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The Ghosts of Flight 401



N310EA, the aircraft involved in the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401. Photo: Jon Proctor

After a tragic plane crash that killed 101 people, flight attendants on subsequent flights began to witness many strange events. The ghost of pilot Bob Loft, who died in the crash, was seen several times, even warning the crew about faulty electrics on their aircraft.

The Tragic End of Flight 401

The wreckage of Flight 401, said to contain the ghosts of Bob Loft and Don Repo. Photo: Ron Infantino.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 left JFK airport in New York headed for Miami, Florida.

The flight was headed by 55 year old Captain Bob Loft. Bob loft was a very experienced and well regarded pilot who had been with Eastern Airlines for 32 years.

His flight crew was made up of First Officer Bert Stockstill, 39, and Flight Engineer Don Repo, 51. An off duty technical officer for the company named Angelo Donadeo, 47, was also on board.

The flight proceeded as normal until they began to get ready for the descent into Miami. The crew tried to lower the aircraft’s landing gear but the indicator light signalling it was down didn’t come on.

The crew put the flight on autopilot and planned to circle overhead until they could figure out if the landing gear was functioning correctly.

While they were distracted by this problem the crew failed to notice that the autopilot was not working. The flight gradually lost altitude and crashed into the everglades.

101 people were killed in the accident and 75 people survived. First Officer Stockstill was killed on impact while Captain Bob Loft died in the wreckage. Both Don Repo and Angelo Donadeo initially survived the crash but Repo later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

Paranormal Activity Connected to Flight 401

In the year and a half following the accident many Eastern Airlines crew members reported seeing the spirits of Bob Loft and Don Repo during flights.

A flight attendant was making preparations for food service in the galley when she saw Don Repo’s reflection in an oven door. Startled, she called out to two fellow crew members to come and see it and they both recognized the face to be that of Don Repo.

The face in the oven then said “watch out for fire on this plane”. On the returning flight the plane’s engine caught fire and had to be shut down.

Later on the same plane another flight attendant saw an engineer she didn’t recognize fixing the plane’s oven. She asked another engineer on the flight who the other engineer was but he told her he was the only one on the flight. Later the flight attendant recognized the engineer she had seen when looking at photos of Don Repo.

Another flight attendant on a flight from New York-Miami flight opened an overhead bin for place a passengers luggage when she saw Bob Loft’s face staring back at her from inside.

An entire cockpit crew claim they saw Bob Loft sitting among them on another Eastern Airlines flight. They said Loft warned them about some faulty wiring which was then found and repaired.

Even the vice president of Eastern Airlines claimed to have seen Bob Loft on a plane as it prepared to take off from JFK airport.

Possible Explanations for Paranormal Activity Connected to Flight 401

This 1978 movie was based on the true story of flight 401 and the ghost stories that followed.

It was soon discovered that the flights that had the paranormal activity all had parts salvaged from the wreckage of 401 used in them. The psychic phenomenon of psychometry is when spirits are said to be connected to physical objects.

Perhaps the ghosts of Don Repo and Bob Loft were intertwined with the parts of the wreckage of Flight 401 and when those parts were put in another plane they were able to connect with the living through those parts.

It is also possible that the collective trauma from having so many coworkers and friends die caused the Eastern Airlines crew members to have shared hallucinations or delusions. It is strange that their stories would all be so consistent with one another if this is the case.

Do you think the ghosts of Don Repo and Bob Loft were haunting Eastern Airlines or something more mundane was happening? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in the disappearance of Frederick Valentich’s flight or the ghosts seen in the London Underground.

Further Reading

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The Ghost of Flight 401 by John G. Fuller.

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Walking Sam: The Suicide Spirit of Pine Ridge




Walking Sam: The Suicide Spirit. Photo: Ranker.

In 2015 a spree of suicides took place in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Some believe these were caused by an evil spirit called Walking Sam.

Who is Walking Sam?

An artist’s depiction of Walking Sam. Photo: Ranker

Walking Sam is known by various names, including “Tall Man” and “Stovepipe Hat Bigfoot.” He is a towering figure standing at seven feet tall and has eyes but no mouth, sometimes wearing a stove-pipe hat.

When he raises his arms, people can see the bodies of his past victims hanging beneath him. Walking Sam is said to call out to teenagers and try to convince them that they are worthless, urging them to take their own lives. Some believe that he targets young people because they are more vulnerable to his manipulations.

According to Native American legends, Walking Sam is an ancient being closely linked to “Stick Indians,” who are dark and shadowy spirit entities.

Kids grow up hearing spooky stories about these evil forces that haunt reservations and try to lure unsuspecting victims to their doom. They’re always followed by a creepy cloud of death that just hangs around them.

If you hear whistling, it might be one of these Stick Indians nearby. But if you follow the sound, you could get paralyzed, hypnotized, or even lose your mind completely.

If you disrespect them, they’ll hold a grudge and seek revenge no matter what. Some tribes are so scared of them that they won’t even talk about them, so we don’t know everything about these beings. But Walking Sam is supposed to be one of the most powerful ones.

There are those who believe that Walking Sam represents the pain and trauma that the Lakota Indians endure on a daily basis. Given the deep spiritual connection that the Lakota people have with their land and heritage, some see Walking Sam as a physical embodiment of this suffering.

The Pine Ridge Suicides

A video telling the story of Walking Sam

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located near the Black Hills of South Dakota and is home to the Oglala Lakota tribe. It’s one of the largest Indian reservations in the US. Sadly, Pine Ridge has a sad past as hundreds of Lakota Indians were killed during the Wounded Knee Massacre.

It’s one of the poorest counties in the US. In 2015, a number of young people committed suicide on the reservation, and some people thought that supernatural forces like the legendary Walking Sam were to blame.

From December 2014 to March 2015, there were a staggering 103 suicide attempts, with nine of them being successful, and tragically, none of the victims were older than twenty-five.

The majority of those who died had used hanging as the method of suicide. Although there had been other clusters of suicides in previous years, this was the largest. As the community struggled to understand and deal with the crisis, some looked to traditional Native American beliefs for answers.

Lakota children are raised hearing stories about “suicide spirits,” “stick people,” and shadow people who try to lure young people away from their homes at night. These stories may have evolved over time, influenced by the popularity of Slender Man, into the figure now known as Walking Sam.

Walking Sam Sightings

During meetings of reservation officials, one of the topics that often comes up is Walking Sam. These officials advise reservation members to avoid walking on the streets at night as it would be an ideal time for Walking Sam to approach his victims.

Several residents have expressed concern and requested the police to keep a lookout for Walking Sam. Many residents have reported seeing his shadow and have shared their encounters with the police. Some residents have even reported hearing whistling sounds coming from nowhere.

Have you ever seen Walking Sam? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed learning about Walking Sam you might also be interested in Diao Si Gui: Chinese Hanged Ghosts or La Ciguapa: The Woman with Backwards Feet.

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Diao Si Gui: Chinese Hanged Ghosts




A Diao Si Gui or Hanged Ghost. Photo: Cryptid Wiki

According to Chinese legend, Diao Si Gui are the souls of those who took their own lives or were executed. These spirits may manifest as a body with a protruding, lengthy red tongue and attempt to persuade those who cross their path to join them in the world beyond.

The Legend of the Diao Si Gui

Diao Si Gui, or Hanged Ghosts can be created in two ways: when a person takes their own life by hanging or when they are executed by hanging as a punishment for their crimes.

The more prolonged and painful the death, such as by slow suffocation instead of a quick snap of the neck, the greater the likelihood of them becoming a Diao Si Gui.

These ghosts are said to haunt the vicinity of the location where they committed suicide and are often depicted with a noose around their neck, dangling feet, and long red tongues hanging from their mouths.

It is believed that one should avoid making eye contact with a Dio Si Gui as they may lure you into a hypnotic state and persuade you to hang yourself.

In some versions of the legend, if the ghost successfully persuades someone to hang themselves, that person becomes a Hanged Ghost while the original ghost goes free.

Other versions suggest that a Hanged Ghost is not limited to a specific location and can torment a person for days, gradually convincing them to take their own life. When the time is right, the ghost will appear to the person in a high place and lower a noose to them.

Stories About Diao Si Gui

In the Chinese Fairy Book by Dr. R. Wilhelm (1921), there is a story known as The Hanged Ghost, which tells the tale of a soldier seeking refuge for the night in an old, run-down temple.

While there, he witnesses a female ghost descending from the rafters, unaware of his presence in the shadows. Intrigued, he follows her to a farmhouse where he discovers the ghost urging a young mother and her child to hang themselves. The soldier intervenes, saving the woman’s life and causing the ghost to flee.

On his way back to the temple, the soldier takes the rope left behind by the ghost, but she appears on the road and demands that he give it back.

He refuses and wraps the rope around his arm, causing the ghost to transform and attack him. The soldier defends himself by flinging his own blood at the ghost, causing her to retreat. He continues his journey with the rope now part of his arm, unfazed by the encounter.

A video telling the tale of Diao Si Gui or hanged ghosts

Possible Explanations for the Diao Si Gui

It is possible that the legend of the hanged ghost came about as a way to help families come to terms with the unexpected suicides of their loved ones. It’s easier to believe that a loved one may have been manipulated in to killing them self by a spirit than it is to believe that they wanted to die.

Have you ever seen a Diao Sui Gui or Hanged Ghost? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed learning about the Diao Sui Gui you might also be interested in the mysterious stain left behind by the body of Margaret Schilling or how the ghost of Teresita Basa solved her own murder.

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