The following is a brief excerpt from Lakehurst: Barrens, Blimps & Barons, available now at Amazon and Lulu, as well as at the headquarters of the Lakehurst Historical Society. It recounts one of the many ghost stories that still haunt Navy Lakehurst’s famous Hangar No. 1.
As Navy veteran Don Adams recalls, Hangar No. 1 briefly served as a morgue, the results of a disaster that still cannot be explained. Do the ghosts of Hangar No. 1 originate from the now unassuming rooms once used to house those who fell like angels in flame? Some believe they do. Maybe a clue lies with the ghosts.
A long passage once spanned the length of the over eight hundred-foot-long hangar. To this day the doors of what’s left of the passage are still prone to sudden and violent slamming as if restless and angry. A Navy man once walked along this passage in the late evening, at first alone. Then in the distance he saw a fellow Navy man walking towards him. The stranger was in archaic dress blues. A set of half-wings was pinned to the uniform, signifying a certified balloon pilot.
But the last Navy blimp was decommissioned in 1962. There were no more Navy balloon pilots.
The man in the old dress blues approached. He was offered a “hello.” No response. Kept walking. And passed through the startled onlooker, who turned and saw that the balloon pilot was gone.
The full story, along with others, is available in Lakehurst: Barrens, Blimps & Barons. My thanks to the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society for the tour, interviews, and information they provided while I worked on this piece.