“Ladies and gentlemen, this is captain speaking. Welcome aboard Flight 914! Please fasten your seatbelts and observe the no smoking sign— we will take off in 5 minutes. When we’re at the cruising altitude, refreshments will be served to you. Our flight will take 37 years. I wish you a pleasant trip”.
What would you do if you went on a vacation to another city and suddenly found yourself in another country altogether? I guess more adventurous types would even enjoy such a change of plans, but most of us would be confused. Anyway, I bet even the most reckless of adventurers would at least raise an eyebrow if told they’d flown for close to half a century.
On July 2, 1955, Pan American Flight 914 made its way from New York to Miami, Florida. It was a fine sunny day, and 57 passengers on board the plane were looking forward to seeing the warm beaches and palm trees of Florida. The plane took off without trouble, but 3 hours later, when it should’ve already landed at the destination airport, it was nowhere to be seen. Radars of the control tower in Miami didn’t show any approaching aircraft, and no distress signals were received either. When air traffic control contacted the New York tower, they got a perplexing reply: Flight 914 just disappeared from the radars in mid-air. Everything indicated that the plane was lost: apart from having vanished from the radars, air traffic control couldn’t get through to the pilots with the radio. The DC-4 simply vanished in thin air, leaving no trace of itself or any of the people on board .
Investigation was started right away. The flight route took the plane over a part of the Atlantic Ocean, and it seemed that the only explanation of its vanishing was that It crashed somewhere along the way. Rescue teams were deployed, the Coast Guard was scanning the waters, but still no luck. Not a single piece of the lost plane was to be found. Investigators could only shrug their shoulders in dismay: 61 people (passengers plus the crew) just blinked out of existence along with a huge flying machine.
Eventually, although the case was never really solved, there was an official statement that the plane crashed, taking the lives of everyone on board. But despite numerous and understandable questions from the grieving relatives, no one could say what really happened to Flight 914. Until 37 years later, at least.
It’s now September 9, 1992, and we’re in Caracas, Venezuela. It’s a perfectly normal day for Juan de la Corte, air traffic controller at the Caracas airport. He turned up at work, made some coffee, and took his seat, overlooking flights. He was giving some minor comments on a flight in progress when something weird happened. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new dot appeared on the radar. It was as if an aircraft had just popped up from nothingness, or as if it had been hiding from the radar and now decided to show up. Either way, it was a strange thing to see near a civil airport, and de la Corte checked the readings several times, thinking at first that it was a mistake. It wasn’t, though: the readings were correct, and soon he and his colleagues were able to see it with their own eyes.
In less than 10 minutes, the culprit showed up in the field of vision. At first it looked to the air traffic control like an ordinary airplane, but as it got closer, they could see that it was, in fact, very old: a DC-4 McDonnell Douglas passenger aircraft, still with propellers instead of modern turbines. Such planes were still in use, but they’d grown obsolete and mostly replaced by more contemporary ones. But that wasn’t even the beginning of weird.
The real confusion began when the pilot of the mysterious aircraft contacted the tower and asked in English, “Where are we?” As the one in charge at the time, Juan de la Corte replied they were closing in on the Caracas airport and asked where the flight was headed. There was a pause on the other side, and then the pilot answered, “We are Pan Am Flight 914 heading from New York to Miami, Florida, with a crew of four and 57 passengers on board.” This took the air control completely off guard. What was a Pan Am flight doing 1,100 miles away from its point of destination? And how did it even get there? De la Corte was quick to ask a few more questions to the pilot, and what he heard next baffled him. The pilot said his flight was scheduled to land at the Miami airport at 9.55 am on July 2, 1955. Now it was time for the tower to fall into silence. Before asking anything else, not to make matters worse, air control cleared the plane for landing. De la Corte didn’t know what to make of the pilot’s words perhaps he thought he went insane, but that was irrelevant since there were people on board the mystery airplane. He had to make sure they landed safely, and decided he would ask questions when they did.
Ground units were immediately called to assist the plane and the passengers, and it landed without trouble. Having relaxed a little bit, Juan finally decided to ask something that bothered him. “Do you know today is May 21, 1992?” Another pause that ensued told him it was a huge mistake to say that. As the ground crew approached the airplane, the pilot’s bewildered voice on the radio said, “What are you talking about?” When de la Corte heard that, he knew he would have to order security guards to go to the plane and escort the passengers and the crew. However, as they were moving towards the aircraft, the pilot did something nobody expected. Juan heard the flight captain’s panicky voice saying, “No! Stay away! We’re leaving now!” And indeed, he started the engines again and, without waiting for take-off clearance, taxied the plane to the runway.
Juan tried to stop him over the radio, telling him he was creating a dangerous situation, but the pilot didn’t respond. He simply drove to the runway, accelerated, and took off. For some time, the plane could be seen in the air, soon it only appeared as a dot on the radar, and then it vanished again. No words could describe the shock Juan de la Corte and his colleagues at the air control tower were in. They’d just seen an old airplane appearing out of nowhere, the pilot telling them he was headed to Miami, and before they could do anything, it flew away again, only to disappear in thin air like it had been a collective hallucination. No trace was found of that plane ever again, and to this day, no one can explain what happened that morning in Caracas.
Sniff Smell that Smells kinda fishy right? I must say, though, that there’s much dispute about the credibility of this event. Back in 1985, a tabloid called Weekly World News was the first to cover this story, and yes, I’ve just said 1985 seven years before the most popular version appeared. Later, the same newspaper retold the story twice more, only with other details, and with 1992 set as the date of a time-traveling aircraft appearing in the future. The picture of Juan de la Corte, the air traffic controller in Caracas, also differed from the 1985 original. So the story was largely announced fake, and it became a sort of an urban legend.
However, the legend still lives, and many sources retell it in their own way. Some even go as far as to say that the passengers of the plane eventually returned to their homes, and strangely, none of them looked a day older than 37 years prior, while everyone they knew grew old at a humanly pace. They say doctors examined the pilot, the crew, and the passengers but couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary the people were healthy. This part doesn’t look even remotely credible, though, because no solid piece of evidence can be found about 61 people returning from a decades-long flight.
One thing that keeps popping up on the Internet and piquing the interest of paranormal enthusiasts is a small pocket calendar that somehow was left on the Caracas airport runway when the notorious plane took off. The thing about it is that it’s from 1955, and it allegedly remains the only artifact of that weird encounter. There are still people who claim the calendar is real, but once again, there’s no actual proof of its existence.
Well, who knows, maybe it’s just a tall tale, an urban legend indeed; or it could be a huge conspiracy to hide the fact that time travel is possible. I guess we’ll never know. Wink wink. And what do you think? Was Flight 914 really lost in time for 37 years, or is it all just a hoax? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned something new today