Things that go bump on the base
October 25, 2006
Miri Cressey already believed in spirits before she saw a loaf of bread shoot off the shelf while she worked at the old commissary on RAF Mildenhall.
Soon after, when a clock violently flew about eight feet from its place on the wall, she also took that in stride.
“I saw this bread fly off the shelf,” Cressey said. “It didn’t just fall. Then that clock flew off the wall as well, and I was like, ‘Oh wow!’”
Whether the thought of ghosts at your base stiffens your neck hairs or makes you roll your eyes, an abundance of ghoulish tales and legends surrounds Air Force bases in England and on the island as a whole.
Cressey wasn’t alone at the supernatural commissary, which is now closed and known as plain old abandoned Building 127 these days.
Cressey said a former co-worker once took a photo of the building, and when it was developed, an unexpected guest had made itself apparent.
“It looked like a ghostly figure,” Cressey said. “It was weird and very tall and standing by the deli case.”
Another manager saw baloney fly out of a meat case one day, and he insisted it didn’t just plop out as the result of overcrowding, she said.
“I have always believed that there was something out there,” she said. “That didn’t make me believe or disbelieve. It just was.”
‘Can I bum a smoke?’
Most people working the graveyard shift experience their share of strange occurrences, and the crews who have worked at Pass 46, a jet hangar at RAF Lakenheath, have their own tale to tell.
According to those in the know, the ghost of a pilot occasionally appears at night and asks whoever’s there for a cigarette or a light. When the person reaches to fulfill the request, the apparition is gone.
The ghost is believed to be that of a pilot who accidentally ejected himself into the ceiling of the hangar 15 to 20 years ago. Whether they were protecting a supernatural tenant, or weren’t sure, base officials were unable to confirm whether a pilot had died in that fashion at Pass 46.
Regardless, a giant painting of the “Ghostbusters” symbol, a no-ghosts sign of sorts, has since been put on the hangar door.
Seeing a ghost can be a sensitive thing for an airman’s career, according to numerous airmen who only agreed to talk anonymously. Seeing a spook can make commanders question an airman’s mental acuity.
“You can’t say you’ve seen a ghost, because you’ll get separated,” one airman said.
But the cigarette-bumming pilot isn’t the only ghost at Lakenheath. About five years ago, two airmen who were watching the perimeter fence surveillance camera reported a woman in white running along the fence inside the base.
Security forces, including a dog team, were scrambled to find the intruder. They found nothing.
“[RAF] Feltwell at night is quite entertaining,” said Master Sgt. Gerald Williams, a 48th Security Forces Squadron member who has been stationed at the base for 13 years. “It’s lit really low, and when you’re walking around at night, it gets really spooky out there.”
One denizen of the base is known as “Feltwell Freddy.” According to one airman who didn’t want to be named, security has investigated rustling noises in the foliage near the fence line, as well as moans and blood-curdling screams. Nothing was found.
Building 17, the old officer’s mess, is a well-known haunted locale, Williams said. In the early ’80s, a security member responded to the building for a noise complaint in the massive building’s east wing.
There was no noise, but a door was open upstairs, so the airman went to investigate.
Inside one room, by a corner window, Williams said, that airman found the possible culprit.
“There was a dude just kneeling at the window,” Williams said. “They thought it was just a guy puking.”
The security men told the kneeling man to stand up. The ghost stood up and walked through the shocked security forces member.
Needless to say, Williams said, it shook up the airman.
“That guy wouldn’t come out of his car until the sun came up,” he said.
Legends also are told of the ghost of an evil witch who was burned to death centuries ago in the village of Feltwell. She now roams the fields of the village. There’s also a tree that airmen swear no bird will land on, and that has its own peculiar visitor on certain nights.
“When the wind is blowing just right, you can see this guy dangling in the moonlight,” Williams said of the ghost of a man who reportedly was caught stealing cattle and hanged centuries ago.
Despite his reservoir of supernatural Feltwell knowledge, Williams said he has never seen anything himself and that most of the stories are passed along second-hand.
Still, he said, he does enjoy giving the frights to new security forces airmen.
“I know all the stories,” Williams said. “I don’t believe in all that crap, but I use it to scare the airmen.”