The True Story Of The Ghosts Of RAF Bircham Newton: The Spirits Of The Dead Airmen Remained

Read the real accounts of those who experienced the terrifying hauntings of RAF Bircham Newton, a disused aerodrome in Norfolk, England.

The terrifying true story of the haunting of Bircham Newton Aerodrome
The terrifying true story of the haunting of RAF Bircham Newton

A disused British aerodrome on the flat, empty wastes of East Anglia has not heard the roar of aircraft engines since World War Two. Yet the aura of those days is still there, in ghostly form. Bircham Newton, in Norfolk, was a Royal Air Force aerodrome that survived two world wars. It was built in 1914, and in more recent years has served as a base for students taking building trades courses. A film team visited the old aerodrome to make a management training film and went to work in what had once been the officers' mess. Suddenly and without apparent cause, a heavy studio lamp fell towards the head of Peter Clark, a member of the film crew. As it was about to hit him, it swerved as if pulled by some unseen hand and crashed across a table. On its own, this incident would have prompted little comment, but with the events that followed it is more significant.

Just behind the old officers' mess are two squash courts, built just before World War Two. It was here that another member of the film unit had a terrifying experience. After discovering the old courts, he borrowed a racket and ball and the only key to the building. He asked if any of his colleagues wanted to join him. No one was interested, so he set off to play on his own.

The two courts were side-by-side. At first, the film man practiced on the left-hand court then, for no particular reason, he moved to the other court. While knocking the ball around, he heard footsteps along the viewing gallery behind him.

At first, he paid no attention, assuming that one of the film crew had come to watch him play. Then he remembered that he had locked himself into the building and was completely alone. For a moment he remained silent. Then he heard a sigh which made the hairs on his neck prickle - and turning round saw a man in RAF uniform staring at him from the gallery. Suddenly the figure vanished. The experience terrified him and he immediately fled the building. Later he confided in Peter Clark, who suggested that they return to the squash court that night and try to record the footsteps on the crew's tape recorder.

Clark explained, "It was a calm warm summer night when we returned to the squash courts. We visited the left court which felt completely normal, but when we went into the court on the right, the atmosphere was so cold, so frightening that it was like stepping into another world." The two men switched on the tape recorder and waited, but eventually, fear got the better of them and they decided to lock the machine in the court and come back when the tape had run out.

What they discovered when they replayed the tape was extraordinary. They heard the sounds of aircraft, voices, and clanking machinery - uncannily like the noises of a busy aircraft hanger in wartime. Even more disturbing was a strange, unearthly, groaning. The tape was analysed by a BBC engineer who admitted that he and his colleagues were perplexed. There was no technical fault with the machine; few outside noises could have penetrated the nine-inch brick wall, and the tape was brand new, so old recordings could not have come through. The mystery of the tape absorbed Peter Clark. He persuaded friends to return to the aerodrome with a medium and hold a seance. As soon as the medium entered the courts he went into a trance and began to speak in the voice of a dead airman. Clark described the scene. "It was extraordinary. The medium's face became twisted and he seemed to have difficulty in breathing. He said his name was Wiley."

Listen To The Original Haunting Recordings Made At RAF Bircham Newton

Clark discovered in local records that there had indeed been an airman called Wiley, who had committed suicide at the aerodrome during World War Two. Inquiries also revealed that the aerodrome had been haunted for years. A student attending one of the construction courses had his bedclothes pulled off him at night by an invisible being. Another had his curtains torn down and thrown across the room. And a senior engineer claimed that he had been tapped on the shoulder three times while working alone in the attic of the officers' mess. The experience so unnerved him that he refused to work there again. One man claimed that he saw a figure in RAF uniform walk through a solid wall that had been built since the war. He was so frightened he refused to complete his course and left the following day. Some of the psychic recordings were broadcast by the BBC and afterward many listeners wrote in complaining that their pets had been disturbed by the noises. A BBC television team decided to investigate and arrived at the aerodrome with two leading spiritualists.

Unaware of the details of the tapes or the hauntings, the spiritualists first entered the left squash court and declared it normal. As soon as they entered the right-hand court they excitedly claimed that it held "a presence", the ghost of a dead airman. One of the spiritualists, the famous medium John Sutton, began to meditate. He immediately became entranced by the dead airman and spoke as a man called Dusty Miller who had been killed with his friends Pat Sullivan and Gerry Arnold. When Sutton came out of the trance, he was able to explain that the three airmen had been keen squash players. They made a pact that if anything should ever happen to them, they would try to meet up again in the building. They had all been killed when their plane crashed behind a church that had a tower, but no steeple. He had never been to the area before so could not describe the exact location.

Sutton also explained, "People who die suddenly do not always realise they are dead, and so do not understand when they cannot communicate with the living." He said the three airmen had been held earthbound at Bircham Newton because they had no idea that the crash had killed them. He put the occurrences down to the spirits trying to contact people because they desperately needed help. Having contacted the dead airmen, the spiritualists were able to lay them to rest by a simple exorcism.

After checking records, investigators found that a plane had indeed crashed behind Bircham Church during the war, killing the crew of three. The church has a tower, but no steeple... Now you have read about the ghosts of Bircham Newton, make sure you read about the poltergeist that tormented the home of Andrew Mackie.


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