For years visitors to Fantasy of Flight, Kermit Weeks’ aircraft collection in Polk City, Florida, believed that the only specters of the past they’d encounter would be the collection of 40 fully restored vintage aircraft. But as stories of unexplained occurrences such as unidentifiable noises, temperature changes and the detection of mists and shadows drifted into the paranormal community, Florida’s Apollo Paranormal Investigations (API), a non-profit investigative team out of Apollo, Fla., took notice.
API’s team of paranormal investigators (or “ghost hunters”) conducted a series of scientific explorations through Fantasy of Flight and, on a paranormal-activity scale between 1 and 10, assigned the vintage aircraft collection an 11. Based on their conclusions, Fantasy of Flight is premiering nightFlight, an after-hours program that offers visitors four hours to explore the facility in search of the unexplained.
Talk of energies that linger in and around the restored aircraft doesn’t surprise Weeks.
“We’ve had a number of very interesting paranormal occurrences at Fantasy of Flight since we opened in 1995,” he said. “It never occurred to us to explore them until we were approached from two completely different and independent paranormal groups wanting to investigate our facilities. I personally believe the apparitions and energies that have been experienced are not only connected to specific airplanes, but the environment they are housed in as well. There have been movements of objects, voices heard, apparitions showing up in photos and actual sightings.”
With the nightFlight tour, a limited number of guests will join API’s paranormal exploration guides for a four-hour after-dark experience. Guests will be trained in the operation of tools and devices these professionals use to determine the difference between coincidences and inexplicable phenomenon.
According to Kim Long, General Manager, Fantasy of Flight, the entire experience is designed to satisfy skeptics and believers alike.
“Whether you’re inclined to believe in the spirit world or scoff at it, our goal is to first share with everyone what some feel is the haunted history of the Fantasy of Flight collection. It is designed as a hands-on adventure as participants become familiar with the tools and techniques professionals use to conduct paranormal investigations. They become part of a team that actually searches for evidence of supernatural activity — and will have a unique experience to talk about for many years to come!”
During an orientation session, guests will be given refreshments and an opportunity to share with others their own encounters with the paranormal. Next, all explorers enter a torch-lit labyrinth before arriving at the Fantasy of Flight hangar. Here, the API paranormal investigators share evidence of apparitions and mysterious sightings captured on audio, video, and film. Next, accompanied by no more than 10 participants each, the guides will instruct their teams in the use of equipment and investigative methods of capturing data before setting off on their exploration.
After midnight, the groups will reconnect for a debriefing and to share with others the results of their investigations from personal encounters to questionable sensations to concrete audio or visual evidence.
“By 1:30 a.m., we hope that our curious explorers will have experienced what so many of our employees, guests and paranormal researchers have witnessed in the past,” says Long. “They’ll have learned about the history of our vintage planes, they’ll know what it’s like to be part of a paranormal investigation and perhaps they’ll have made contact with these unexplained energies who – like all of our visitors — have an affinity for vintage aircraft.”
Priced at $75 plus tax per person, three nightFlight experiences have been scheduled for Jan. 30 and Feb. 27, as well as a special Feb. 13 Valentine’s Day event. Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, voice recorder, video recorder and extra batteries. Recommended attire includes secure, flat-soled shoes, a watch and “quiet” clothing that doesn’t have strings or glows in the dark. Participants must be at least 16 years old and accompanied by an adult if under 21 years old.
For more information: 863-984-3500 or FantasyOfFlight.com.