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Whiteleas Ghost Plane

The following account of an experience with a phantom aircraft was published in the Shields Gazzette on Wednesday 4 February 2009 in an article entitled ‘Did Dougal see a ghost plane?’

READER Dougal Brown contacted me recently and related a fascinating experience he had as a young boy.

To this day he doesn't know quite what to make of it, but there's no doubt in my mind that what he saw affected him deeply.

"It happened one afternoon when I was about 12 years old", Dougal told me.

"We lived in Whiteleas estate, and when I got in from school my mother told me that a butcher in Boldon Lane was selling cheap joints of meat.

"She asked me if I would go and get some for the weekend, and gave me the money.

"I walked up Whiteleas Way towards the John Reid Road, and it was really raining heavily.

"It wasn't dark, but it was very dull and gloomy. There were a lot of clouds overhead. I remember thinking that I would be soaked through by the time I got back home."

As Dougal approached the John Reid Road roundabout, he happened to look up in the sky.

He can't recall now what made him do this, but he was puzzled because he could see lightning arcs above his head yet could hear no thunderclaps.

"The lightning was like a bluey-yellow, and as I watched it I suddenly saw an aeroplane descending out of the clouds.

"It was a dull grey colour, but I couldn't see any markings or lights even though it was flying very low down."

Dougal also noticed that the plane was flying very slowly indeed, and there was no throbbing of the engines or any other noises.

For a moment he wondered if he was looking at a glider, but as soon as the thought entered his head he dismissed it.

"It was far too big to be a glider", he said, "and anyway, what would a glider be doing flying over Whiteleas?"

Quite. Then something even stranger happened. Just as the plane was almost directly above Dougal's head, it started to shimmer.

"It was the same as when you watch a road in the heat of summer, and it seems to shimmer, or when you watch something through a candle flame.

"I know it wasn't my eyes playing tricks on me, for nothing else was shimmering like that - just the plane."

Then, in an instant, the craft simply disappeared. Dougal knew it hadn't disappeared into the clouds, because it was by then flying way below cloud level.

"I can't explain it. One second it was there...then it was gone," he said.

Dougal continued on his errand, and returned home with some beef and pork in a carrier bag. He told his mother what he'd seen, but she dismissed it.

"It must have just gone back into the clouds," she chided him, but he knew that it hadn't.

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