A Missing Plane from 1955 Landed After 37 Years.
Life is rife with mysteries, many of which are never solved. Some puzzles seem to defy space and time, common sense, and probability. Great mysteries like the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, the creation of Stonehenge, and the true identity of the infamous Jack the Ripper still fascinate the public today.
There are lesser-known mysteries that also await resolution, just as tantalizing to mystery hunters as they are to the general population. That is often the key to what makes mysteries and conspiracy theories so intriguing and popular, even years after the events occurred. This story is about one of those mysteries that defied belief, and for a good reason.
The story of Pan Am Flight 914 has intrigued conspiracy theorists and alien invasion enthusiasts for years. On July 2nd, 1955, a plane took off from New York City, carrying 57 passengers and four crew members, destined for Florida. For a short while, the flight appeared to proceed normally until something bizarre occurred that changed the lives of everyone onboard. Without any communication or warning, Pan Am Flight 914 disappeared from the radar screens, and no one in the control tower back in New York could contact the plane’s pilot or other personnel. It was as if the aircraft had never existed at all.
Authorities scrambled to find the plane; they assumed the worst, that the plane had malfunctioned somehow and crashed. But despite the efforts of these men and women to find the location of the crash, no trace could be found. No wreckage was located, and no bodies or belongings from any of the passengers aboard were recovered. After months of investigation, authorities determined that the plane must have crashed into the sea, leaving no trace behind. The airline compensated the families of the passengers for the loss of their loved ones, and the case was assumed closed.
Then, 37 years later, everything changed. On May 21st, 1992, air traffic controllers at the airport in Caracas, Venezuela, were settling in for another day on the job when they noted the presence of a strange aircraft entering the airspace. But it had not been picked up by the airport’s radar system. “We could see the plane with our eyes, but according to the radar, it wasn’t there,” explained one of the air traffic controllers.
Another controller, Juan de la Corte, received a contact signal from the mystery plane. “Where are we? What the hell is going on?” the pilot of the airplane asked de la Corte. “We are Pan American Airways Flight 914 from New York to Miami with a crew of four and 57 passengers.”
This incredible announcement stunned the controllers in the tower. To maintain some control over the situation, de la Corte began to ask the pilot questions. He carefully inquired as to whether the pilot had experienced any trouble on his flight and why he was clearly off course, having flown in the opposite direction by some 1,800 kilometers. “Are you Mayday? Are you in trouble?” de la Corte asked the pilot, but there was no immediate response.
Then the pilot said that he was scheduled to land at Miami International Airport at 9:55 a.m. on July 2nd, 1955. Then he told de la Corte that something wasn’t right with the scenery in front of him. De la Corte broke the news to the pilot as carefully as he could: “Captain, this is Caracas International Airport. The date is May 21st, 1992.”
The pilot cried out, “Oh my God!” and began breathing rapidly. De la Corte told the pilot to remain calm; he had already sent out a ground crew to meet them. As the plane prepared to land, the air traffic controllers got their first clear look at it, and they were amazed at what they saw. The aircraft was outdated and rugged-looking, a far cry from the more modern, sleek jet planes that they were accustomed to working with.
In the background of their communications with the pilot, the air traffic crew could hear the panicked cries and screams of the plane’s passengers. The ground crew directed the plane to land, and security guards were preparing to help the passengers disembark, a process they were confident they could do without adding further confusion to the situation.
Suddenly, as they approached the plane, the pilot screamed at them. The air traffic controllers heard him over the radio as he yelled, “No, do not come near! We are leaving now!”
With that declaration, the pilot turned the plane towards the nearest runway and took off again, leaving in his wake a stunned airport crew. When Flight 914 was in the air again, three planes from the Venezuelan Air Force tried to track it, but mysteriously, as it did before its arrival, the plane was not traceable by radar, and the military was never able to locate the plane’s whereabouts.
When the aircraft was found again, it brought with it far more questions than answers. Just a few hours after abruptly leaving Caracas, Flight 914 arrived at Miami International Airport, where it had been scheduled to land 37 years earlier. The security and staff at the Miami Airport were stunned. How did this plane arrive here in this condition? Where had it been for 37 years?
After deplaning, the pilot, copilot, crew, and passengers were interrogated by security officials for hours. There were so many questions that had no answers or couldn’t be answered. One of the creepiest aspects was not just that these people had left New York 37 years ago, but that not one of them had aged a day since they left. Officials wondered how the plane managed to operate for so long, but if the aircraft had time-traveled somehow, what had only been a few hours for the crew and passengers had been 37 years in our timeline.
The story of Flight 914 became the source of many conspiracy theories, with many bloggers writing about the phenomenon and people presenting evidence about what caused it to happen on YouTube and other social media outlets. Some theorists claimed that the Bermuda Triangle caused the plane’s disappearance and time travel. Others said that it must have been aliens from outer space.
But as much as some people wanted the story to be true, it became more and more evident that it was just that: a story and nothing else.
If you investigate further into the story, you find the original source of it, a pulp newspaper called World Weekly News, which was the only paper to write about the plane in three separate stories. All the stories had inaccuracies in terms of the dates and times mentioned. The clincher was the entirely made-up Juan de la Corte, who was identified with two separate photographs in two of the stories.
In this case, the story of Flight 914 was truly “fake news.” As with any conspiracy theory, there will always be people who believe that the story of Flight 914 is valid. People love the idea of the unknown, hunting down mysteries, and explaining the seemingly unexplainable.
Sometimes that can be a dangerous prospect, but in harmless situations like the Flight 914 story, it can present a telling tall tale, one that is alternately intriguing and frightening and that compels us to consider our place in a world that may hold more mysteries than we will ever know.