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  • Crash Ghosts October 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback


    In 2008 that hoary old newspaper of the British right, The Daily Telegraph, all cobwebs and fox hunting, included a fascinating piece on a car-crashing ghost. Here follows a very brief edited version:

    Paranormal researchers are investigating the sightings of a girl in Victorian dress on a road in the West Midlands, which locals say is an accident blackspot. The late-night visions are occurring along Oldnall Road in the Halesowen area and are believed to have been responsible for a number of crashes and near-misses in the area in recent years… David Taylor, chairman of the Parasearch group, said he had received reports that the apparition had been the cause of several accidents along the road between Wollescote and Cradley. ‘Although the people who have reported the sightings didn’t actually crash they were close to it because they had to swerve around the apparition and up onto the pavement,’ he said… ‘The image had been described as a small girl between the ages of three and five years old and wearing Victorian clothes.’

    This got Beach wondering whether there are other crash ghosts. Here is a story that could qualify from 1867:

    Criccieth (not the town in Carnarvonshire) was at one time celebrated for its ghost. The ‘Criccieth Ghost’ was a name of fear to the whole neighbourhood, often appearing after dark, wandering about the roads and fields. Upon one occasion ‘the friend of a friend’ [!] of the narrator’s was returning home through Criccieth, in his gig, with a companion. It was dusk, but not too dark for the driver to see, as they approached a bend in the road, a person standing in the midst of the way. The travellers drove up, turned out of their course to avoid running down the figure, and as he passed, the driver lightly struck it with his whip. No sooner had he done so, than instinctively he felt he had made a mistake. Time for repentance, however, was not given, for in a second after the rash stroke, the harness dropped from the horse and the travellers were pitched from the gig into the road. Then they knew that they had met and ill-treated the Criccieth Ghost. The horse, released from his harness, galloped home, alarming its owner’s family. A servant was at once sent along the road to render assistance, who shortly met his master coming on foot. The servant, finding that the gig was left behind, volunteered to run back and fetch another horse to bring it home, but the alarmed employer replied, ‘No: leave it till morning,’ and for a time refused to give any account of what had happened This ghost has also been ‘laid’ by a pious bishop — we suppose with bell and book — but the period for which its troubled spirit was confined is nearly up, and the villagers are looking forward with some apprehension to the time when the Criccieth Ghost shall again walk the earth. Chesh Obs, 6 Mar 1869, 5.

    Here is another one, but the ghost here repeatedly failed to cause a crash. Perhaps (this is facetious) early car drivers didn’t get road phantoms? It is certainly a bit alarming how most merrily drove through the apparition. Perhaps Jeeves was on hand to pay off any mourning relatives?

    Something new in the way of ghosts is alleged to have made its appearance recently in the main Portsmouth-Brighton road near Emsworth, Hampshire. Several persons declare that they have seen the shadowy, transparent figure of a man standing motionless in the middle of the road. Motors passed right through the ghost without having any effect upon it. After the cars have gone by the figure still stands maintaining an attitude of mournful soliloquy [lovely image]. Those who have seen the apparition are firmly convinced of its supernatural character. Pedestrians are afraid to pass the spot after nightfall, the more so as the place has always had the reputation of being haunted. For generations past there have been reports of ghosts appearing near from time to time. The local belief is that the appearance of the apparition presages some great national disaster. Glouc Echo, 17 Sep 1923, 5

    Any other old crash ghosts? Drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    Chris from Haunted Ohio Books, 28 Oct 2016, with some fascinating thoughts and examples. The first sentence is surely key.

    It is interesting how few road/transport ghosts are benign….  Wasn’t there a medieval King of England killed because his horse saw a ghost in the road and threw him?  There is also a story of a phantom lorry at Manchester-Sheffield main-road at Mottram, near Hyde, Cheshire, responsible for multiple accidents and fatalities. Rather remarkably, the Coroner himself suggested that a “phantom lorry” had caused at least one accident: The ghost theory was suggested by Mr. Stuart Rodger, coroner, at an inquest at Hyde on a man who was found dying at this spot, at Mottram,-near Hyde, Cheshire. The man had been a pillion passenger on a motor-cycle driven by Albert Collinson, who was found unconscious on the road beside him. Collinson stated at the inquest that he suddenly saw a big vehicle backing out of a side lane, but remembered nothing more. Motorists who were on the road declared that no vehicle was seen, and the coroner said there was no opening from which a motor could have backed into the road anywhere near the scene of the accident. “It was a phantom lorry,” he added. After a verdict of accidental death had been returned, Mr. Rodger said he had heard of other fatal accidents at the same spot in similar circumstances. Evening Post, 2 May 1930: p. 9 Here’s a slightly enhanced version of the Emsworth spook. GHOST SEEN IN COPSE. A HAMPSHIRE SENSATION. A sensation has been caused in the villages of Emsworth and Havant (Hants) by a weird -story of the appearance of a ghost on the main Portsmouth-Chichester. road, where it passes through a copse known as Bere Block Dell. Many people claim to have seen this apparition, and curious folk have visited the spot on various nights, hoping to discover something about the strange phenomenon. A young man of Emsworth, Frank Hartly, said he was certain that he met the ghost about 10 o’clock one Sunday night. “Two cyclists,” he declared in an interview, “dismounted in front of me and one of them exclaimed, “Good Heavens! Look at that!” In the middle of the road was the vapoury outline of. a tall man, standing erect, with his hands held closely by his sides. A motor-car was approaching, and I was startled to see the ghostly form gradually accentuated in the rays of the brilliant headlights. Motionless it stood there. The car seemed to pass right through the object, and the apparition was seen; no more.”‘  The spectre also terrified an Emsworth lady, who asserts unhesitatingly that she was alone with her dog, which barked in a frightened manner and crouched close to her. Her account of the phenomenon agrees with that of Hartly. She hurried home in great alarm. Local history has it that Bere Block Dell was frequented by smugglers many years ago and that the ghost of a man murdered there still haunts the wood. New Zealand Herald, 3 November 1923: p 2 This one is not really a crash ghost, but the potential, with the fretted horses, was there, I suppose. AN APPARITION The following strange story is related by a man employed by Mr. Smith of the Black’s Head, Nottingham, in the capacity of a chaise driver: He states that a few evenings since he had been engaged to convey a gentleman from the residence of Lady Manvers, at Home Pierrepont, to this town, he waiting near the entrance of the mansion, with his chaise and horse for his passenger about 10 o’clock, he was suddenly started by the appearance of a figure arrayed in white. He was convinced in his own mind, there was something supernatural in its shape, not merely by the extraordinary sensation he felt, but by the restlessness and anxiety shown by the horses. The figure passed on, but though relieved from its presence, he was only free from the intense state of alarm he had been thrown into by the arrival of his passenger, who found his hair literally standing on an end, from fright. He proceeded on his journey to Nottingham; but on passing through Holme lane, some considerable time after his first view of the apparition, he was mortified by its appearance a second time. The horses were no less alarmed, and made a full stop, “sweating,” as the narrator states, “at every pore.” With some difficulty he urged them on, and a third time he met the spectacle, but at such a distance from the place where he first observed it, that no human creature on foot could have passed over the ground in that time. The last time the figure was as appalling to his sight as at the two former visitations. The man ultimately arrived at the end of his journey, and was taken severely to task by his employer for overbearing the horses, from such appeared to be the case, from the heated and fretted state they were in. He declared, however, and still persists in the statement, that he had been an hour coming from Holmes—certainly a moderate rate of driving for so short a distance. Eng Paper. Washington Whig [Bridgeton, NJ] 11 November 1826: p. 1. Then we have the phantom victim: “When I was a young man, I and three of my college friends were travelling to Oxford, on the outside of the coach; I had secured the box seat, and my three friends were sitting on that behind me; we were approaching Wheatley, a village not far from Oxford, at about eight o’clock in the evening, in the summer time, when we saw, trudging on before us, a man in a smock frock, carrying a bundle on the end of a stick over his shoulder; he went on for some distance a little way ahead of us, till we were close to a point where another road crossed ours, when we gained so quickly on him as to be induced to shout to him to get out of the way, but were terrified on seeing him knocked down, and the whole party feeling the lurch of the coach as the wheels passed over his body. With a peculiar horror at the sight of blood and mangled limbs, I, nevertheless, felt it to be my duty to get down with the rest, and see what could be done to assist the unfortunate man; I did so, and we proceeded to examine the state of the sufferer, when, and I shall never forget the feeling, an intense thrill of cold fear ran through my body, on seeing nothing whatever of the man!  No sign of living being, except ourselves—nor traces of any accident! My companions were as much impressed as myself, and some of them speak of it with awe to this day. “We went on our journey, and a short time after stopped to change horses at a little roadside inn, where we spoke of what had happened.— ‘Well, that’s a queer thing, ben’t it, Tom,’ said the hostler to a man standing by, ‘war’nt I just a saying to you, ’tis this very night five years ago, a little before eight o’clock, that poor Bill was murdered at the cross roads, just as he was coming home in his smockfrock, with his bundle hung over his stick?It is not very wonderful that this circumstance, and the remarkable coincidence of the hostler’s remarks to his friend, should have made a deep impression on those who were witnesses of it; but it is not a little surprising that any one should be led to deny a fact occurring so circumstantially to himself, because of its clashing with preconceived notions, or because of its incomprehensibility. H. C. The Spiritual Herald, June 1856, pp 151-2 Railway ghosts more usually alert engineers about washed-away bridges or infants on the line, but this one caused a hand-car derailment. A Wonderful Ghost Story From the Athens, Tenn. Post. It is told that an engineer on a Tennessee night train has recently, on several occasions, discovered a red light swinging at a furious rate near a station where the train stops for water. The light would sometimes be in front and sometimes in the rear of the train. When the engineer would stop his train and send some one to learn why the signal to brake up was made, the messenger would be greatly surprised to see the light vanish. Investigation has proved that no person was there with a lantern, and the brakemen and conductor concur also in having beheld the phenomena, which, so far as know, is without visible cause, though it is alleged that a year or two ago a signal man was killed near the point named. On another occasion, some laborers on the same line were coming down the road in the hand car, about 3 o’clock in the morning, when they suddenly heard the approach of an engineer and train, and knowing that no train was due in the vicinity at that hour, they became frightened and, jumping out of the car, threw it off to avoid a collision. They had hardly accomplished this when a train swept by, presenting a spectacle more appalling than the apocalyptic picture on the pale horse. The phantom engineer stood with his fleshless hand on the throttle valve, and his socketless eyes peering into the darkness ahead; the pale and ghostly fireman was in his place; skeleton brakemen were on the platforms, while through the lurid and gleaming windows of the coaches could be seen the ghastly features of passengers who had long since made their last trip in the flesh, and handed in their checks. As the specter train sped on, suddenly the whistle sounded “down brakes!” a sound such as no mortal contrivance ever made. This was immediately followed by what seemed a terrific crash, accompanied by mingled shirks and groans, and all the terrible concomitants of a first-class railroad accident. The poor, horrified laborers immediately fled the spot, and believing as they do that the line is haunted, nothing could induce one of them ever to work on it again. The Religion-Philosophical Journal 8 April 1871: p.1 WRAITH Dancing on the Track Cause the Engineer to Jam on Brakes, and Frightful Accident Followed Terre Haute, Ind., October 30. Did a phantom cause the disaster wherein 34 passengers on a Big Four train were blown to pieces last January? Engineer Welch, of the train which was wrecked by the explosion of a car of powder at Sandford, Ind., so testified to-day in his suit for damages against the company. He said that as his train came alongside the freight he had premonition of impending peril and instantly saw a phantom dancing on the track in the glare of his headlight. He threw on the emergency brakes and the explosion of the whole car of powder followed. It is believed that a spark thrown out by the brakes entered the powder car and ignited some loose grains that leaked from the packages and that this set off the rest of the powder. Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 31 October 1907: p. 1 Much later, but a fatality: Phantom Car Blamed For An Accident Sheriff Frank Jones of Christian County Fatally Injured Trying to Avoid Car That Did Not Exist. Ozark, Mo. June. 20 A phantom car has been blamed for an automobile accident near here eight weeks ago in which Sheriff Frank Jones of Christian county was fatally injured. The theory was advanced after another party barely escaped an identical accident caused when the driver tried to avoid hitting a car that did not exist. Returning one night to Ozark from Nixa, Mo., where he and his family had attended a show, Fred McCoy noticed a car which he believed was a Ford coupe, directly in front of him and travelling in the same direction, down the hill on which Jones’ accident occurred. McCoy turned out to go around the car, but when he came to where the car should have been, there was nothing there. He returned his attention to his own car, but immediately he again saw the “coupe” in front of him, going so slowly that a crash seemed unavoidable. Rather than risk going in the ditch, McCoy cut sharply toward the center of the road, hoping to have no more than a fender collison. Nothing happened. Stopping to investigate, McCoy found no other car than his own in sight. McCoy and the other occupants of his car at the time are convinced that Jones ran into a ditch to avoid hitting a phantom car, whose appearance was caused by some unexplained optical illusion. The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune [Chillicothe, MS] 20 June 1933: p. 3 And, the sensation of 1950–several truckers reported being forced off the road by this phantom.

    31 Oct 2016: Bruce T writes of the crash ghost ‘of a young woman in white who is sometimes hitch-hiking to or seen by/in the road a large graveyard in the city. I’m sure you’ll be hammered with stories about her, the story shows up on every cable and network Halloween paranormal show yearly. We’ve had a number of infamous ghosts on the WV State turnpike over the years, a road notorious for crashes. In the very early 70’s there was “Hitchhiking Jesus”, he looked like a hippy when picked up but soon revealed himself. He would either ask to be let out in the middle of nowhere or even better, dematerialize, his final word in both instances, “The end is near.” People reported that one regularly for a couple of years. About once a decade is the average by my estimation now, based on word of mouth. There were the “rollers” of the late 80’s. People who would suddenly somersault out in front of cars from nowhere and just as quickly be gone. They were often described as being naked or wearing just underwear, but who can tell such details in a split second? “Bill, were those tighty-whitey’s or was he butt naked?” The rollers had a longer initial life span than Jesus, about six years if I recall correctly. It’s been a long while since I’ve heard of the roller’s, possibly ’92 at the latest. There is one that is based on tragic story that happened a couple of decades ago. A trucker was having some mechanical problems with his truck and stopped to get out to check it in the emergency lane just before a bridge over a deep near vertical hollow. The truck was struck by another vehicle, the trucker was either going be crushed by his sliding truck, or he could jump? He chose the latter. He fell 75 feet to his death from the spans begins. He’s been reportedly spotted going over the side of the bridge from time to time since it happened 15-20 years ago. If I were to believe in such things, this one would be it. It’s a bad spot on a bad road. When it happened all I could think was “What a choice.”  The Turnpike has always been a dangerous road, especially before it was brought up to Interstate standards in the mid-80’s. You used to see “I Survived The W.Va. Turnpike!” t-shirts allover the region due to it’s reputation. It’s also in a mostly remote area, about 100 miles of nothing with one decent sized town halfway down. A dark night, stress over the roads reputation and being in the middle of nowhere can do strange things to peoples minds during that stretch of time. Not to to mention the ones who report the stories for giggles or the alleged witnesses in altered states by choice or genetics.

    31 Oct 2016: Ruth B ‘Well, I’ve ready many stories of ghosts causing crashes, ghosts because of crashes, and ghostly crashes, but the video link below is one of the strangest I think I’ve ever seen. I’m familiar with the lot where it was filmed as it is in Oklahoma City (They do city work impounding cars for the police.), and it was supposedly the ghost of a young woman who was killed that day in a car wreck. Other sources say it was an insect hovering in front of the camera and everybody jumping to conclusions. You decide.’