found at http://paranormal.about.com
Some of the most enduring - and unnerving - ghost stories are of hitchhikers who vanish into thin air.
One of the most persistent and entertaining types of ghost stories is that of the phantom or vanishing hitchhiker. It’s also one of the most chilling because, if true, they bring ghosts in very close contact with mortals. More disconcerting still, the stories depict the spectres as looking, acting, and sounding like living people – even physically interacting with the unsuspecting drivers who pick them up.
The basic story usually goes some thing like this: a weary driver traveling at night picks up a strange hitchhiker, drops him or her off at some destination, then somehow later finds out that the hitchhiker had in fact died months or years earlier – often on that very same date. Like most “true” ghost stories, tales of phantom hitchhikers are impossible to verify, and are most often relegated to the category of urban legend or folklore. But there are many such stories, and it’s up to you whether or not you believe any of them. Here are a few:
The Girl on the Side of the Road
“The Vanishing Hitchhiker” relates the story of one Dr. Eckersall who, while driving home from a country club dance, picks up a lovely young girl dressed in a sheer evening gown. She climbs into the back seat of the car, because his front passenger seat is crowded with golf clubs, and gives him an address to take her to. As he arrives at the address, he turns to speak to her – and she is gone. The curious doctor rings the doorbell of the address given to him by the mysterious girl. A gray-haired man answers the door and reveals that the girl was his daughter who died in a car accident nearly two years ago. A very similar story is known as The Greensboro Hitchhiker.
The Basketball Player
It’s a winter evening in Oklahoma in 1965. Mae Doria, driving to her sister’s house from Tulsa to Pryor, sees a boy of about 11 or 12 hitchhiking on the side of the road. She stops for him, he gets into the front seat along side of her, and they make idle chatter as they make their way down Highway 20. In their conversation, the boy says that he’s a basketball player for a local school, and Mae reckons that indeed he has the height and build of an athlete. She also notices that he is not wearing a jacket of any kind, despite the fact that it’s winter. And the boy seemed to have no particular destination in mind. He points to a culvert on the side of the road and asks to be let out there. Mae is puzzled because there are no houses or lights anywhere in sight. Before she can even pull over, however, the youth simply vanishes from the car. Mae immediately stops the car, gets out, and looks around, but there is no sign of the boy. Mae later learns in a chance conversation with a utility worker that the same phantom hitchhiker was first picked up at the same spot in 1936 – 29 years earlier!
The story of Resurrection Mary is considered one of “the most famous ghosts in Chicagoland.” The story begins on another winter night in 1934 when a young girl was killed in an auto accident while on her way home from the O. Henry Ballroom on Archer Avenue in Justice, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Five years later, in 1939, a cab driver picks up a young girl in a white gown on Archer Avenue. She sits in the front seat and instructs him to drive north on Archer. After driving a short distance, she suddenly tells him to stop... and simply vanishes from the cab. The cab is stopped in front of Resurrection Cemetery, where the girl is buried. According to a 1977 account, a woman may have seen Mary locked inside the iron fence of the cemetery. Reportedly, the metal bars bore the imprints of her hands. According to the Northwest Indiana Society of Ghost Research, the girl’s name was actually Elizabeth Wilson, and the cemetery she’s buried in is actually called Ross Cemetery.
The Smoking Ghost
On a night in February, 1951, a British officer stops for a fellow soldier hitchhiking on the road. The stranger is dressed in a Royal Air Force uniform, and after he gets into the car with the officer, asks if he can bum a cigarette. The officer gives him one of his Camels and a lighter with which to light it. With his peripheral vision, the officer sees the flash of the lighter, but then turning his head is astonished to see that his passenger has vanished into thin air. Only the cigarette lighter remains on the seat.
C.B. Colby tells the the story of the “Hitchhiker to Montgomery” in which two businessmen on their way to Montgomery, Alabama, stop for a little old lady in a lavender dress walking on the side of the road in the middle of the night. She tells them she is going to see her daughter and granddaughter, and they offer to drive her to the next town. On the way, she proudly tells them all about her children and grandchildren, their names, where they live, and so on. After a while, the men become engrossed in their own business conversation, and when they reach their destination, the old woman has vanished from the back seat. Fearing the worst, the men retrace their route, but do not find the woman anywhere. Finally, recalling the daughter’s name, they go to her house in Montgomery to report what might have been a horrible accident. The men identify her from photos in the woman’s house. But as it happens, the old woman was buried just three years ago that day.