8 Strange Aviation and Naval Mysteries
Anyone who has studied military history extensively knows there are plenty of unexplained incidents recorded throughout the years. More recently, with an influx of UFO sightings – some by members of the military – even representatives of the government have opened to the possibility of alien visitation, such as Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
With this in mind, it seemed timely to take a look at some strange phenomena reported in the naval, aviation, and aerospace sectors, relaying some of the key points we know.
The Mystery of L-8, the “Ghost Blimp”
In August of 1942, an American L-class airship, the L-8, became the source of a mysterious occurrence still unexplained to this day. Airships of its kind were relatively small compared to other models, so were mostly employed for training and coastal patrol, the latter being L-8’s assignment on August 16 off the coast of San Francisco.
Two crewmen, Lieutenant Ernest DeWitt Cody and Ensign Charles Adams, piloted L-8 that morning. The ship had been recently inspected, had completed over 1,000 trips without incident, and the morning promised clear skies.
Despite these factors, some unknown disaster struck. The crew radioed to report seeing an oil slick out at sea and began circling it. All contact then ceased. Hours later, L-8 drifted onto Ocean Beach in San Francisco, moderately damaged, and totally unmanned. It later crashed down in Daly City, California.
All parachutes and a rubber life raft remained within the airship, and the airship interior displayed no signs of attack. It was as if the crew simply vanished, either into the ocean, or elsewhere. No trace of them was ever found.
The Roswell Incident
Perhaps the most famous purported alien encounter, the Roswell incident of 1947 has been exhaustingly covered, and has made a significant impact on popular culture and the arts ever since reports began.
On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field of Roswell, New Mexico wrote a press release proclaiming they had recovered the wreckage of a “flying disc.” This was quickly retracted by the Army, with a new claim made that the recovered object was merely a weather balloon.
In the 1970s, however, retired colonel Jesse Marcel, along with other witnesses and local nurses, began to relay their versions of events, which included seeing an alien spacecraft, alien bodies, and even an “alien autopsy.” The ensuing years have brought conjecture, debate, and little clarity, meaning whatever happened at Roswell will likely never be truly known.
Charles Lindbergh’s Strange Encounter
Charles Lindbergh is best remembered today for his pioneering nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 aboard The Spirit of St. Louis, along with the tragic circumstances of his infant son’s kidnapping. While making his historic flight, however, Lindbergh may have also experienced a notable airborne encounter.
In his 1953 book on the nonstop flight, Lindbergh recounted feeling the presence of someone or something else, writing he witnessed “ghostly presences,” saying they were “vaguely outlined forms, transparent, moving, riding weightless with me in the plane.” These spirits gave him advice and reassurance, then disappeared within an hour’s time.
According to Lindbergh’s grandson, Erik, Lindbergh himself recognized this phenomenon might have merely been hallucinations due to fatigue, but nevertheless it altered the elder Lindbergh, giving him an interest in the supernatural for the rest of his life.
The Philadelphia Experiment
This alleged incident has all the hallmarks of a great sci-fi thriller, which is likely why it gets recycled regularly in pop culture. In short, believers in the Philadelphia Experiment state that in October of 1943 the U.S. Navy ship USS Eldridge vanished from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard by becoming totally invisible as part of a secret military project.
Other claims made have included that the Eldridge in fact teleported to a space in Norfolk, Virginia for a few minutes, and that the crew suffered bouts of insanity, intangibility, and being unable to move for some time.
Though the credibility of the story’s originator, Carl M. Allen, has been called into question, the story is simply too good to die easily. It will likely live on in paranormal lore for that reason alone.
Here’s a particularly strange one. As reported by the Associated Press, in the fall of 2021 members of United States Air Force came forward with witness testimony and government documentation that they say corroborates their claims of UFOs tampering with nuclear missiles.
The men state that in 1967, while a UFO (or UAP) hovered nearby, all ten of Malmstrom Air Force Base’s intercontinental ballistic missiles inexplicably became inoperable at the same time, with a similar incident having occurred eight days prior at another missile launch control facility. Quite a tale, and another reason to keep watching the skies.
The Haunted USS Hornet
According to the stories, the USS Hornet stands out as the most haunted ship in U.S. naval history. Over a span of 27 years, 300 sailors were lost to accidents and suicides, which has reportedly led to hauntings, with disembodied voices being heard and the ghostly forms of old sailors making their way through the ship. Equipment is also reported to turn on and off on its own.
The Hornet was decommissioned in 1970, and has since been moored in San Francisco. It is available for tours as well as overnight stays, so if you’ve got an itch to experience something paranormal, this might be your chance.
F.E. Warren Air Force Base Sightings
At this Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a host of mysterious events have been said to take place. Some of the prominent sightings include ghosts of cavalrymen who keep watch on the base at night, spirits seen in the base’s former hospital morgue, the ghost of a murder victim from an area campground, and a spectral nurse haunting some of the living quarters.
Perhaps most prominent is the ghost of “Gus,” a man said to have accidentally hung himself on a clothesline while trying to escape an altercation with another man. His spirit is said to be seen opening cabinets and transporting objects to this day.
U.S. Naval Shipyard of Norfolk Sightings
This shipyard has a lot of unusual occurrences attached to it. With its history stretching back to 1767, some have speculated that the site has accrued ghostly visitors over the years.
Some of the sightings that have been reported have included an 18th-century sailor who has been dubbed John Paul and appears regularly, a spirit who rearranges keys on a pegboard, the ghosts of three British soldiers from either the Revolutionary War or War of 1812, and floating white blobs and disembodied voices.
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