Transport Ghosts And Haunted Vehicles
Trains, boats, cars and buses?
"Houses are not haunted. We are haunted, and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts."
DEAN KOONTZ, Velocity
When we think about ghosts and paranormal phenomena we tend to visualise haunted houses, castles and graveyards. However, looking into the realms of the supernatural, where anything seems possible, it shouldn't really surprise us that transport vehicles have their own ghost stories to tell. Poltergeists, apparitions and exorcism are just a few of the events that have happened with haunted vehicles.
The Fishing Trawler 'Pickering'
This boat had so much paranormal activity on board that the crew finally called in an exorcist. They were so frightened by the poltergeist activity aboard their boat that they finally refused to go on her. Skipper, Derek Gates, reported that 'something' was taking over the ship's steering and making it go around in circles and the radar and engines constantly malfunctioned. The crew also reported that almost every night a 1.30pm the lighting would start to flicker, go on and then off. They also experienced, not just cold spots, but freezing temperatures even when the heating system was on full.
The previous skipper, Michael Laws, confirmed that strange activity did happen and that one of his crew had actually seen an apparition on deck late one night. The ghost was of a man wearing a flat cap. Michael Laws was not spared either when it came to paranormal activity. While sleeping in the lower bunk of his cabin, he would feel someone getting in and out of the top bunk when he was the only one present. Phenomena such as objects moving, being thrown and disappearing were witnessed, in addition to the oppressive feelings of being watched and followed. Strange noises were also heard but no natural explanation could be found.
The phenomena reached such a terrifying level that Vicar Tom Willis, an official exorcist for the Church of England, was called in to perform an exorcism. The vicar travelled out to sea with the crew and blessed the boat with holy water. He then led the crew in a prayer session for the spirit before returning to shore. The crew has since reported no further paranormal activity. Who or what the spirit was has never been discovered nor the reason why it was aboard The Pickering.
One of the most unusual sightings of ghostly transport can be found in that beautiful epicentre of legend and the supernatural - Cornwall. The area of Cornwall around the Lizard Peninsula for example has many legends but also ghost sightings of people and other things - such as ships.
One interesting haunting is said to occur around, Glonhilly at Croft Pasco Pool which is a large body of water. There is reported to have been numerous sightings, usually at night, of a huge white ship with her sails billowing - even when there is no wind. This odd apparition mysteriously appears and disappears without trace. Who the ship belongs to or where it is coming from or going is unknown.
In the past the locals would take the long path back home in order to avoid seeing the ghost vessel - in addition, so stories say, the locals also wanted to avoid meeting the legendary 'Lizard Folk' said to inhabit the same location.
The World War II Planes
There are numerous stories about spirits and other paranormal phenomena surrounding people and vehicles from both world wars. The number of sightings of 'ghost planes' is a prime example of these types of manifestation.
Lancaster Bombers, Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District, Northern England.
The beautiful Peak District of northern England is a major attraction for nature lovers, hikers, bikers, bird watchers and any other enthusiast for the outdoors. Sadly, this area is also treacherous - in particular for plane crashes. Over fifty five air accidents have occurred over the years and in particular during World War II. One such crash happened just after the war ended. This particular Lancaster Bomber plane, had the nickname of 'Vicky, the vicious virgin' and was flown by Captain Sonny Clifford and a Canadian crew. They had survived numerous dangerous raids and had come through the war intact. It was during a routine training flight that the plane went missing in the English Peak District, near the northern moors. It was later established by investigators that they had crashed into the notorious Dark Peak and all six crew members had died instantly.
Since the war, there have been numerous sightings of Lancasters in the Peak District area. One fairly close sighting happened in the 1980s on a clear, moonlit night. A couple out walking near the Ladybower Reservoir saw movement out of the corner of their eye and suspended in the bright moonlight was a Lancaster Bomber. It could be seen distinctly but what made the scene even more eerie was that there was no sound coming from the plane. Then it simply vanished. Whether this was 'Vicky' or another Lancaster hasn't been established.
An even more extraordinary event happened in 1997 at around 10pm at night when two hikers noticed a plane flying so low that it was almost at ground level. A farmer out in his field saw the same object and was so shocked by how low the plane was that he ducked to avoid it. What is even more bizarre is that a gamekeeper and his wife also saw the plane, but they actually witnessed an explosion and heard an impact. They called the emergency services who spent 15 hours searching for the crash site using helicopters and ground personnel but no crash was ever discovered and no reports of missing aircraft came through from either the armed services or civilian airports. All the witnesses involved were certain that the aircraft was a Lancaster Bomber.
Yorkshire Sightings of Lancaster Bomber.
One of the most intriguing cases is that of a ghostly Lancaster Bomber that is reported to have been seen by a number of witnesses between 2004-2006 in Barnoldswick. In the first incident a retired police officer (Moira Thwaites), saw a large grey, silent aeroplane emerging from thick mist and flying so low that she thought it would hit her car and nearby houses. The plane - later identified as probably being a Lancaster - was large and grey with four propellers. Like so many other sightings it then simply vanished. Once the story had been printed in the local newspaper - The Craven Herald - numerous people contacted them to say that they had also witnessed the plane on the same day as Moira Thwaites. In addition, other witnesses gave their accounts of sightings that had happened prior to the 2004-2006 event.
In 2006, the bomber was again spotted - as if about to land at an old air strip that had been used during World War II for emergency landings. The witness was an elderly man - who asked for his name to be withheld from the newspaper - stated that he knew right away that the craft had been a Lancaster Bomber as he had seen many during the war years. His description is also very similar to others describing how the huge aircraft was low to the ground and made no noise at all - the Lancaster Bombers by all accounts seem to have been very noisy.
What is also interesting however, is that the plane does appear to be solid and not see-through or wispy like some apparitions - if indeed that is what these sightings are. Some theories put forward have suggested that in addition to some form of ghost or replay, perhaps time slips could also be a possibility?
The real 'ghost' trains
Given the small size of the UK it always amazes me just how much paranormal phenomena there is. In addition, we do seem to have quite a high number of ghost trains - but not the fun kind you find at theme parks. Many, but not all, are often witnessed around areas where accidents have occurred. For example the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879.
Tay Bridge - River Tay, Fife & Tayside, Scotland.
On 28th December 1879 a train was crossing the rail bridge over the Firth of Tay that divides the Scottish counties of Fife and Tayside. It was a black and violent stormy night. A train travelling along the newly built single track was making it's way northwards from Fife over the Tay to Dundee. In the darkness the ferocious wind caused the bridge to suddenly collapse near the centre. The train and its passengers had no chance. The six carriages went plunging into the river, killing 75 passengers and the driver David Mitchell - whose body was one of the very few recovered.
There has always been a strong belief around the area that near or on the anniversary of the disaster, a ghost train can be seen re-enacting the horrific accident - strange lights and the sounds of crashing - some say screams are heard - have also been reported.
It's difficult to estimate whether this is an actual replay as the remnants of the old collapsed bridge stand next to the re-built bridge. Being so close to the working rail bridge some sightings might be of modern trains seen in unusual conditions or odd angles. However, this doesn't account for the sounds of crashing metal that would have occurred when the train went plummeting into the Tay. Perhaps then, due to the powerful emotions that must have been felt, has this horrific accident somehow been imprinted on the location?
Talyllyn Railway - Wales
A group of climbers saw a phantom train near to the site of the Dolgoch Viaduct in north Wales. Around midnight while they were camped for the night they suddenly spotted a black form with a few lights racing along, before suddenly vanishing. This particular track is historic and not used for commercial trains. The only train used on the single track is the slow moving visitors train and that only runs during the day. Local people have frequently heard a train's whistle, seen lights and a steam trail speeding along the tracks - but it's nighttime when everything is shut down.
Clayton Tunnel - Brighton, Sussex
This ghostly train is not actually seen but heard and the sounds are grisly. Coming from the dark tunnel people have reported not only hearing the grating and crunching of crashing metal, but also the screams of passengers. There was a serious train crash in the tunnel in the year 1862 and it seems as if this could be a playback of this horrific event.
One of the best recorded - although creepy - sightings of a ghost train in this area was in October 1986. In the area near to the tracks called 'Bomb Hills', two walkers noticed steam coming from beneath a railway bridge. As they moved closer they were shocked to see on the track an old type of steam locomotive with injured people thrown around, they were horrified to notice that the scene in front of them was transparent. They ran off to get help but on returning their was nothing to be seen.
Its very hard to reconcile the idea of a non-living thing such as vehicles being able to appear in ghostly form as people and animals do. However, when they were working vehicles they didn't operate on their own but with people inside them. Can human energy some how be printed onto the fabric of vehicles so allowing them to be seen? In addition, many of these vehicles would have been loved by many of their owners, captains, pilots etc. Would this emotion and others - especially the powerful emotions at the time of death - in some way animate these vehicles, that it's actually the human energy that has been captured with these vehicles that allows them to be seen in ghostly form?
We have no idea and this is only my personal conjecture. As with everything else in the paranormal field, if we ever do get close to solving this puzzle, there is no doubt that it will throw up many more questions and even greater enigmas.
© 2013 Helen Murphy Howell