Go to Unsolved Mystery Publications Main Index Go to Free account page
Go to frequently asked mystery questions Go to Unsolved Mystery Publications Main Index
Welcome: to Unsolved Mysteries 1 2 3
 New Mystery StoryNew Unsolved Mystery UserLogon to Unsolved MysteriesRead Random Mystery StoryChat on Unsolved MysteriesMystery Coffee housePsychic Advice on Unsolved MysteriesGeneral Mysterious AdviceSerious Mysterious AdviceReplies Wanted on these mystery stories

Show Stories by
Recently Updated
Wanting Replies
Recently Replied to
Site Suggestions
Highest Rated
Most Rated
General Advice

Ancient Beliefs
Angels, God, Spiritual
Conspiracy Theories
Dream Interpretation
Embarrassing Moments
General Interest
Household tips
Human Interest
Humor / Jokes
In Recognition of
Lost Friends/Family
Missing Persons
Mysterious Happenings
Mysterious Sounds
Near Death Experience
Ouija Mysteries
Out of Body Experience
Party Line
Psychic Advice
Religious / Religions
Serious Advice
Strictly Fiction
Unsolved Crimes
Urban Legends
USM Events and People
USM Games
In Memory of
Self Help
Search Stories:

Stories By AuthorId:

Web Site   

Bookmark and Share

The Ghost blimp

  Author:  15228  Category:(Mysterious) Created:(8/23/2004 7:32:00 AM)
This post has been Viewed (14792 times)

By Mark J. Price

Beacon Journal staff writer

There's no way we'll ever really know what happened.

We can read every document, examine every photograph and explore every theory, but we'll still be no closer to learning the terrible truth.

Sixty years ago, two men vanished into thin air.

Navy airship L-8 was on routine patrol off the coast of San Francisco, searching for Japanese submarines in the Pacific Ocean. A few hours after its morning launch on Aug. 16, 1942, the blimp floated back to shore -- minus its two-man crew -- prompting one of the greatest mysteries of World War II.

Where did the pilots go?

The bizarre incident was of great interest in Akron, where the L-8 and other naval blimps had been built. It was regarded as a local tragedy because one of the missing pilots was a former Akron resident whose in-laws still lived in town.

The L-8 wasn't intended to be a military craft. It was supposed to be a Goodyear blimp.

It was built in 1941 to replace the 1940 Goodyear Ranger, which had been sold to the Navy. The war intervened, though, and the new airship was turned over to the Navy as well.

Blimps were highly prized in coastal defense. Armed with machine guns and depth charges, they were quite capable of locating, tracking and bombarding enemy submarines.

Goodyear delivered the L-8 in February 1942 to Moffett Field, Calif., the Navy base named for Adm. William A. Moffett, who was killed in the 1933 crash of the USS Akron zeppelin. In the world of airships, there are always Akron connections.

Lt. j.g. Ernest D. Cody, 27, pilot of the L-8, had lived in Akron and was married to the former Helen Haddock, daughter of Akron Goodyear employee Richard L. Haddock and his wife, Juanita.

Cody was an experienced pilot who in April 1942 may have changed the course of history by guiding the L-8 to a rendezvous with the USS Hornet in the Pacific. The naval blimp dropped off a 300-pound load of parts for the B-25 bombers that Jimmy Doolittle's Raiders would use to pound Tokyo and boost America's morale.

Four months later, Cody would make history again.

He and Ensign Charles E. Adams, 38, took off in the L-8 about 6 a.m. on Aug. 16 from Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. They set a course for the Farallon Islands, about 30 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge.

An hour into the flight, Cody radioed to his base that the pilots had spotted a possible oil slick on the water's surface and were going to investigate. He was never heard from again.

Shortly before noon, bathers on a beach near San Francisco looked up to see an extremely low-flying blimp. It snagged briefly on a rocky outcropping before breaking away and continuing eastward.

``It was dished on top and appeared to be drifting with its motors off,'' witness Bruce McIntyre told a reporter in 1942. ``It came in over Mussel Rock very low, then over the hill back of us. It was so low I could see shroud lines almost touching the hilltop.''

The sagging L-8 landed a few miles away on a street in nearby Daly City, Calif., after hitting a house and two cars. Onlookers raced to help the pilots, but there were no pilots to help.

The gondola was empty.

Volunteer firefighters tore open the blimp's envelope to see if the men might somehow be inside. They weren't. The fabric flattened out across the road as hundreds of spectators gathered.

``The Navy is positive the men were not in the ship at any time during its derelict flight over land,'' the Navy announced.

Investigators were baffled. The gondola's door had been propped open. The throttles were set at idle. There was no evidence of foul play or fire. The radio was in working order.

A life raft and parachutes were still in the cabin, but two life vests were missing. If something had gone wrong, why hadn't the men radioed for help?

Ships searched up and down the coast for weeks, but the pilots could not be found... nor would they be.

The Navy announced it ``was at a loss'' to explain the incident. Theories flew, but nothing seemed to fit.

Did a Japanese submarine capture the men? There was no such evidence.

Did the men get into a fight and accidentally fall out? Unlikely.

Did one man lose his balance, hang from the gondola and then drag his would-be rescuer with him? No one knew.

Cody's Akron relatives couldn't understand how such a tragedy had occurred.

``My son-in-law was a level-headed and unexcitable sort of person,'' Juanita Haddock told a reporter in 1942. ``He would have used his head in any emergency, I believe.''

The L-8 quickly acquired the nickname of ``the ghost ship.'' Tales of the mysterious disappearance were embellished to include improbable details about half-eaten sandwiches and still-warm cups of coffee found in the cabin.

The theories would later grow to include UFO abductions and Bermuda Triangle-like disturbances.

``There are plenty of stories -- wild and otherwise -- without having to resort to aliens,'' said Eric Brothers, a local authority on airships who works at the University of Akron Archives. ``A conjectured Japanese submarine, a love triangle and other speculative theories have emerged.''

But nothing definitive.

One year after the incident, Cody and Adams were officially declared dead.

The L-8 would fly again, though.

It was repaired shortly after the crash and continued to serve the Navy as a training vessel. When the war ended, it was returned to Goodyear.

The gondola was stored at Wingfoot Lake for decades until it was finally rebuilt in 1968 for the Goodyear blimp America. The cabin where Cody and Adams met their fate would be used to televise sporting events.

Despite the new configuration, it couldn't quite shake the old nickname. The ``ghost blimp'' flew over Texas from 1969 until 1982, when the Houston-based America was retired.

Today, the former L-8 cabin is back in storage at Wingfoot Lake, waiting for another opportunity to soar into the sky.

Perhaps someday the ghost blimp will fly again.

How it changed my life:

Saw it on the history channel yesterday and thought it was an interesting mystery. There were lots of ships in the area, you'd think someone would have seen the crew if they had fallen out.

You can join Unsolved Mysteries and post your own mysteries or
interesting stories for the world to read and respond to Click here

Scroll all the way down to read replies.

Show all stories by   Author:  15228 ( Click here )

Halloween is Right around the corner.. .

Date: 8/23/2004 7:46:00 AM  From Authorid: 11341    Maybe they didnt want to be seen *shrugs*  
Date: 8/23/2004 8:51:00 AM  From Authorid: 62833    Certainly is an odd story indeed~ ~*PeacefulDreamer*~  
Date: 8/23/2004 9:58:00 AM  From Authorid: 62832    *hits head off desk**tries to work out an explanation* *hits head a second time* O I give up, intresting story though...
Date: 8/24/2004 12:51:00 AM  From Authorid: 62793    maybe they weren't supposed to be seen....if they were investigating an oil slick, it could have been oil leaking from a submarine....I know from my father that there was some truth to the rumors about japanese and german submarines floating off the west coast during the war.
Date: 7/27/2008 5:51:00 PM  From Authorid: 12072    ooo I'm watchign this on unsolved mysteries Ghosts disc 2 was researching it on google and found this! :-)  

Find great Easter stories on Angels Feather
Information Privacy policy and Copyrights

Renasoft is the proud sponsor of the Unsolved Mystery Publications website.
See: www.rensoft.com Personal Site server, Power to build Personal Web Sites and Personal Web Pages
All stories are copyright protected and may not be reproduced in any form, except by specific written authorization

Pages:150 665 74 1288 416 1022 736 900 395 247 1178 824 467 897 224 1096 1427 1091 420 171 808 729 567 1350 807 118 1441 406 611 599 720 803 320 771 1108 529 474 1115 1261 116 376 1020 1511 1466 19 1009 393 677 810 560 1168 468 294 1137 1147 602 82 10 620 1511 1372 482 976 326 878 114 32 96 1551 150 558 215 1307 943 1598 48 1352 975 1398 1355 505 1090 732 1518 1124 1112 224 1561 1032 75