|The Rose Files
True Scary Stories from Life
| Ghosts on a Plane!
~ Rose Titus ~
In our last episode of the Rose Files, we wondered if a World War Two fighter pilot could be
reincarnated into the life of an ordinary little boy living in an ordinary suburb after his craft was shot down
by the Japanese during the battle of Iwo Jima. But can an airplane itself be haunted?
Some might say it’s possible!
Let’s do some research and find out…
On December 29, 1972, Eastern Airlines Flight 401 – a Lockheed L-1011 three-engine jumbo jet –
was headed to Miami Florida. The men in the cockpit were experienced and well respected. Captain
Bob Loft was in command, and Second Officer Don Repo was the flight engineer. There was also First
Officer Albert Stockstill. They made a final check of the jet plane before takeoff. The jumbo jet was a
luxurious and almost new craft; its computer system was very advanced for the time period – the early
No one expected any trouble that dark fateful night.
Unfortunately, the jet never arrived at its destination. It tragically went down into the deep swamp of the
There were survivors, but many people died during the crash. Captain Loft was killed during this
tragedy, and Flight Engineer Repo passed away at the hospital from his injuries.
But even though Loft and Repo had passed away, were they truly gone from this Earth?
Because they apparently decided to hang around!
Many people know that it is a common practice to take parts from wrecked cars and re-use them to
repair other cars. But guess what? This is what happened to the Lockheed L-1011 – after it went down in
the swamp, parts were salvaged – electronics and parts from the galley were re-used for other aircraft.
And what happened on the other aircraft with the re-used parts from Flight 401? There were strange
occurrences and visitations!
On Eastern Airlines Flight 318, two stewardesses (this is the old days when flight attendants were
called stewardesses!) were in the galley getting dinner ready for the passengers (this was the old days
when passengers could still get a decent meal on a jet plane! Nowadays you are lucky to get a coffee and
a bag of gross stale pretzels!). Suddenly they felt the temperature go strangely cold (this has been
reported in other haunted locations – a sudden drop in temperature – an ice cold feeling is a common
occurrence in areas where there are ghosts), and they even felt wind rushing about. And then there was a
feeling of a “presence” – that they were not alone. Other stewardesses on that flight reported the same
feeling of ice-cold. A flight engineer came to check things out and could find no problem – a thermometer
read that the temperature was “normal.”
Weeks later, on that same plane, a stewardess saw something strange materialize. At first it looked
like a cloud, then a face formed in the cloud. She recognized the face – it was the face of Don Repo!
Worrying that perhaps she was working too hard, or that no one would believe her, she decided to keep
quiet about the incident. On another flight – same plane again – another stewardess opened the
overhead bin to get a blanket for a passenger – and saw the face of Captain Loft! Naturally, she was
shocked. The passenger asked what was wrong? “Nothing,” she said. Reports of strange things
happening on this plane continued.
Once when this plane was over the Everglades – and you will recall this is where Flight 401 went down
- and announcement was made, “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts and observe the No
Smoking signs.” (This was the old days when people still smoked on planes!) The captain of this flight
checked the intercom. It was not turned on. The strange voice continued, “We will be arriving at Miami
International on schedule. We’re glad to have you aboard. And we promise to get you to your destination
safely.” No one in the cockpit knew who was making the announcement or where the voice was coming
On another flight, a man in a captain’s uniform was seen sitting in first class, but reportedly
“disappeared.” A similar incident occurred, again on this same jet plane, when a stewardess noticed a
man in a captain’s uniform sitting in one of the seats. She greeted the man and asked his name. He did
not respond. She asked him again, and again he did not respond. She went to get a supervisor, and the
captain did not respond to the supervisor either. They went to get the flight captain (that is, the captain in
charge of this particular jet, not the captain who would not respond to questions!). The captain knew a lot
of the pilots who worked for the airline, so he came down to see what the heck was going on… he
recognized Captain Bob Loft sitting in the seat! And then Captain Loft disappeared suddenly – in front of
shocked passengers and stewardesses!
Captain Loft appeared again – this time he had a conversation with a vice president of Eastern
Airlines who happened to be on the jet before the flight. They had a brief conversation about weather,
work, and other trivial nonsense before the vice president finally recognized him, “Bob!” But then Captain
Loft disappeared again.
Captain Loft was seen on many Eastern Airlines flights, and so was Second Officer Repo! These
guys were dead but they just didn’t know when to quit! Don Repo was seen more frequently on Eastern
Airlines flights. On one flight, before takeoff, a flight engineer entered the cockpit. The captain did not
recognize him. The flight engineer told the captain not to worry, and also said he felt there was something
wrong with the electrical system, insisting that, “I’m sure you’ll find a bad circuit,” and, “If we don’t correct it,
there’s going to be trouble.” The captain went through his checklist again and a warning light indeed lit up:
one of the circuits was burned out. The flight engineer who warned him was gone. But the captain
recalled seeing a photograph of Don Repo and realized who it was who warned him about the bad circuit.
Before another flight, some men were loading the food into the galley. They noticed a man in uniform
watching them. One of them asked if he wanted an extra food tray, “in case you get hungry, sir?” But he
disappeared. The men did not want to work on that plane anymore.
On another flight, the captain thought he heard someone knocking under the floor of the cockpit, as if
there was a person wanting to be let out from down below. The captain looked around and then saw
another man at the controls. He said, “Don’t worry, captain. We will make sure that no more L-1011’s
crash.” And then he vanished!
And on yet another flight, two stewardesses in the galley suddenly noticed the image of a face appear
in one of the ovens. Both stewardesses had heard the rumors of haunted aircraft but did not believe until
now: It was the face of Don Repo looking right back at them! And he said, “I would like to talk to the flight
engineer.” And so they called the flight engineer over the intercom. He said he was busy, but he came
down to the galley anyway. He came and saw the face in the glass door of the oven also, “Why, it’s Don!”
He saw his old friend Don Repo.
“Watch out for fire on this plane.” And then the face of Don Repo vanished. The three of them went to
the cockpit and the flight engineer said, “You’re not going to believe this! We just saw Don Repo!” The
flight engineer told the whole incredible story to the captain.
The captain then ordered the crew to “check everything,” and, “I mean everything!”
The plane landed safely, but when mechanics checked the jet out, they found that engine number three
was having difficulty and was about to burst into flames. Perhaps the lives of the passengers and crew
were saved by the ghost of Don Repo!
Stewardesses, pilots and technicians were usually reluctant to report these appearances to higher-
ups for fear of ridicule, and they worried that if they talked about the hauntings officially, they may lose their
jobs. But they talked about it amongst themselves, and the haunted Eastern Airlines jets became the
subject of much gossip for airline employees. Eventually, some people talked to writers who changed
their names to protect their identities, and several articles and books were written. The hauntings even
inspired a movie in 1978 starring Ernest Borgnine and Kim Bassinger.
Each of the aircraft which had a visitation had equipment salvaged from the fallen Flight 401. When all
of the equipment from the crashed jet was removed, the ghosts were no longer to be seen or heard.
Perhaps they are finally at peace now. Or maybe they are still out there, somewhere, drifting amongst the
clouds, watching over us as we travel the skies…
If you want to know more about “ghosts on a plane,” then look up these sources:
1. “Ghosts of Flight 401,” from website: near-death.com/paranormal/ghosts (name of author
not given with the article)
2. Innes, Brian, “Ghosts of Flight 401,” Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 1999
3. Holmes, Burnham, “The Mysterious Ghosts of Flight 401,” Contemporary Perspectives,
4. Fuller, John G. “The Ghost of Flight 401,” Berkley Publishing Corporation, 1976 (The author
states, “The details of this story are factual and accurate as reported to the author by the people involved,
or by many official documents and reports.”) An excellent and detailed book. Names have been changed.