Highways are not normally haunted by the unknown, or frequented by strange beings that hide in the shadows and rouse fear in the heart — if you discount police officers with radar guns.
But there are some highways in the world that have acquired a certain evil reputation. The web site of Carhire: Cheap Car Rental Services — no doubt as part of its services to customers — notes nine of the world’s most haunted roads. In the spirit of Halloween, it may be of interest to peruse it. To the creepy nine I would add a tenth most haunted highway, which happens to be in Ontario.
1) Tuen Mun Road, Hong Kong
This is noted as one of the most dangerous roads in the world because so many ghosts on the road distract motorists. It’s a vicious cycle — more driving fatalities result in more ghosts, which result in more fatalities.
2) A229 — From Kent to Sussex, U.K.
This stretch of road is haunted by one Judith Langham, who met her end on this road on her wedding day in 1965. If you see a woman on the road wearing a white dress, do not worry about hitting her — she’s pure ectoplasm and can’t be hurt by material objects.
3) Bloodspoint Road, Ill.
One of several intersecting roads throughout Boone County. The Carhire website notes, “These roads have been witness to murders, suicides, hangings and even a child hit by a train. Several children died when a bus rolled off a bridge in this area.” But the best is yet to come. “There is also said to be a witch who hanged her children in an old farmhouse and though the building no longer exists, several people say they’ve seen it through the trees.”
4) M6, U.K.
This has a ghostly female hitchhiker, but the chief attractions of this road are the ghosts of Roman legionnaires. The Romans built this road and they were always very fond of their creations.
5) Boy Scout Lane, Wis.
A variety of scary stories are associated with this highway, the most popular being the tale of a deranged scout master who killed all the boys in his troop.
6) A75 Kinmont Straight, U.K.
For some reason ghosts really like this road in southwestern Scotland. Avoid it if you dislike apparitions of men, women, feral dogs, cats and goats.
7) NP, South Africa.
According to Carhire, “This section of road between Uniondale and Willowmore is named after the Uniondale Phantom hitchhiker, a ghost known as Marie Charlotte Roux. The girl was killed in a car accident on the road in 1968, and she was first reported as a hitchhiker on Good Friday in 1976, when she caught a ride and then mysteriously disappeared from the back seat.”
Annie’s Road, N.J.
An unidentified woman in a white or blue dress frequents this stretch of road in Totowa, N.J. She was killed on this road but accounts differ as to the cause. A favourite story is that she was decapitated on her prom night and dragged along the road. Perhaps now she returns to the scene of her demise in hopes that prom night might yet be the triumph of young love every girl deserves.
9) Belchen Tunnel, Switzerland
Part of the A2 motorway from Basel to Chiasso, this tunnel is the haunt of more than one ghost.
10) Port Perry Ghost Road, Scugog Island, Ont.
Our tenth haunted highway is known as the Port Perry Ghost Road, or more formally, the Mississauga Trail on Scugog Island.
The story goes that a motorcyclist crashed and was killed on this dark, lonely road sometime in the 1950s. Since then, motorists on this stretch of road have occasionally seen a motorcycle light in their rearview mirror. The light catches up and passes the motorist before vanishing. More common sightings simply report a mysterious white light (possibly the motorcycle headlight) and a smaller red light (possibly the motorcycle’s taillight) roaming the night.
“We’ve had lots of crews up here, local colleges filming it, television documentaries all the way from Japan,” comments local historian Paul Arculus. “It’s been quite the attraction.”
Needless to say, skeptics have come to investigate the phenomenon. A group called the Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society conducted “experiments” on the site over a period of several months in 2000 and 2001 and also pointed out, in its subsequent report, that a journalist with the Port Perry Star, Cathy Robb, interviewed a retired O.P.P officer named Harold Hockins in July, 1983.
Hockins had policed Scugog Island since 1954, the report stated, and officer Hockins, “was able to confirm with (Robb) that no motorcycle accidents or otherwise that resulted in a fatality had occurred in the vicinity of Ghost Road during that time period. There are no police records, hospital records, obituaries, nor news clippings that support the legend as an actual historical event.”
Arculus confirms this finding. “I went through all the newspaper files from the ’40s, the ’50s, the ’60s,” he says, “and there is no evidence of anybody killed on that road.”
At least part explanation of the legend, Arculus believes, lies in the vivid imagination of adolescents.
“The area was a haunt for local teenagers. Still is,” he says. “It’s quite isolated, quite dark, and with high school kids being what they are, the stories about Ghost Road gradually expanded, and were added to and enhanced.”
The phantom motorcyclist became the official version, as it were, of the Ghost Road legend. That is not the end of the story, however. “There are some strange lights, no question,” Arculus says.
Sue St. Clair, director of the Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society, maintains that her group’s research solved the enigma of the “ghostlights” often seen on the Ghost Road. “The ghostlights are car headlights from the West Quarter line,” she says, referring to a nearby road.
Arculus has a different take. He suggests that the “ghostlights” may be light from homes and traffic on the north shore of the lake reflected from the atmosphere in such a way as to be clearly seen on the Ghost Road. “It happens all over the world when you’re close to the water,” Arculus says.
All these explanations do not completely remove the creepiness of the Ghost Road from the imagination. There’s always the case of the dead body that was found in the neighbourhood in the ’60s or ’70s, according to Arculus. That was a genuine historical incident. A victim’s corpse was dumped in the environs, and who knows when and where its restless spirit will arise and start roaming.
If you’re driving on the Ghost Road some night and spot a hitchhiker in your headlights, keep going.
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