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For some motorists, nighttime driving, with unlit roads and concealed corners, can be frightening. Yet, in the case of these following five roads, it is not the blinding darkness which should inspire fear, but rather the ghostly entities which lurk within it.
5 – A229, England
The A229 road from Sussex to Kent is claimed to be one of the most haunted roads in England.
In November 1992, Ian Sharpe was traveling along the road when a young woman in a white dress stepped out in front of his car. The woman was dragged under the front wheels, causing the driver to slam his breaks and pull over. Sharpe was distraught, believing he had unintentionally killed a pedestrian. Yet, when he left the car, there was no trace of her.
No woman. No body. Not even a torn off shred of her white dress. The only remembrance of the incident was the pounding of his own heart.
Two weeks later, another man driving along the same stretch of road towards Kent also claimed to have hit a woman dressed in white. She too, he reported, ran out in front of his car. However, once he exited his vehicle to help her, there was no trace of the accident having ever happened.
Both men, it seems, were claiming to have ran over a woman who subsequently vanished.
As bizarre as it sounds, stories of disappearing women being hit by panic stricken motorists on the A229 road is not entirely uncommon. The local police force report yet another similar incident dating back to 1974. After running over a woman on the A229, a driver covered the seriously hurt lady with a blanket before hurrying to find help. When he returned with the police, the woman under the blanket had vanished, despite being, according to the driver, critically injured and in no state to walk away. All that remained of the shocking incident was the blanket.1
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In the decades since, local police officers have received numerous telephone calls from distressed drivers wishing to report similar accidents. 2
It is believed that these reports can be traced back to 1965, and the death of Judith Langham. Tragically, Judith was knocked down by a car in her bridal gown on her wedding day. As such, it is said that her ghost haunts that stretch of the A229, the place where her life, so full of promise, was snatched away. 3
4 – Prospector’s Road, California, USA
Twisting through the rugged terrain of California’s Gold Country is Prospector’s Road, so named for the numerous gold discoveries made there in the 1800s.
For those brave enough to turn off the main road and venture along its three, spiralling miles, Prospector’s Road may reveal its chilling secret… The fearsome phantom of a man who lost his life along the route many years ago. A man who is said to seek harm, and bid others to join him in the afterlife.
Feverish for riches, several gold miners lost their lives in the area in the 19th century. Cave-ins, bandit attacks and suicides were not entirely uncommon for those performing such dangerous mining work. Said to be true is the story of a miner who drunkenly bragged about his gold claim one night in a local saloon. Hungry for his gold, some of his fellow miners ambushed him one night and killed him.
Now, it is claimed that his spirit haunts the very road where he was murdered. Hikers and drivers who have encountered him describe him as being big and tall, bearded and wearing frayed work clothes. Still believing his gold to be under attack, he warns those he encounters to “Get off my claim.” Yet, some whisper that the old prospector’s warning goes beyond words. It is purported that he is responsible for multiple accidents that have happened along the road.
Other reports suggest that his spirit wanders into homes in the area, locking and unlocking doors, terrifying pets and livestock, as well as their owners. Could it be that this old miner is searching for his gold, which – along with his life – was stolen from him many years ago? 4
3 – National Highway 33, India
Compared to other countries, India is known for having a high rate of automobile related deaths. However, there is one road with an even higher death toll than most. In a three year period, some 245 people died in motor accidents on the National Highway 33. According to the local police, it is probably the only place in the country where the number of fatal accidents is more than the number of non-fatal accidents. The 40 kilometre stretch between Bundu and Tamar is said to be particularly dangerous for travel.
The reason for the high number of fatalities on this road, it is believed, is due to a resident evil spirit which causes accidents. The local populace believe so strongly in its malignant power that a temple was built in the valley as a place to pray for safe passage. It is common for travellers to stop and give donations to the temple, in the hope that their lives will be spared. However, there are many who believe that not even prayers will counteract the power of the dark soul which claims the road as its domain.
The chief priest of the Hindu temple reports that a phantom woman is also known to walk through the valley at night, and that many drivers have lost control of their vehicles trying to avoid her. A night guard, Vinod Swasi, who works on the road also knows of this ghostly female.
“At night a white dressed tall lady could be seen standing by the highway or crossing it. It looks as though she is waiting for someone.” 5
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It is for this reason that many avoid travelling on the highway at night altogether. Driven away by fear of meeting an untimely end, caused by otherworldly forces.
2 – A75, Scotland
Rarely a week goes by without there being a report of paranormal activity on the fifteen mile long A75 road in Scotland. Its reputation for bizarre occurrences have led many to title it the most haunted road in Scotland.
Weaving westwardly from the Anglo-Scottish border, it is the Kinmount straight part of the route which seems to produce the most inexplicable reports. Bob Sturgeon, who used to run a snack bar along the notorious road, in 2013 described how lorry drivers who had parked overnight along the A75 would be traumatised by the morning. Seeking refuge at his snack bar, they would relate tales of “parades” of ghostly people and other strange experiences.
Diversity of experience is something which makes the A75 stand apart from other haunted highways. According to local paranormal investigator Kathleen Cronie, paranormal accounts include “screaming hags, eyeless phantoms and a menagerie of unearthly creatures”.6
One of the most famous reports of paranormal activity on the A75 dates back to 1962. Derek and Norman Ferguson were driving when a large hen flew towards the car windscreen. The two men then witnessed a great menagerie of phantom creatures, including big cats, pass in front of the car.
In additional to ghoulish animals, a common sighting involves groups of bedraggled, medieval people pulling handcarts or carrying bundles. 7 Some have reported seeing a ghostly old man with no eyes. 8 Most terrifyingly, however, are reports from shaken drivers believing that they have ran over people who suddenly emerged from the darkness.
The following is such a testimony, from a local resident called Donna Maxwell.
“It was in July when I was driving back from my mother’s house in Eastriggs around 10pm on a clear, well-lit night…All of a sudden a man appeared in front of my car and just stood there, looking sad. I was doing around 50mph and I slammed on the brakes. I was convinced I hit him but I couldn’t see anyone so I drove to Annan police station.”
“The police went out and searched for a body but found nothing. I couldn’t understand it. Since then I have heard other people talking about seeing the same man standing in the road just looking at the cars. Maybe he is searching for someone. I don’t regard myself as someone who believes in the paranormal but after that I have changed my mind. I still can’t go down that road at night, I take the bypass instead.”9
1 – Archer Avenue, Illinois, USA
The vanishing hitchhiker is something of an archetype amongst haunted road legends. In the case of Archer Avenue, Illinois, however, there is an element of the touchingly tragic, rather than the absolute fearsome.
Archer Avenue is located in southwest Chicago, and runs into Archer Road which passes alongside Resurrection Cemetery. It is with this cemetery that the spirit of Archer Avenue is said to be connected.
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Several men driving along Archer Avenue have reported picking up a young, female hitchhiker. The reports of her are always the same: she has blonde hair and blue eyes, and wears a white party dress and dancing shoes. The mysterious passenger is quiet for much of the drive. When the vehicle approaches the Resurrection Cemetery, the young woman asks to be let out, after which she disappears amongst the gravestones. 10
According to the Chicago Tribune, there have been more than three dozen reports of this phantom hitchhiker since the 1930s. 11
One report comes from Jerry Palus, a Chicago southsider, who in 1939 met such a young woman at a local dance hall. They danced together “all night”, and even kissed. As the evening drew to an end, she asked him to drive her home along Archer Avenue. Requesting to exit the car and bidding her companion goodnight, the enchanting woman disappeared in front of the cemetery. 12
Other reports include those from taxi drivers trying to find out the details of a young woman, fitting the phantom’s description, who disappeared without paying her fare.13
The identity of this spectral lady is said to be that of young Anna “Marija” Norkus, who died in a 1927 automobile accident while on her way home from the local ballroom with her father. 14 Another possible origin of this ghostly tale is that Resurrection Mary, as the spirit is known, fled from a dance after having an argument with her boyfriend. On her walk home along Archer Avenue, she was killed in a hit-and-run. Now, it is claimed that her spirit continues to wander, searching for a kindly man to help her get home safely.
- Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City, by Ursula Bielski (1997)
- Weird Illinois: Your Travel Guide to Illinois’ Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets, by Mark Sceurman and Troy Taylor (2005)
- “The A75 Kinmount straight: Trip on ‘most haunted’ road.”, by BBC Scotland (2013)
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