It goes without saying that museums are steeped in history.

But author Kevin Desmond has uncovered a decidedly spooky aspect of the past at the RAF Museum and its surrounds in his new book Aviation Ghosts.

Kevin was intrigued when he realised many airstations across the UK lay in a straight line bearing South by Southeast 165 degrees. He travelled the route to investigate.

Along the way he uncovered some eerie and curious mysteries of a paranormal kind -- particularly in the RAF's museum site and former base in Grahame Park Way, Colindale. Its most famous ghost is a pilot who was killed when his aircraft crashed between the two original hangars and the museum has a display which tells visitors all about him.

"The first fatal accident at the RAF Museum occurred on June 30 1934," said Kevin.

"The pilot Mr Lea was injured and his observer Squadron Leader Stanley Collett, the son of the then Lord Mayor of London, was killed. Their aircraft crashed due to engine failure and Squadron Leader Collett was burned to death in 'the corner between the enclosure and the machine park'."

But this pilot is not the only spook in the building. Kevin says security officers working there have seen unidentified men moving along the walkways, heard whistling, muffled talking, music, and unaccountable juddering has rocked items in the glass showcases.

He also tells the tale of a senior aircraftsman who has twice seen a figure of a man wearing an old-style flying jacket and boots in 1972.

There have also been strange goings-on at the East Camp site.

"In recent times," writes Kevin, "the area between the Grahame White hangars and the modern supply control centre of the housing estate, has been found to give an intensely cold and eerie atmosphere unrelated to weather conditions."

And it does not end there. The author concludes: "I feel sure there is much, much more in the way of paranormal activity associated with aviation that remains undiscovered... my search continues."

-Aviation Ghosts is published by Leo Cooper books. To order a copy telephone 0226 734555.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.