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The Phantoms of Flight 401

This story was taken from the book titled Ghost Sightings and was written by Brian Innes. This is a true event where a motion picture was created based on the facts and experiences of many people including the ones mentioned below. We purchased our hard cover copy at Barnes & Noble for about $15, but it is also available at Amazon.com

Place: Aircraft of Eastern Airlines, USA
Time: From 1972 onward

Early in December 1972, a stewardess with Eastern Airlines told some of her colleagues of a premonition, in which she had seen a Lockheed Tri-Star on approach to Miami International Airport; she saw the port wing crumple as the aircraft hit the ground, and heard the despairing cries of the injured. The disaster would occur, she said, "around the holidays, closer to New Year". Asked if she and her colleagues were to be the cabin crew, she replied: "No, but it's going to be real close"...

Bob Loft
Don Repo

On December 29, there was a last-minute change in crew schedules: the stewardess and her colleagues did not take Flight 401 from New York to Miami. Late in the evening, the aircraft crashed into the Florida Everglades, all of the flight crew and many of the passengers being killed. Among the fatalities were captain Bob Loft and the flight engineer, Second Officer Don Repo. The cause of the crash was found to be a couple of minor design faults in the controls, and Lockheed rapidly corrected them. However, it appears that some undamaged parts of the aircraft were subsequently recycled in other planes. Following this, a number of mysterious incidents were reported. One of the vice-presidents of Eastern Airlines boarded a Miami-bound Tri-Star at JFK airport, and spoke to a uniformed captain sitting in First Class. Suddenly he recognized that the captain was Bob Loft – at which point the apparition vanished. On another occasion at JFK, Loft was seen, and spoken to, by the plane's captain and two flight attendants. The captain was sufficiently disturbed to cancel the flight. One aircraft, numbered 318, was particularly affected. A woman found herself sitting next to an Eastern Airlines flight officer who looked pale and ill, but would not speak; she called a stewardess but, before the eyes of several people, the man disappeared. The woman was later shown photographs of Eastern Airlines engineers, and identified Don Repo. On another flight, from New York to Mexico City, one of the plane's engines malfunctioned, and it had to return to the runway and was taken out of service. There were other incidents. A male voice on the PA announced the usual seat belt and no-smoking precautions, when the PA had not been switched on and none of the crew had made the announcement. A flight engineer making the preflight checks found a man in Second Officer's uniform, whom he recognized as Repo, sitting at the control panel. The apparition said, "You don't need to worry about the preflight, I've already done it", and vanished. One Tri-Star captain said that he had also spoken to Rep, who told him "There will never be another crash (of a Tri-Star)…we will not let it happen".

Author's Commentary:
These, and many other incidents, were investigated by John G. Fuller in his Book The Ghost of Flight 401. It is an unusually detailed case of "protective" ghosts. It is as if the trauma of the crash, which was part due to the fact that the flight crew were unaware of the design faults and inadvertently overrode some of the automatic controls, preyed so heavily on the dead officers' spirits that they had to watch over subsequent fate of the aircraft in which the recycled pieces had been incorporated. Fuller also claimed to have contacted Repo by means of a Ouija Board.

by Brian Innes


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