so, so, tempted by the front cover to post that "Not The Nine O'Clock News" sketch.... it parodied a British Gas advert of the time (1980) and had the dulcet tones of Gryff Rhys-Jones intoning "Come home to a real fire...."
Thoughts. About hauntings at military bases. The Chicksands Priory haunting. I lived, at university, on a former RAF base whose barracks had been repurposed for students. (Horsham St Faith, Norwich. There are others on this forum who would have).
In my time there I picked up on two reports of air-related hauntings. One was pretty much an urban myth about an airman who had stood too close to the engine and had been decapitated by a moving propellor. This wasn't creditably reported as an ongoing thing in my time there and I do remember thinking it was unlikely. Somebody killed on the airstrip - which was by then partially a residual RAF base and mainly Norwich Airport - well, if you had a violently unexpected death on the runway or in a hangar, isn't your ghost more likely to be seen there rather than in the barracks?
The second one: the former admin buildings for the air base now housed, among other things, the union bar. Just opposite there was a room, used sometimes for meetings, but for most of the time empty and unlit. That had been, in old days, the Officers' Dining Room just over the way from the Mess Bar. By 1984 on an RAF base first opened in the middle 1930's and which had been active in WW2 - it wasn't the bar of the officers' mess. It was the dark empty large room that had once been the lounge, or the dining room, for RAF officers that carried the atmosphere. In that place in the evening, it could feel definitively creepy. While it never happened to me - I did go in there to see if it would, but no luck - people I would otherwise have rated as reliable observers reported going in there in the dark and hearing voices that sounded as if they were speaking Russian or something. Confusingly, another reporter said if she'd been forced to guess, it might have been Dutch or German... well, probably not German, but you know what I mean...
RAF Horsham St Faith housed a Polish squadron in 1940-41. Later in the war a Belgian squadron was based there. (Was it the one that had Michael Bentine as its intelligence officer?)
With regard to air crashes and fatalities - the neighbouring village, a short walk away, had a commemorative monument to an American Air Force crew who crashed there in 1944 (eight dead). I'll have to see if I can retrieve it, but Horsham ceased to be an active fighter base in 1967-ish. I found RAF casualty records for the peacetime period and worked out there were a number of crashes and fatalities involving RAF personnel from Horsham in the period 1945 - 1966 - maybe a dozen in total - including several that happened on the base itself. (But nothing recorded for WW2).
So I wonder if the Headless Airman of UEA was either a ghost story that grew in the telling - or maybe a distorted account of one of those post-war fatal accidents.....