Ghosties Making Merry
Near Halloween time, get a group of drivers together and it would be unusual for ghostly tales not to be told. Whether it is the isolation of the job, the traveling down lonely highways or one believes there is such a thing as ghosts, the tales make good listening.
Jeff Head, an owner operator and writer tells his tale. “I booked a load of plants down south located at an old, run down, empty plantation. When I got there, out in the middle of nowhere, the load was not ready and would not be until the next day. When I asked the foreman where I could go to park, he said I could stay there. He even told me there was an outhouse I could use next to the old plantation cemetery.”
“Now, I am a big man, not especially a believer in ghosts, do not scare easily,” he goes on. “Night fell and there were huge trees all around. I sat in my truck, thinking of making a trip outside and started to hear creaks, groans and moans. Part of me thought it was just the wind in the trees; I looked out towards the cemetery and thought I saw shadows moving. The rest of me thought, 'Nope, I don’t have to go outside,' and I stayed in the bunk with the curtains closed until daylight listening to the goings on around my truck.”
Angel, a former trucker now dispatcher relates her ghost story. “I was at a brewery out west waiting to load one dark and cold night. I was listening to music and reading when something made me look out the windshield. Standing in the ambient light from the truck’s marker lights, I saw this tall man dressed in buckskins, holding a long rifle, looking directly at me. The hair on the back of my neck and on my arms stood up. I blinked my eyes to clear them and he was gone!”
The cb radio gives these tales.
A driver tells of a stretch of curvy mountain road in West Virginia 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, both vehicles’ lights are on and the tires are still spinning. By the time you pulled over to the shoulder ahead of the wreck, where it is wide enough for a rig to park, and got out of the truck, the vehicles have vanished.
Another driver was driving 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 he stopped and told the young man to get in. The young man climbed into the truck 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.
Besides the story of Big Joe and Phantom 309 made famous by Red Sovine, perhaps the next most famous trucking story of highway haunting is that of the Gray Lady of Alabama.
On state route 278 in Alabama, there used to be a racetrack. 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 was late and the mists rose as they do down south. A trucker running along the highway did not see the walking woman in time and hit her. Panicking, the driver sped off leaving the woman to die alongside of 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 stretch of highway looking for the driver that hit her and did not stop to help her. Rumor has it that several drivers have wrecked and had heart attacks from the fright.
A ghost shares my house with me, a medium friend told me that my ghost’s name is Charley and he is an old man who lived in my house a hundred years ago. Charley is a friendly soul. Therefore, it is not surprising that I have my own stories of ghostly sightings while on the road.
One day about dusk, I was driving along a two-lane stretch of highway 78 in Alabama (before it was all four-lane). I saw a little boy, who looked to be about five, 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 to stop the truck. When I got stopped and looked for the little boy, he was gone.
There have been a few other ghostly sightings for me, but the most remarkable one happened in Kentucky. I had delivered to a warehouse late one afternoon out in the back of beyond and dispatch had no load for me. There was no truck stop closer than 50 miles away so I asked the warehouse foreman if there was any place I could park overnight. He said at the bottom of the hill.
The warehouse was located in a semi-complete industrial park, one that was built years ago, but had never developed fully. At the bottom of the hill the warehouse stood on was a road that went nowhere, you have all seen them, where the planners hoped to expand. There was room for several trucks to park if need be. “Perfect,” I thought.
Later that night before bed, I needed to take Lilly out for a walk. The warehouse was closed for the night, but there were nightlights on top of the hill at the warehouse. As I walked Lilly, I heard a metallic jingling sound. Having been raised around horses, it sounded just like bridles and bits jingling. I looked around and then looked up towards the warehouse. There, in the glow of the nightlights, at the top of the hill, stood a group of horses and men. In amazement, I saw that the men wore civil war uniforms. As I watched, I realized that the sound I heard was from the horses shaking their heads. Then, the group faded away.
Halloween is the night when the spirits dance and ghosties make merry, but any time of year a ghostly sighting may occur, if you just watch and see.