‘Ghost of Mira Loma’ at rest

first_imgLANCASTER – Somewhere up there, Meyer Bernard Himelstaub must be smiling. The man entrenched in Antelope Valley lore as the “Ghost of Mira Loma” was given a proper funeral nearly 65 years to the day of his horrifying death. Himelstaub was a 22-year-old British Royal Air Force cadet assigned to the Antelope Valley’s War Eagle Field – now the site of Mira Loma county detention center on 60th Street West and Avenue I – when he was decapitated by a taxiing plane he accidentally walked into on Feb. 13, 1942. Himelstaub was a Jew who escaped Nazi-dominated Poland as a child. He was an aspiring military pilot who historians say was determined to fight the Nazis in World War II. Among those who spoke at the event was Rabbi David Hoffman. Tears streamed across the faces of several Hillview students during the ceremony. The students’ study of Himelstaub’s life compelled them to become involved in the ceremony. “He’s become like family,” Hillview student Dulcie Adhiambo said. “His legacy was that he was going for his dream of going to fight Hitler, even though he didn’t really fullfil it. We just wanted everyone to know what really happened.” The ceremony concluded with missing-man formation flyover used by the Royal Air Force to honor dead pilots. The flyover featured vintage Steerman and AT-6 planes. Antelope Valley military historian Bob Alvis said Himelstaub likely flew a Steerman, an aviation classic that features two stacked wings. “You never want to forget our fallen, and this was a nice gesture to show the English that we appreciate your fallen,” said Alvis, who helped organize the event. “The ghost of War Eagle Field is not a great legacy for a fallen cadet … it’s kind of become a carnival sideshow,” Alvis said. “It is part of his history and we will live with that, but as far as honoring his legacy, this is what we want to remember, not his terrorizing kids on Halloween.” [email protected] (661) 267-7802160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! He was buried at Lancaster cemetery three days after his death, thousands of miles away from family. Sheriff’s deputies and inmates have reported inexplicable events over the years, fueling speculation that Himelstaub’s restless spirit was haunting the Antelope Valley. On Friday, the Antelope Valley attempted to make peace with Himelstaub’s spirit, honoring the man’s life in a ceremony in which a new headstone was unveiled at his burial site. Several prominent civic and community leaders including mayors from Lancaster and Palmdale, a representative from the British Commonwealth War Graves Commission and an eighth-grade Hillview Middle School history class instrumental in organizing the event were among about 200 people who attended the ceremony. A War Graves Commission request that Himelstaub be given a new headstone provided the impetus for the ceremony. last_img read more