. Halfway there, a blast of cold air hit him. He felt a weird chill. That’s strange, he thought, because the plane’s air conditioning was off.
“My skin told me something wasn’t normal,” Mr. Robredo said. He decided on a hasty exit.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a shadowy figure staring at him. It spooked him. But it was dark, and he thought it was a co-worker who’d hitched a ride. Still, he sensed something wasn’t right. He got goosebumps, and the hair on the back of his neck stood on end.
“There was a man in uniform looking right at me,” he said. “I got this eerie feeling.”
The man was sitting with his legs crossed and his hands clasped around his knee. Confused, Mr. Robredo didn’t want to look straight at the apparition. His heart raced, and he missed most of the stairs on the ladder as he flew off the plane.
“I know what I saw,” he said. “It was definitely a person looking at me.”
The problem is, there was nobody else on the plane. At least not alive.
Was it a ghost? Yes, Mr. Robredo said. His buddy, Mike Monsalvo, agrees. The two maintain the jets used to train navigators. That night, they’d worked on the plane with tail number 1154 — the same as Mr. Robredo’s identification number. Coincidence?
But it was Mr. Monsalvo who first saw the “visitor.” He’d walked through the plane while it was still parked in the hangar. He saw a tall figure standing at a training station, staring at him.
“I swear I saw a man — wearing glasses — glaring at me from a console,” he said. He, too, beat feet for the exit. Mr. Monsalvo blamed fatigue for what he’d seen. And, once outside, he didn’t tell his pal of his experience. “He probably would have thought I was crazy.”
The next day, Mr. Robredo went to order a part for the plane. The man who orders the parts, Allen Kirsh, sensed something was amiss. He asked the normally talkative mechanic what was wrong. Mr. Robredo told him of his encounter. Strangely, Mr. Kirsh had a friend at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., who’d worked on the same plane. So, without telling Mr. Robredo, he e-mailed his pal to relay the story and ask him if anything strange had happened on the plane. The friend replied that, in 1982, a crew chief died of a heart attack on the plane while on a training flight. The news stunned Mr. Robredo.
“I knew it had to be the crew chief I’d seen,” he said. “Who else could it have been?”
The mechanics know “something’s in the plane.” Is it haunted? Maybe, they said. But neither says it’s an evil spirit. Mr. Robredo believes the phantom Airman watches over aircrews.
“Just a dedicated crew chief who’s still on the job,” he said.
by Louis A. Arana-Barradas

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!




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