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Halloween Horrors of the Air: 13 Terrifying Images of Aero Fashion

Posted on Thu, October 29, 2015
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From witches to winged demons, humanity has long harbored a horror of airborne denizens. Even when we ventured forth into the heavens without supernatural support, we sometimes adopted some truly terrifying attire. This may only have been a matter of form and function for open cockpits with freezing temperatures and limited oxygen at altitude, but these fashions for aerial attire from the decade or so after World War I are still the stuff of nightmares.

<p>Army Air Service head gear from 1925. </p>

This denizen of the air is seen modeling the latest in Army Air Service fashion, ca. 1925. Image: NASM WF-26989

<p>This example of a leather facemask from WWI was a standard model for Army Air Service pilots in cold weather.</p>

World War I was the source of all manner of terrifying visages and aviators were no exception. This example of a leather face mask was a standard model for Army Air Service pilots in cold weather.

<p>This early leather face mask provided the aviator with a level of comfort in an open cockpit. </p>

While not as durable as a hockey mask for ‘active’ pursuits, this leather face mask provided the aerial ne’er-do-well a measure of comfort while aloft.

<p>This leather face mask provided a reliable source of oxygen to the 1920s aviator while flying at high altitudes in an open cockpit.</p>

Here is the same face mask paired with helmet and goggles. Rather than for parasitic feeding, this tube provided an army aviator of the late 1920s a reliable source of oxygen while flying at higher altitudes in an open cockpit aircraft. Image: NASM 2012-02189

<p>Portrait of an Army Air Service aviator from 1919 wearing the latest in head gear. </p>

He is possibly an officer in the insectoid invasion force, but could instead be the height of Army Air Service fashion in 1919. Image: NASM WF-1554

<p>This chamois-leather face mask prevented frostbite and general discomfort for naval aviators in the 1920s.</p>

Not for butchery, this chamois-leather face mask prevented frostbite and general discomfort for naval aviators in the 1920s.

<p>This face mask belonged to Charles Lindbergh, who used it on the Lockheed Sirius <a href="http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?object=nasm_A19600014... during his four-continent circumnavigation of the Atlantic in 1933.</p>

Some of these facial horrors belonged to the aeronautical elite. This one belonged to Charles Lindbergh, who used it on the Lockheed Sirius Tingmissartoq during his four-continent circumnavigation of the Atlantic in 1933.

<p>This facemask was owned by Charles Lindbergh and helped keep the aviator warm during flight.</p>

Though easily mistaken for an Ewok-ian Dark Lord of the Sith, this example also belonged to Charles Lindbergh.

<p>These goggles belonged to William “Billy” Mitchell in the early twenties. Williams sought to demonstrate the power of aerial bombardment during this time.</p>

This rather cute Angry Bird-ish example belonged to the less-than-cuddly William “Billy” Mitchell in the early twenties as he sought to demonstrate the terrifying power of (non-avian) aerial bombardment.

<p>An aviator equipped with high altitude flying gear poses next to a Wright Apache on June 10, 1929.</p>

Not the ‘Beast from Beyond,’ but an aviator equipped with high altitude gear posing next to a Wright Apache on June 10, 1929. Image: NASA EL-2000-00341

<p>An Army Air Service aviator in 1919 poses for the camera with the latest in oxygen masks. </p>

No, it’s not the steampunk version of Star Trek’s ‘Salt Vampire’ - rather, an Army Air Service aviator in 1919 poses for the camera with latest in oxygen masks. Image: NASM WF-2193

<p><span>Apollo Soucek’s high altitude flying helmet worn on his record-setting flight on June 4, 1930.</span></p>

This mask and furry cape protected famed naval aviator Apollo Soucek during some of his record altitude attempts. Soucek set several altitude records. His triumph came on June 4, 1930, when he reached an altitude of 13,157 meters (43,166 feet).

<p>A Museum mannequin models a face mask that would have been used by an early aviator. </p>

Nightmare at the Museum – A restless mannequin modeling a face mask about 35 years ago.