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Haunted Airports


O’Hare International Airport in Chicago


Illinois, which is the busiest airport in the world in terms of the number of takeoffs and landings, and also holds the title of having the most runways of any other international airport. It was here at this bustling hive of activity that one of the worst aviation disasters in history struck on May 25, 1979. It was the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend, and O’Hare International Airport was packed with holiday travelers looking forward to the long weekend. 
This seemingly sunny, pleasant day found 270 passengers and crew aboard an American Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10, Flight 191, which was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles International Airport at 3PM. As the plane taxied for takeoff, 
there was no reason at all to suspect anything could possibly go wrong. The crew was comprised of Captain Walter Lux, a seasoned pilot with 22,000 hours of flight experience, as well as First Officer James Dillard and Flight Engineer Alfred Udovich, both also highly experienced, and additionally, the DC-10 was known as one of the most reliable aircraft in the skies

Indeed, the plane took off without a hitch, and everything seemed to be completely normal at first. Then, at about 6,000 feet into the takeoff roll, one of the engines completely separated from the aircraft to go careening over the left wing, ripping out a good portion of the hydraulic system in the process. Concerned air traffic controllers radioed to the flight to check on the situation, but they received no response as the flight crew was too busy trying to wrestle control of the struggling plane and keep it in the air. Despite the loss of the engine, the flight continued to rise steadily before sharply banking steadily to the left. Shortly after, the enormous DC-10 fell from the sky from a height of about 300 feet to plow into a nearby field that had once been the site of the old Ravenswood Airport, killing all 258 passengers and 13 crew instantly, as well as two people on the ground at the time. The doomed Flight 191 remains the worst aviation disaster in United States history.


It wasn’t long after the horrifying crash that strange stories began to emerge from the vicinity of the crash site. Motorists on the nearby highway began reporting the presence of bouncing orbs of light and even fleetingly glimpsed figures lurking within the field where the flight had gone down. On several occasions, police actually went in to investigate the reports of the mysterious lights and figures, believing that it was simply trespassers with flashlights looking to see the site or collect macabre souvenirs, yet no matter how fast they responded to these reports whenever they arrived, authorities found the field to be completely abandoned. Reports of strange lights and shadowy figures in the area continue to this day, as well as claims that voices can be heard shouting, moaning, or screaming in the darkness, even when it appears that no one is there. Dogs also allegedly react strongly in the vicinity; snarling, barking, or panicking for no discernible reason.


Even weirder were the claims made at around the time of the crash by those who lived in the trailer park next to the field. Residents claim that within hours of the disastrous crash, there could be heard strange knocking sounds on doors or windows, and when these sounds were investigated it turned out no one was there. This bizarre phenomenon gradually intensified in the following weeks, with reports that doorknobs were being turned or shaken, objects moved, and that there were frequent sounds of disembodied footsteps on porches or stairways. Spookier still were the reports that describe actually coming face to face with ghostly figures who would complain that they had lost their luggage or proclaim that they had a connecting flight to catch before vanishing into thin air. One such sighting was made by a man out walking his dog, who came upon a lone young man wandering around near the crash site. According to the witness, the stranger smelled faintly of gasoline, and seemed to have a thin smoke or steam emanating from him. As odd as this was, the witness nevertheless turned to point out a pay phone, and when he turned back the enigmatic young man was nowhere to be seen, even though it was an open area and he had been turned away for just a second. Sightings of such ghostly strangers have occurred even within O’Hare International Airport itself. It is said that on occasion a young man wearing slightly out of date business clothes can be seen using a payphone near the gate from which Flight 191 departed. When the man finishes his call, he then allegedly takes a few steps and simply vanishes. Over the years there have been many photographs and strange EVP recordings that are claimed to be of the ghosts of Flight 191, and there is even a ghost tour in the area which will take visitors with a macabre curiosity to the crash site.