For some strange reason, maybe because I'm in my mid-50s now, stopped reading two novels in a row due to too much going on and not really being able to focus on the story itself. And yet, I decided to re-read a book I read 40 years ago. Back story:
In the 1970s there were many books claiming to be true stories - that would turn out to be hoaxes in one form or another. "Sybil" being one of them. Another was "Go Ask Alice" by Anonymous. Turns out there was no Anonymous - it was committee-written by a group of adults in an effort to scare us young kids away from drugs.
But one of those true stories had a lasting impact on me - and that was "The Ghost of Flight 401", which shaped many of my beliefs in the possibility of an afterlife. Could it be that THIS story turned out not to have happened? So with that, went back and read it again.
Guess what? I found nothing in this book that sounded crack-pot or kookie. It all made sense. And that is totally understanding that there is no real PHYSICAL evidence. I mean, come on, it's a ghost story. Ghosts don't leave behind any evidence except a few shaken nerves.
Okay, the story is this: In 1972, an Eastern Airlines L-1011 jumbo jet airliner crashed in the Everglades. The crash killed 101 people, but 70 survived. And to this day, it is the subject of airplane crash-related shows as the circumstances were so unusual - the chain of events started with a $12.00 lightbulb. But a few months later, there were rumors circulating through the airline world that the two pilots were being seen on other planes. And these stories were coming from pilots, engineers, mechanics, cockpit crews, and of course stewardesses and passengers. But nobody would come right out and say it. In the airline business, you can't just go telling people you saw a ghost. But John G. Fuller, who wrote this book in first-person style, persisted and got the story. The most intriguing thing about it is that the ghost - mainly of Don Repo - appeared only on specific Eastern Airlines planes. He didn't hop onto a Pan Am or a Continental or a United Airlines plane. It was ALWAYS an Eastern Airlines plane. Now why would that be? Turns out that those particular planes had salvageable parts from Flight 401.
But what makes it suspect? For one thing, many of the eyewitnesses are not identified. And in 40 years time, you'd think maybe one of them would come out and say "that was me" - unless of course that the pension plan stated that the pension stopped the moment you talked about "the ghost". But what makes it legitimate to me? One undeniable piece of evidence - and that is a memo leaked to the press that shows that mechanics were ordered to remove the salvaged parts from Flight 401. Hmmm. I would say that is something to ponder that there may have been something to the story.
But this still remains the most logical and serious study (not to mention one of the first) on the subject of the possibility of an afterlife. Remember, in 1976 when the book was published, it was only then that we were really starting to hear stories about "the tunnel of light". It's amazing how much of the info remains valid 40 years later.
So with that I STILL believe much of what is described took place and the story is not some crazy hoax. Read it and you'll see what I mean.