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This article is from the In-Depth Report Science of the Occult

Ghostbusters: Are military bases haunted?

Military bases appear to be a popular haunt for wandering spirits, with several attracting the attention of ghost hunters seeking evidence of paranormal activity.

The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) in January checked out reports of unexplained phenomena—mysterious footsteps, voices and apparitions—in three buildings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for the Sci Fi Channel show Ghost Hunters. Some base personnel have reported seeing the ghost of a blond-haired boy in building 219; others claim to have spotted the apparition of an elderly woman in building 70.

During the episode, TAPS co-founders Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes spend time in building 70, where they claim to hear footsteps one night in the empty office space after urging any spirits there to present themselves. Derek Kaufman, a public affairs specialist with the 88th Air Base Wing, says that the base was happy to have TAPS check out the reports. He notes that he works in building 70, but so far has not had any ghostly encounters of his own.

Ghost sightings at Wright-Patterson are nothing new. Hospital employees working in building 219—a three-story brick building—in the 1990s reported seeing ghosts  (one they named "Harvey," after a doctor who had worked at the hospital in the 1930s and took his own life there) roam the halls daily, according to an October 1996 article in Wright-Patterson AFB's Skywrighter magazine. Other ghosts include the boy, who appears to be between the ages of eight and 10, as well as older men. Those claiming to have seen the apparitions say they are somewhat transparent but clear enough to distinguish their sex and age. Most of the sightings, according to the article, were on the third floor (where the operating room had been) and in the basement (which at one time housed the morgue).

Colorado Paranormal Investigation (CPI), a Denver-based team of ghost hunters, late last year investigated ghost sightings on F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming using electromagnetic field indicators, digital cameras and tape recorders. CPI investigator Karl Holden requested a visit to the base after reading (in the Fort D. A. Russell edition of the Warren Sentinel) about base personnel sensing the presence of a ghost. CPI's investigation turned up recordings of what they described as "paranormal heavy breathing, whispering and sobbing" in the base's Civil Air Patrol building, according to a report by the base's public affairs department.

The investigators also reported that their camera batteries drained uncharacteristically quickly (which they attributed to spirits drawing energy from the environment) in that building. CPI's investigation of the base's 90th Security Forces Group's Bldg. 34 and Security Forces Investigations building turned up little evidence of the supernatural, although investigators report hearing a book slam against the floor and another flying off a shelf while in the base library. (Alas, neither incident was captured on tape.)

Although not strictly a paranormal encounter, Reuters last week reported on recently revealed information that two U.S. fighter pilots were scrambled at the Royal Air Force base at Manston, Kent in the U.K. in May 1957 with orders to shoot down an unidentified flying object.

No shots were fired, but the mission was kept under wraps until information about it was recently handed over to the National Archives in London, which has tracked numerous reports of UFO encounters over the years. The pilots  said that their radar detected a large object in the sky—like a "flying aircraft carrier"—that at times sat motionless and then took off at a speed they estimated to be more than 7,600 miles per hour, Reuters reports. The documents, however, contain no official explanation for the incident.

(Image courtesy of iStockphoto)

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