Did the dead captain of a doomed airship speak
from beyond the grave? 1927. It’s decade before Germany’s Hindenburg
airship takes flight, but in Britain there is already a race to build the world largest
aircraft. There are two competitors, each building a hydrogen filled airship. The R100
is privately designed, the R101 is designed by the air ministry. October 4th 1930. The R101 sets off from Cardington,
Bedfordshire, UK on an international test flight to Karachi, in British India. At 2:07
AM the next morning the airship crashes in northern France. 48 of the 54 passengers perished.
But what caused the crash? Two days later the dead captain of the R101
gives the answers at a seance. He describes the final moments of the ship including technical
details that nobody else could possibly know. A subsequent inquiry into the crash shows
every detail given by the deceased captain to be true. The spirits have spoken… Or have they? The seance was conducted by Eileen Garrett,
a renowned medium of the era. Notes made by Garrett show that she had had a keen interest
in the construction of the R101 prior to the crash. While much of the information received at
the seance was not common knowledge, none of it was secret and was easily accessible
to a woman of Garrett’s standing in society, or to her spiritualist friends. She had more
than enough information to fake the believable testimony from the dead captain. Except she
made mistakes: The spirit voice mentions altimeter springs and a fluctuating gas meter reading
– the R101 had neither device. Did the spirits speak? Was Garrett a fraud?
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