Eastern Airlines Flight 401 (Crash; UL; Ghost Of Flight 401 Book; Movie)

Lord Lucan

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This is a great case, a great story too as aircraft don't have quite the superstitious or spooky goings on that ships do. Never had anything paranormal happen to me on a flight however, which I suppose IS a good thing.
On a slightly different aside, flying into Helsinki, Finland, we were greeted by this sign:
welcometohel.jpg


A few days later flying to Singapore we found ourselves flying from HEL to SIN. We did survive despite our plane ( a new Airbus A350 ) being struck by lightning on it's inbound flight from Seoul to Helsinki.

helsin.jpg
 

escargot

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This is a great case, a great story too as aircraft don't have quite the superstitious or spooky goings on that ships do. Never had anything paranormal happen to me on a flight however, which I suppose IS a good thing.
On a slightly different aside, flying into Helsinki, Finland, we were greeted by this sign:

A few days later flying to Singapore we found ourselves flying from HEL to SIN. We did survive despite our plane ( a new Airbus A350 ) being struck by lightning on it's inbound flight from Seoul to Helsinki.

Wasn't there a tongue in cheek 'superstition flight' a few years ago, where a Flight 13 took off on Friday 13th at 13:13 for or from HEL?
Or maybe it was a real flight and the numbers just stood out, or I've imagined it.
 

RaM

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I'd love to know a bit more about this casual aside...

It's a good few years back but we got the tanks from a aircraft beaker on top of a dam great hill near Buxton
or there about, they were 250 gall tanks bolted a frame between the two and added a deck ending up with
a handy little dive boat, the tanks have a mechanical contents gauge in the nose so as long as you get a pair
you can check if you have a leak at a glance it went well even with a small outboard, all good fun as they say.
The beaker was run by one guy or at least I only ever saw one, but he had about 20 fax machines buzzing
away, he had things like radios for Dakotas and cylinder heads, piles of Canberra stuff, 2 complete Wessex
helicopters had just arrived, a interesting place but I bet it's long gone now.
 

Coal

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It's a good few years back but we got the tanks from a aircraft beaker on top of a dam great hill near Buxton
or there about, they were 250 gall tanks bolted a frame between the two and added a deck ending up with
a handy little dive boat, the tanks have a mechanical contents gauge in the nose so as long as you get a pair
you can check if you have a leak at a glance it went well even with a small outboard, all good fun as they say.
The beaker was run by one guy or at least I only ever saw one, but he had about 20 fax machines buzzing
away, he had things like radios for Dakotas and cylinder heads, piles of Canberra stuff, 2 complete Wessex
helicopters had just arrived, a interesting place but I bet it's long gone now.
Great stuff, thank you!
 

charliebrown

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A most famous ghost story from 1972 which I am sure today no one would know about was the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 into the Florida Everglades on December 29, 1972.

This story was made into books, TV shows, and a movie.

It turns out a bad switch told the crew the landing gears were not down which was not true.

The crew accidentally turned off the autopilot searching the problem and flew into the Everglades and crashed.

Eastern used the crashed parts on other L-1011 planes, and then all the ghosts started to appear on these planes.

The ghosts only stopped when these salvaged parts were removed.

This was the first wide body plane crash and it stayed in the news for a long time.
 

Eponastill

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They removed parts from a crashed plane and put them into other planes?? Looking at photos of that plane it wouldn't be the obvious thing to try... there don't seem to be many bits to salvage?! Well it sounds intriguing, thank you CharlieBrown. Something else to distract me from lockdown fever.
 

charliebrown

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The soft swamp allowed 75 people to survive out of 173, and the swamp allowed some of the plane’s structures to remain intact.

After these parts were reused, passengers on the planes with reused parts found themselves sitting next to the dead

pilot and dead co-pilot.

Stewardess found ghosts In food galleries that had the recycled parts from the crashed plane, and ghost passengers from flight 401 and were walking down the length of the plane.

After an outcry, Eastern Airline removed the recycled parts

This was a good one to study Eponastill.
 

Naughty_Felid

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A most famous ghost story from 1972 which I am sure today no one would know about was the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 into the Florida Everglades on December 29, 1972.

This story was made into books, TV shows, and a movie.

It turns out a bad switch told the crew the landing gears were not down which was not true.

The crew accidentally turned off the autopilot searching the problem and flew into the Everglades and crashed.

Eastern used the crashed parts on other L-1011 planes, and then all the ghosts started to appear on these planes.

The ghosts only stopped when these salvaged parts were removed.

This was the first wide body plane crash and it stayed in the news for a long time.
They removed parts from a crashed plane and put them into other planes?? Looking at photos of that plane it wouldn't be the obvious thing to try... there don't seem to be many bits to salvage?! Well it sounds intriguing, thank you CharlieBrown. Something else to distract me from lockdown fever.

It's been debunked. I read Fuller's book and a little while later thought "wait a minute..." Then had a hunt.

https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4563
 

MrRING

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It's been debunked. I read Fuller's book and a little while later thought "wait a minute..." Then had a hunt.

https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4563
I'm not entirely convinced by this piece of (to my mind) pedestrian skepticism. Just as incidents could be slanted in one direction for Fuller's interpretation, it seems this article slants in the other direction of skepticism.

Part of the "debunk" evidence is that Fuller sulied his credibility by writing about UFO's, includng the Betty & Barney Hill case. I guess for a skeptic that marks one as unstable, but to me it shows that somebody is a writer. For the skeptic writing this article, just participating in this Forteana Forum might be enough to be thrown into the "crazy crank" category.

Another part of the debunk is Serling's book on the history of Eastern Airlines, written by somebody who is making a real-world account of what happened there. The fact that somebody interested in such a history, talking to various spokesmen for the company, would angle their investigation to connect dots of various pieces into a one-off joke that became a UL seems like exactly the conclusion that such a writer would bring to such a book.

Evidence of wreckage site photos is used as evidence that there was nothing to salvage. But as pointed out earlier in this thread, that doesn't show everything that was there, nor does it prove that parts weren't used in other planes. My understanding of airplane crash investigations is that often the plane parts are carted to a building large enough to assemble the remains in rough order. The salvageable parts could have been identified at that time. It may not have been the whole oven, but just a portion of it. The same for any of the other parts taken. To actually prove or disprove parts from Eastern 401 were used, we'd need to access the maintenance manuals and inventories of the airplanes, if they exist, not look at the crash photos and say "yeah, they couldn't use any of that mess". The Pull-A-Part of wrecked cars that I pass every day going to and from work is a testament to the fact that wrecked machinery is most definitely used. I would be interested to read exactly how the book says they know that no parts were used, not just the skeptical summary, which tries to imply that they had written proof that no parts were used, but all they really do is talk about the 'self-evident truth' that no parts were reusable from the photos.

I think there could be much more research done on this still intriguing to me case.

The full TV movie from back in the day:
 
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MrRING

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This write-up at a Florida newspaper covers both the initial tale and the skeptical angle, but adds a little bit at the end:
https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2020/10/21/ghost-flight-401/3715665001/
Jay Repo believed. Repo, one of four siblings, was a teenager when his father’s plane dropped into the Everglades. He told me in 1997 there were too many coincidences.

Jay Repo said his father came to him even on his own wedding night. As he and his new bride entered their sparkling-clean room at a Miami hotel, one they hadn’t told anyone they’d chosen, they opened the empty closet. On the floor was a pair of plastic Eastern Airlines wings.
This write-up has some interesting points too:
https://confessionsofatrolleydolly.com/2012/10/31/the-ghosts-of-flight-401/

Specifically this:
So far the majority of the reports of spooky goings on and ghostly sightings had been swiftly swept under the carpet by Eastern. What airline would want passengers thinking that their aircraft were haunted by dead flight crew who perished on the pride of their fleet? Although the airline had point blankly refused to believe the spooky stories, the sightings were all reported to the independent Flight Safety Foundation, who later commented “The reports were given by experienced and trustworthy pilots and crew. We consider them significant”. Eastern went on to warn employees that they could face dismissal if they were caught spreading the ghost stories.
If this is true, then wouldn't the Flight Safety Foundation have records of the reported sightings? They do still exist:
https://flightsafety.org/
A quick glance didn't reveal anything, but it could be that it is old enough that such reports only exist as print materials and would need to be researched. But it is another place of inquiry that could back up either that something happened (if the reports of sightings were made at the time) or more evidence of writing a ripping yarn (no reports were actually ever filed with the Flight Safety Foundation).
 

MrRING

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Interesting additional details - the crash site was claimed to be haunted by the dead (though this report is a bit hysterical sounding):
https://miamihaunts.com/ghost-of-flight-401/
The story of Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 starts off right after the crash. For months, hunters, poachers, and wildlife enthusiasts started reporting strange unearthly sights and encounters around the crash site.

“I was just frog gigging (when), a face looked up at me from below the surf. A woman’s face screaming up. Spooked me silly. Never been back to that place since that moment… around here, we do our best to avoid that area.”

For months and years after the crash, the area became a hot-bed of supernatural activity. Marfa lights started popping up around the swamp. Specters peered from the gloom into the awestruck eyes of hunters. Things swam below the surface of the swamp, things dressed in rags and tattered clothes.

Also, this airline safety report has about the most detailed, aviation-centric reporting of exactly the mechanical and human failures that went into causing the crash:
https://flightsafety.org/ap/ap_jan91.pdf

Another good write-up:
https://medium.com/the-mystery-box/the-ghosts-of-eastern-flight-401-ba1c83975a5b
 

MrRING

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A recent sighting from 2020:
https://mensvariety.com/eastern-401-ghosts/
My Flight Was Haunted By The Ghosts of Eastern 401

November 29, 2020 Chris Farmer HTM

I’m not crazy – my flight was haunted

Can a flight be haunted? I’m here to tell you first-hand the answer, yes. That’s because last year, my flight from Chicago to Miami was visited by ghosts – and I’m pretty sure it was the crew Eastern Airlines Flight 401.

It’s OK to think I am nuts. I don’t blame you and would probably be thinking the same thing. But that doesn’t change the fact my plane, in this case, a Boeing 737, was undeniably visited by ghosts.

I’m not going to tell you the airline I was flying because it really doesn’t matter. What I can share is the haunting took place somewhere over the Florida Everglades, not far from Miami International Airport.

I should probably tell you this was a red-eye flight and there weren’t a lot of people onboard – maybe 50 at the most? I can also tell you I wasn’t on drugs (legal or illegal) and I had not been drinking.

The reason for the trip was simple: My aunt had died a few days earlier and I was going to pay my respects. It was the least I could do, given her role in raising me and at times, acting as a kind of second mom.

But I digress.

So, here is what happened. I was sitting in a window seat, in coach, with nobody next to me. There was one person behind me, sprawled out and fast asleep.

Nobody was sitting in front of me.

Across the aisle, also seated in a window seat, was one old woman who was reading a book with the help of the overhead light.

As you can imagine, the plane itself was dark because the cabin crew had dimmed the lighting so that passengers could sleep. There was no turbulence either, just the sound of the engines whining over the wings.

And so, it must have been around 5 am when the haunting happened. I had been following the flight’s progress on the seatback screen in front of me and was aware that we were just entering the Florida Everglades.

Feeling tired, I closed my eyes for a moment. At some point, and I don’t know how long, I could sense the presence of someone next to me. There is no way to explain this sensation. You know it when it happens.

At any rate, I decided to open my eyes again. When I looked to my left, I saw someone was occupying the aisle seat. Remember, for the entire flight, nobody was sitting there.

Not wanting to be rude, I said hello to my new seat-mate. He was a male, in his late 40’s or early 50’s. He appeared to have some type of uniform on with insignia that indicated he was a pilot. He also had on captain’s that that clearly read Eastern Airlines.



When I said hello, he nodded back. He then leaned over to look outside of my window, twisting his body in such a way that I could make out an ID badge that clearly showed the name, Robert Loft.

Following his lead, I decided to look at the window as well. All I could see was pitch darkness, which is typical when you fly over the Everglades.

When I turned around to look at the pilot again, he was gone. Yep, that’s right – there was no trace of him. A little freaked out, I unbuckled my seatbelt and stood up, hoping to see if he had moved to another seat.

He was nowhere to be found. But what I did see was a new person across the aisle. Remember that old woman I had told you about who was reading her book? Well, she was no longer there. Instead, I saw another person in a pilot uniform.

Curious and a little spooked, I left my seat and made my way across the aisle. As his presence came more into focus, I could see that he too had an Eastern Airlines pilot’s hat on.

“Hi, I’m Don. Are you looking for something?” he asked. Embarrassed, I said no and turned around to head back to my seat. By the time I had buckled myself in, “Don” was gone. I’m for real – the guy was gone. Instead, it was that old woman was back, reading her book.

Needless to say, I was utterly freaked out. For the duration of the flight, I kept looking around me, unsure what was real and what was not.

But I was also determined to find what had happened.



I tried to put the incident out of my mind for months. If I told anyone what had happened, I was sure nobody would believe me. In fact, I was pretty people would call me crazy.

It was only after I did a little research that I discovered my experience was not a one-off. Apparently, other people have had similar experiences.

It turns out that the area I was flying over is the well-known stomping grounds for the crew of Eastern Airlines Flight 401: A plane that crashed in 1972 over the Everglades. They even made cheesy movie about it.

The point of this entire story is to simply tell you that yes – planes can be haunted. I don’t pretend to understand why it happens. I also am not an expert in paranormal phenomenon.

But I will say that if you are ever on a flight over the Florida Everglades, particularly late at night, watch your surroundings closely. You too may experience something extraordinary.

It happened to me. Big time.
 
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