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SOMETHING IN THE AIR?
There have been many sightings of ghostly apparitions and reports of unusual occurrences relating to the battles in the sky. Here are just a few.
THE PEAK DISTRICT
On the night of October 1982, a couple parked by the side of Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District saw a plane flying low over the water towards them. It was a bright night, and as it got closer to them they saw that it was a World War II Lancaster Bomber.
Fifteen years later in 1997, two friends were in the same area, hoping to get a decent view of the Hale-Bopp comet. Instead, they saw a plane which appeared to be flying almost at ground level. A little while later, another couple heard what seemed to be the sound of an aircraft exploding and they actually saw a flash in the sky. They alerted the emergency services and an extensive 15-hour search was carried out involving helicopters, mountain-rescue, police and tracker dogs. They found nothing.
The whole area has been the site of at least 50 plane crashes over the years, many of them during World War II. Local people believe that the ghostly apparition is one of these planes, namely the World War II Lancaster Bomber known as Vicky the Vicious Virgin. This plane had seen active service for three years during the war but crashed on a routine training flight over the Moors between Sheffield and Manchester in 1945, killing its crew of six. It is thought that it is this incident that has been replayed from time to time to amazed onlookers.
RAF MUSEUM COSFORD
The RAF Museum at Cosford has paid host to a non-paying visitor as the World War II Avro Lincoln B11 bomber housed in Hangar Three was thought to be haunted by the ghost of a former serviceman while it was being restored.
The airplane in question was in service from 1945 to 1963. It never actually saw active service but was part of the Bomber Command Bombing School in 1957. On 30th April 1963 it was flown to RAF Henlow, which was the last ever RAF Lincoln flight, and was transferred to Cosford in 1968.
The identity of the ghost is unknown although it is thought to be the ghost of an airman killed in 1943 in a Whitley bomber, a plane that used the same type of engine as the Lincoln. One of the engines from this bomber was dug up and brought to Cosford about 23 years ago and laid in the hangar in question for a couple of years. It was when this engine was moved that the strange visits started taking place.
It was over 20 years ago when the plane was being restored that those working on it first became aware that some very odd things were happening. The figure in question never spoke and only showed himself to the team of museum volunteers working on the plane in order to help them in their task. The weirdest thing was that all the materials that they needed in order to return the plane to its former glory mysteriously turned up - no matter how rare or unusual they were.
For example, a type of wire was completely unobtainable until a coil of it was found in the corner of the hangar. The bulbs used inside the plane were obsolete until someone turned up with five and just as the workmen were debating what to do with a transformer that was too small, someone came and offered them one of the right size.
The ghost is also said to have protected the people working on it. There were a number of accidents while the renovations were taking place but no one was hurt. These include someone falling 15 feet to the concrete floor and not even being shaken up, while another hit his head on the propeller blade and felt nothing. Another who had a spinal injury from an incident at home fell from high up on the plane. He thought that he was really in trouble this time because his previous back injuries meant that he could not support himself. Miraculously, he felt his hand being guided to a rail that he didn't know was there.
There were also a number of sightings including a face at the window, legs poking out from where he was working, and general feelings of a ghostly presence.
Although the crew were a little apprehensive and said that they wouldn't like to be left alone in the hangar at night, they all felt that the apparition was their friend who worked with them and protected them. As such, they turned down an offer from a vicar to have the spirit exorcised!
LINCOLN AVIATION HERITAGE CENTRE, EAST KIRKBY
The Lincoln Aviation Centre is housed on what used to be an operational airfield and many of the airplanes that crashed in the area around the centre during the Second World War are now housed there. Unsurprisingly, there have been a number of ghost sightings there and a psychic has even contacted a number of dead airmen that are residing there.
Sightings vary from the figure of an airman near a hangar that looks as if he is trailing a parachute to simple but powerful feelings and voices. One of the owners heard a voice in his head telling him to get out of the control tower while he was painting it and on a different occasion, another member of staff had to run out of the control tower in fear after feeling that the mood in there had significantly changed. More frightening is that his colleague was unable to move and remained rooted to the spot calling for assistance.
RAF MUSEUM HENDON
The long and isolated Galleries 3 and 9 of the RAF Museum in Hendon are said to be haunted by the ghost of a man, thought to have been killed during the construction of the museum in the early 1970s. Noises, usually crashing and banging, are quite often heard during the night.
The ghost of a Spitfire has often been heard as it is about to come into land at Biggin Hill and on one occasion, it has been seen.
COVENTRY, WEST MIDLANDS
During World War II, Coventry was bombed continuously for nights on end and which caused utter devastation. A medieval church was destroyed and the sound of bomber engines has been heard over that area.
Manchester bombers were based at the now abandoned airfield at Bottesford during World War II. A ghost of one of them has reportedly been heard flying over it.
WEST MALLING, KENT
Quite an unusual apparition has been reported at this airfield - that of a phantom brick! It is said to hit vehicles from out of nowhere and is thought to be a replay of an incident during the Second World War when a Spitfire pilot crash-landed and was killed after a brick flew through his windscreen.