by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Imagine you’re sitting at a desk in an empty building. It’s late at night and the only sound resonating in the old structure is the strokes of the keyboard and music playing in the background.
All of a sudden the door downstairs slams shut and the thumping sounds of footsteps begin to echo from the staircase.
Clunk, clunk, clunk – the steps grow closer and it’s apparent someone, or something, is ascending towards your floor.
Springing from the comfort of your desk, you race to the stairs and look down. No one’s there.
You’ve just entered the RAF Mildenhall Fright Zone, and the stories you’re about to hear are actual accounts of former employees.
Geoff Janes used to work for the 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office as the editor for the Marauder, RAF Mildenhall’s old command magazine. His old office building is still around, and is now home to the 3rd Air Force.
According to Janes, the 3rd Air Force building is haunted, and here’s his account:
When PA was located in that building, and we were still producing the Marauder magazine, I often had to work late on Wednesday nights to meet the contractual deadline.
One particular Wednesday I was the only one in the building, and all the lights were out except in the upstairs office where I was working. I usually listened to the radio pretty loud while I worked to kill the silence.
I guess it was about 9 p.m., and suddenly I heard a door slam downstairs. I turned the radio down thinking someone had just come back to pick something up. As I sat in silence, I listened to try to figure out if it was someone from PA.
I sat there listening, and I heard nothing. I got up and walked to the door of the office, and realized whoever it was hadn’t turned on the lights downstairs. I found that quite odd, so I switched on the hallway light and walked downstairs. I went into the main hallway and looked left, then right.
There were no lights on in the building.
Then it dawned on me that maybe whoever left the building last may not have locked the door behind them.
It’s obviously pretty windy in England, so as I went to check the door I began to rationalize it away.
I reached to push on the door … nope, it was securely closed, I reached for the handle … nope, it was locked.
I glanced out in the parking lot, but the only car there was mine. I went back upstairs, turned the radio up and went back to work. About a half hour later, BAM! The sound of a door slamming again. I turned down the radio again, and this time I could hear someone walking up the stairs — which was a relief because the first time had me a little spooked.
Nervously laughing, I got up and went to the stairwell to greet whoever it was. But when I got to the door, no one was there.
All right, so at this point I started thinking, this isn’t funny.
Again, I walked down the stairs, walked all the way around the building only to find out that yet again I was the only one there. I checked all the exit doors this time, and sure enough they were all locked.
I shook off the spookiness of the situation, went back upstairs, finished the magazine and went home.
The next day, I told my coworkers about it and they just sort of laughed, shook their heads and rolled their eyes.
For the next few weeks, every time I worked late, I’d hear weird noises in the building.
Sometimes it sounded like a door closing, sometimes it was the sound of someone walking up the stairs. I eventually got pretty good at ignoring it.
Still every time I told my coworkers, I got the same looks.
When a new Airman arrived, I told him about it only to be met with the same skepticism.
I told then-Senior Airman Clark Staehle that the next Wednesday I was going to need him to stay late and help me lay out the paper.
A couple of hours went by, and I was beginning to get annoyed that the building wasn’t up to its usual tricks.
I turned down the radio, and said, “I know you probably think I’m crazy, but normally we would have heard something by now.”
He looked at me with a grin, and said, “No man, I’m sure you do hear things in here, it’s an old building. All old buildings make funny noises.”
Right about then, BAM! The sound of the door closing. His grin slipped off his face making room for the look of shock. Clump, clump, clump, the sound of someone walking up the stairs.
I looked over at Clark with a grin on my face, and said, “Hey man, why don’t you go see who that is.”
He got up full of confidence and went over to look down the stairs.
Nope, there was no one there.
He turned around, mouth gaping and eyes wide as saucers. A couple of expletives later, he sat back down and said, “Let’s just get this thing finished.”
I turned the radio back up and smiled, feeling vindicated that I was perfectly sane.
It may have been the wind, and it might even have been the building settling, but it was the last time I intentionally stayed late to work on the paper.
Stay tuned as the 100th ARW PA Office brings you your next RAF Mildenhall Fright Zone. This special series will run until Halloween 2011.