Long, lonely nights, dark ribbons of road with no signs of inhabitation all lead to flights of fancy and ghostly sightings by truckers…or are they flights of fancy?
Throughout the days of modern trucking there have been many of these ghostly happenings popularized in song…Phantom 309 for one. During long nights, you might hear stories of ghosts on the cb as drivers while away the hours. Perhaps one of the more famous ghost stories, the gray lady, comes out of Alabama.
On state route 278 in Alabama there was a race track…legend has it that a young woman had an argument with her boyfriend at the races one dark night. She stormed away to walk home along the two lane highway…it got late and the mists rose. A trucker running along the highway didn’t see the walking woman in time and hit her…panicking; the driver sped off leaving the woman dying along the road. It is said that on dark, foggy nights the gray lady jumps up on the running boards and looks in the window of trucks running along that highway looking for the driver that killed her. Rumor has it that several drivers have wrecked and had heart attacks from the fright.
Alabama is ripe for paranormal happenings it seems. One day about dusk, I was driving along a two lane stretch of highway 78. I saw a little boy who looked to be about 5, walking in the bar ditch on my passenger side. He was dressed in a dirty, tattered, long white shirt and nothing else. There were no houses along there for several miles, only trees, so I put on the brakes and looked in my mirrors for the little boy…he was gone.
A friend of mine related this story of the haunted house she lives in (we will call her Sue). Sue had bought her house a couple of years ago. There was no door bell so she bought one of those types that plugs in the electrical outlet. A short time later, the bell would ring for no reason. At the same time, she started smelling that menthol, musty old person’s house smell at times in her house. She consulted with a friend who had some psychic abilities who told her that there was the spirit of an old man that had lived there a long time ago who’s name was Charley. The psychic said that Charley liked Sue because she loved his house. Sue wasn’t afraid.
Sue had been living with another driver who she thought she was going to marry and while she was on the road, he moved out unexpectedly. When Sue got home, she was very upset, the door bell started ringing and would not stop for over 30 minutes…she finally had to unplug it totally. She knew that ’Charley’ was trying to comfort her.
Another driver told me of a stretch of mountain road in West Virginia that is curvy where at certain times of the night; you will come around a corner to see two vehicles wrecked on the shoulder of the road. Smoke is rising, the vehicle’s lights are on and the tires on one are still spinning. By the time you get pulled over to the shoulder ahead of the wreck where it is wide enough for a rig to park and get out of the truck…the vehicles have vanished.
One driver’s story sounded like a variation of the girl in the cemetery story. This driver was traveling down a lonely stretch of interstate out in the desert one night when he saw a young man standing on the shoulder with his thumb out. Starting to get tired, the driver thought that a little company would be good so stopped and told the young man to get in. The young man climbed into the jump seat and they carried on a lively conversation about old rock and roll and of course, girls. As the lights of the next desert town came into view on the horizon, the young man got quiet. When the driver looked over, the young man was gone.
Who can say if there are truly ghosts or not besides the people that say they have seen or experienced them. It may be just an active imagination, the play of light and shadows, a deer caught in the headlights…or it might actually be the restless spirit of someone who has gone before. One thing is certain, as long as truckers drive through lonely stretches of road there will be a never ending supply of ghostly sightings.