Bircham Newton Airfield was constructed in 1914 at the onset of World War I but left derelict until being recommissioned at the outset of World War II when personnel from the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force were stationed there.
After World War II, the site was taken over by a construction-industry training company and the officers' mess converted into a hotel. Another part of the building was used as a studio for making management-training films. Behind the hotel is a double squash court, one of the courts of which is reputed to be haunted. Two men playing squash were the first to see something out of the ordinary; one of the players looked up at the spectators' walkway overlooking the court and saw a figure of a man dressed an RAF uniform looking down. The player alerted his partner and together they watched as the airman walked along the walkway and disappeared at the doorway at the end. They became convinced that they had seen a ghost and decided to arrange for a tape recorder to be left in the squash court overnight. Their initial intention to remain there with the recorder all night was modified when they heard loud footsteps walking along the corridor!
Before leaving, the two men made certain that they locked the building with the only key. When they replayed the tape later what they heard was extraordinary. The tape had recorded all the sounds of an active airfield: voices both male and female, machinery, strange 'pinging' sounds, as well as 'strange unearthly groaning noises'. Even more extraordinary was the sound of an aircraft apparently flying, although investigation indicated that there had been none in the vicinity during the period the recording was being made. A BBC engineer analysed the recording and could find no fault with the recorder. The tape had not been previously used so there were no old recordings on it. There was some surprise at the suggestion that the sounds could have come from outside the squash court as it was felt unlikely they would have penetrated its nine-inch-thick walls.
The BBC television programme Nationwide conducted its own investigation into the haunting; a reporter spent the night inside the squash court with a tape recorder. She reported the sounds of doors banging, 'an intense feeling of cold', and indicated that the tape recorder had stopped at exactly 12.30 for no apparent reason. Cases of recording equipment failing during investigation into many areas of the paranormal are quite commonplace. A medium entered the squash court and, in a trance, described an Anson aircraft which had crashed behind a nearby church killing its three crew, Dusty Miller, Pat Sullivan and Gerry Arnold. The medium said that the airmen were hanging around the airfield because they did not realise they had been killed!
Inquiries into the history of the area suggested that the airfield had been haunted in other ways. One student on a course there had had the bedclothes pulled off him and another had witnessed his curtains being torn and thrown around the room. An engineer working alone in the attic of what had been the officers' mess had been tapped on the shoulder and so scared out of his wits that he refused to work there again. There was also a report of a figure in RAF uniform walking through a solid brick wall - the wall had been built long after the war. Greece | Phantom Airfield | RAF | Suffolk |
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