Posts Tagged ‘1972’

In 1974 the Joelma building in São Paulo, Brazil caught fire and took a tragic 189 lives along with it. The legend seems to have gone on for a long time before the final days of the building, a 400 year legacy surrounds the land and a legend of 13 cursed souls of Jesuit colonists starts it, but 13 saints arriving later on seems to have ended it.

In 1554 the founding of São Paulo was started with Vasco da Gama and his Portuguese invaders, 12 priests and their altar boy founded the Jesuit College and they were cursed by the local tribe. They were cursed to take the lives of their fellow Christians who dared to live on the land.

On the area was a house for a chemist, Paul Campbell, he lived with his own family and extended family. He was a respected chemist and one day he returned home with a gun in hand, killing the household before burying them in a pit in the back of the garden and then turned the gun on himself. Murder-suicide, and 12 dead and the curse of the thirteen claimed a fire-fighter who caught an infection from one of the corpses and died the next day.

For 25 years that property and it’s land remained vacant until the construction of the Joelma building. The address name was changed, but still witnesses spoke about odd disturbances in the building. Even in 1972 it seemed that no one was at rest.

In 1974 an electrical fire engulfed the building, it killed 189 people and hospitalised 343. Strangely there were 13 victims that no one could identify or witness as being in the building prior to it’s outbreak. The thirteen people were in an elevator that would have reached up to 700 degrees at the time, yes that is roasting people level, and yet strangely all 13 of them emerged as a group. They did however died once outside from smoke inhalation, strangely thought it seems that the number 13 came around enough times to keep the original story in the recollection.

joelma-fire-late-on

I admit I went there and had no sense of anything spooky, just the overwhelming smell of the candy. I therefore amused myself by seeing some local tales about it and other reports of supposedly paranormal activity.

In April 1907 the park was officially opened and was a place for picnics and boating. Milton S Hershey created it for his employees at the candy factory and has been there since, it has grown and is now a modern day attraction for the public.

Some say that Hershey himself haunts the park, often rather than being reported as seen he is caught in the smell of cigar smoke when no-one else has one lit.

The #47 Carousel of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company found its place at the park and was moved from near Spring Creek to Founders Circle in 1972. Park Personnel have apparently reported lights that turn on themselves and the ride to have started up itself. The music of the Wurlitzer has been faintly heard when the ride is off.

An anecdote says a security officer who saw the lights on, went and turned them off and left, as he walked off the lights came back on and he turned around. The officer saw a shadowy figure and the officer went back to intercept an intruder, he could not find anyone.

There was once a swimming pool at the park, it was filled in during 1971 but the lighthouse there was kept. Several children had drowned in the pools and the children have been seen near the lighthouse oblivious of the modern changes.

William Harter’s death is the one that was documented and therefore merited a little more of my time. He was at the park in August 1977 as part of a summer vocational training programme. The ride struck and killed Harter after it moved, another maintenance worker was also injured. The Hershey Company was fined for two safety violations. There are some claims of his ghost there too, but I cannot really find anything more about it than that. It was a sad tragedy that a young apprentice died there but I don’t know if that really means the area is haunted by him.

The scariest part for me there was the flipping ride with the cow butts swishing!

Hersheypark view from Ferris Wheel, 2013-08-10

Stockstill: We did something to the altitude.
Loft: What?
Stockstill: We’re still at 2,000 feet, right?
Loft: Hey — what’s happening here?

Eastern Air Lines, Flight 401 is famous due to the tragic accident that occurred, 29th December 1972. The crew did not see the deactivation of the autopilot during a troubleshoot with a malfunction on the landing gear indicator system, as a result 101 people lost their lives. 77 survived but of those 2 died shortly afterwards. It was the first crash of a wide-bodied aircraft and the deadliest in the USA, as it crashed into the Florida Everglades.

Bob Loft had been with the airline for over 30 years, the flight carried 163 passengers and 13 crew. Upon reaching Miami International Airport and all looked fine until first officer Stockstill noticed the green light for the landing gear was not showing and as it was possible the gear was not all the way down so they tried again to try but aborted it when no light arrived.  They flew out around the Everglades to try and resolve the problem, so the autopilot was put on and for 80 seconds they carried on with a level flight.

When it was noticed that they had already descended below, the initial message above is the one recovered from the flight recorder later on. The plane was travelling at 227 miles an hour when it hit the ground and broke up as it slid along the swamp ground.

A hero of the crash is Rob Marquis (Bud) who was in the swamp when the plane hit. He rushed to the scene and assisted with the rescue. His efforts gave him the Humanitarian Award and the Alumitec Airboat Hero Award. In 2007 he was awarded a plaque, but sadly the injuries that he had suffered also contributed to his death in 2008 (Rest in peace hero).

The swamp that they landed in helped to save the lives of some crash survivors as it lessened the impact on the plane, and blocked up some wounds.  Eight passengers were however infected with gas gangrene and hyperbaric chambers had to be found for them to ensure they could recover.

Of the survivors 60 received serious injuries, 17 had minor injuries and did not have to be hospitalised. The most common injuries included fractures and 14 of the survivors had varied degrees of burns.

I am going to leave the crash causes etc and move on to the reason I picked this for a post. Ghosts…

The plane had some salvageable parts and Flight 401’s parts were re-used amongst Eastern’s planes.  Reports had been made on planes amongst the fleet about sightings of the crew and passengers of the flight being aboard. Sightings of Don Repo and Bob Loft were so becoming a worrying problem, the company warned staff of dismissal if they were caught spreading the ghost stories.

It is worth noting that the sightings were only on planes with the salvaged parts too. Whilst the rumours were washed away by the company it is reported that all the parts were then removed and replaced. An original floorboard remains in the archives at History Miami in South Florida. Reports have since petered out.

the crash and a mention of the ghost story is mentioned in Series 5, Episode 9 of Air Crash Investigations.