The Peak District between Manchester and Sheffield in the north of England is a region of dark, striking natural beauty. It is known to be a dark, gloomy place; an area where tradition and legend come together; where history seems to blur with the present and where things can happen with no apparent reason. To the west of the Peaks, towards Manchester, lies the Longendale Valley. It not only brings is tourists and travelers, but is also one of Britain’s hot spots for UFO researchers and ghost-hunters. Although, Longendale has one particularly distinct type of supernatural story – Ghostplanes.
The district has a long relation to aircraft. The reservoirs in the area were used by the ‘Dambusters’ squadron to test their bouncing bombs during the Second World War. While these tests saw no fatal accidents, there have been over 50 cases of planes having been lost in the fog and crashed into the moors. Overrall, three hundred airmen have perished in these accidents. There is also an exceptional range of tales from people observing phantom aircraft seeming in distress. It is such a common occurrence that the local park rangers and mountain rescue teams have become acclimated to the notion of being called out for plane crashes that they cannot locate.
A conspicuous example happened on the night of March 24, 1990 where many residents were in the Peaks to view the Hale-Bopp comet when they witnessed a large, aircraft that was flying low on a collission course with local hills. Calls rang in to the emergency hot lines with countless calls describing the accident. Two of the most noteworthy calls were Marie-Frances Tattersfield, and her husband, a former pilot.
Mrs Tattersfield described a plane cruising well below the legal altitude for flying at night. It was observed that all of the windows were lit up which made it appear even more enigmatic as no coherent pilot would fly blind at the specific time of night over those hills. There was a search and rescue alunched by the local police with over one hundred volunteers, however no trace of any plane or crash was uncovered.
Although, the remains of many troubled aircraft do still contaminate the beautiful hills of that area. On one peak called Bleaklow, sits the shattered body of a B-29 Superfortress that crashed on November 3, 1948, killing all 13 crew members. Children within the local area who play on the hillside tell tales of a man in uniform who revealed himself as the guardian of the crash site. They state that he informed them about the history of the aircraft, and its crew before vanishing. When the children were shown photos of the deceased aircrew, they were chocked to find out that the man they met was the apparition of condemned plane captain, Langdon P. Tanner.
It is not only children who have observed the captain, as Gerald Scarratt also witnessed the B-29 crash as a young boy, but visited the site for the first time nearly two decades later. He explored the remains of the wreckage and found a gold coin ring engraved with the name ‘Langdon P. Tanner’. Not too long after hearing of his discovery, a group of aircraft admirers asked if he could take them to the wreck, ‘I bent down to show them where I found the ring, and when I looked up they had scarpered and were ten or fifteen yards away. ‘When I caught up with them they were ashen-faced. They said they had seen someone standing behind me, looking down and dressed in full flying uniform. I told them I had seen nothing, but they said: “We’ve all seen him, thanks for taking us up, but we are going.” And I have never seen or heard from them again,’ Scarratt said.
It would appear that, whether buried in the earth, or soaring through the skies, there are events occurring within the Peak District which are beyond the realm of our five senses which are clearly inexplicable.