Ghosts:  Roadside Apparitions

    The hitchhiker is a ghost which appears by the side of the highway, looking for a ride.  In some reports, the ghost is picked up and then vanishes from the car.  In some, ghost is dropped off and it is only later discovered that it wasn’t a living person. There are many accounts of hitchhiking ghosts at crossroads and outside of cemeteries.  One I’ve run across often is the ghost of a young lady, dressed for a dance, who is at the side of the road and then disappears when witnesses get to the spot, or after the person stops the car.

    This story and its variations are so frequently related that it may well be a kind of Jungian symbol or archetype, drawn from the universal unconscious.  They are certainly a kind of modern urban legend.  Because of the frequency of these sightings (whether actual ghosts or something else), questions arise about their spiritual, emotional or cultural meaning.

    The crossroads version of the ghost at the side of the road calls to mind the idea of ley lines.  Theoretically, ley lines run along many existing roads.  These lines are said to align old monuments and geological features, and some modern theorists believe the lines conduct a kind of energy.  Thus, when ghosts and other paranormal phenomena occur, ley lines may, according to those who believe in them, be a causative factor. Crossroads, in fact, might also in some cases be ley line intersections, as well.  Theorists would say that explains why there are so many legends and accounts of apparitions witnessed at crossroads.

   Have you seen a crossroads ghost, or a roadside phantom, or read about them?  Might there be associated symbolism or meaning?  What about ghosts on the edge of the cemetery, looking for a ride?  Whenever something is so often reported it becomes lore, it’s worth looking at.  If these phenomena are not actually ghosts (and many may be exactly that) what else might they represent?  Why do people see them?  As is the case so often, we are left with more questions than answers…

(Writing from northern Florida…there may be hurricane-related interruptions in the days to come – thanks for your patience!).


18 thoughts on “Ghosts:  Roadside Apparitions

  1. This ‘urban legend’ exists in all countries and cities where I’ve lived isuch as UK and Spain. I agree that whether it’s true or not, it must mean something because we’re all ready to ‘believe” there’s some “truth’ in these stories. That is we believe that the narrator believes he’s seen or heard something from another dimension. The ones I’ve heard usually warn travellers of a dangerous road or imminent accident, etc. and they often occur in curves or by lonely roadsides at night. These apparitions are usually benevolent and helpful, something like a guardian angel. On the other hand they could be a projection of the driver’s fear. I wonder what others think?

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  2. Fascinating stories and theories. Wonder if it is tiredness or imagination? Road lights, darkness and shadows along winding roads can do funny things to your eyes. But then again these tales of visions do seem common….. 😬

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  3. In Victoria, British Columbia, where I live, there are said to be many ghosts, including the April Ghost of the Victoria Golf Club. The ghost of a murdered woman appears near a road that runs close to the place where she met her end. Appearances are most common in April; possibly the murder took place in that month. It’s said that seeing this ghost may bring negative events into the life of the viewer, so I’m glad I’ve not seen her.

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    • Hi, Audrey! Thanks for sharing that story! I agree about ghosts in Victoria, I think I experienced one at the Empress Hotel – and the photos I took had these weird light streaks in them. Thanks again for reading!

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  4. On a long non-stop drive from Texas to Missouri a friend and I had contemporaneous roadside ghost sightings. We chalked it up to fatigue (and beer and pot). The alternator on my car was about to break down (it had already done so once on the trip) and we couldn’t afford to fix it again. So we drove straight through, stopping only for gas and not turning the car off when we did so. The “ghosts” always disappeared as we got closer, like the mirage of an oasis in the desert.


    • Thank you for sharing your story – it’s an interesting variation on the roadside ghost theme. Also, the idea of the “haunted road” – many stories about those, too. Perhaps you were cruising one! Thanks for reading!


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