The Haunted Highways: Ghosts of the Open Road

by Tony Harrington

spookyroadThere is something indeterminably creepy about a long, dark, and winding stretch of road in a backwoods town that often sets one’s mind racing. For it is on these very roads that most towns boast the presence of a nightly wanderer.

The stories are typically similar from town to town. It was a dark and stormy night, a young man or woman was on their way home when they lost control of their vehicle and crashed and subsequently died on the very road.

Or, the road houses even darker secrets having been witness to rape and murder most foul.

No matter the circumstances, and there is always a story to go with it, these roads are host to a paranormal phenomenon known simply as “Road Ghosts”.

The phenomenon is exactly as it sounds. The presence of a wandering soul whose mortal frame has long since vanished haunts the road and terrifies passers through. They appear on the sides of the road, sometimes as a hitchhiker or someone in distress. They are known to interact with motorists, sometimes going so far as to climb into the backseat of an offered ride only to mysteriously disappear before their destination is reached.

In some instances, upon the reached destination, the final destination is discovered to be a graveyard where the ghost’s earthly vessel is buried. Or the destination is the home of the deceased’s family who will deliver the shocking news to the concerned motorist that the person they witnessed died years ago on the very road from whence they came.

The stories are wide and varied but there is a common thread running through them, that for some people, suggests life after death.

In Arkansas, there is the legend of Woodson Lateral Road. The stories on this particularly long baseline black top are numerous and range from the ghost light of a felled motorcyclist to the apparition of a female hitchhiker who leaves a souvenir in the back seats of concerned motorists who offer her a ride.

Woodson Lateral has the distinction of having many things working in its favor: the road is creepy, a long stretch that leads into an endless abyss of black during the night. The road is flanked by tall trees that hang over the side of the road creating a canopy-like effect. In addition to this, there is actually a cemetery sitting off of the road and periodically, a pentagram is spray painted on the road, as if the place wasn’t creepy enough.

In addition to spectral visitors, local residents and visitors report seeing a myriad of strange creatures like the giant owl-like figure that stands in the middle of the road and flies at the windshields of oncoming cars only to disappear into thin air as if it had never been.

Others report seeing shadow creatures watching from the side of the road, peering with an intense gaze as if they are waiting for you to stop.

Phantom headlights following travellers traversing the landscape have been reported. Sometimes the headlights get so close that drivers think it is a cop and pull over only to realize that the lights have vanished.

I have personally never been on Woodson Lateral, even though I live in Arkansas. The prospect of stopping my vehicle and walking around a poorly lit, long stretch of road doesn’t seem too appealing. I do not wish to be struck and killed and left to wander the road for all eternity while my ghost laments its passing and terrorizes passers by in the process.

Similar to Woodson Lateral, the Rock-a-Dundee Road in Hampden, Massachusetts boasts many spirits ranging from the ghost of a hatchet wielding mad-woman, to the spirit of a young boy named Jared who was struck and killed by a car upon departing his school bus. 

There are also rumors of the ghosts of ten teens who committed a mass-suicide on the road, though in that particular case, local authorities actually weighed in on the rumors and flat-out deny any such incident occurring.

Still, travelers on Rock-a-Dundee road report seeing some pretty crazy things and feeling a sense of dread as if they are being watched from just beyond the adjacent forest treeline.

Ask residents of West Milford, New Jersey about haunted roads and they will openly discuss the tragedy that befell a small boy on Clinton Road. Their legend claims that said boy was playing by himself on the long road when he fell to his death from a bridge.

As with most legends, this one can’t be substantiated, but it has been around long enough that it is taken at face value.

Because of his untimely and tragic death, his spirit is said to wander Clinton Road accompanied by a myriad of other phenomena including ghost lights and even a red-eyed hell-hound.

The award for sheer terror on an open road though belongs to the ominously named Shades of Death Road in Warren County, New Jersey

This aptly named road is said to be cursed by the spirits of the Lenni-Lenape people who were slaughtered by a tribe of Iroquois Indians. There is a litany of reported sightings of spectral beings wandering the road. Shadow creatures and other cryptozoological abnormalities are known to walk the area, and the presence of phantom lights is almost considered the norm.

That name though, turns out, is very appropriate. Over the many years since the road was cut there have been countless murders, accidents, and horrific deaths that have littered the roadside with mangled corpses. Discarded mutilated bodies have turned up as have the remains of unfortunate souls who have been ravaged by wildcats that are known to roam the area.

No matter your locale, it is a safe bet that there are known roads that harbor dark secrets and ghostly visitors. Share with us in the comments below any experiences you have had on the haunted highways byways of your hometown.

Thank you for stopping by.


16 thoughts on “The Haunted Highways: Ghosts of the Open Road

    1. No one on this blog signed you up and we have no way of unsubscribing you.

      You will have to unsubscribe yourself, you can do a google search to find instructions on unsubscribing for email notifications from blogs.

      We suggest you learn how to use the internet and not take your anger at your own incompetence out on other people.

  1. LOL! Be1bop is a disrespectful idiot. They shouldn’t even be on the internet. And now that he/she was stupid enough to post their email address to a public forum, we should sign them up for everything we come across so that their email gets flooded with spam.

    Second sign that Be1bop is intellectually developmentally delayed: an email address? Really? The year 1996 called, they want their email address back.

    I love trolls. I think this is the same person who started trouble a few months ago. Maybe even Cherry from the dolls post!!

    1. To Sarah C. just because a person has an AOL email address, does not make them developmentally delayed. I have an AOL email address, because it is the same address I got when I was in high school/college and it is the one I used to set up all of my financial and school related accounts. It is the account that the schools have always had for my children. I could go and change it, but I would have to go back and change it on virtually everything. Bank, school, church, cheerleading, baseball. It is how companies and businesses have always gotten in touch with me. Dental cleaning reminders, eye doctor appointment reminders, yearly doctor’s visit. It would be a pain to go to every place and give them a new email address. There’s nothing wrong with the one I have always had. It’s easier to just go with it, because even though it is an old email address, it is the address, that I have given to important companies and people, that need to get in touch with me. Same thing as my cell phone. I keep that number, because it is what is listed on everything for my kids. I’m sorry you think that makes a person developmentally delayed. I don’t agree with the rudeness of Be1bop, but you are equally as insulting. Think about how many others read this, before you go off and insult an entire group of people, that may have good reason for having a “developmentally delayed” email address!

  2. This is SUCH an interesting post! We have a road like these in CT (Downs Road) which is now closed. People report melonheaded creatures and creepy demonic looking children. Thank you for sharing what you know on this topic, loved it!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment on our blog, as well as sharing information about Downs Road.

      I am not sure if roads can really be haunted or not, but the stories sure are creepy and I am sure for those who experience such strange phenomenon on these roads, it is very real for them!

      Thank you again for stopping by and interacting with us.

  3. Oh dear Be1bop, that’s more funny than annoying!
    But, to be more on topic. Can roads be haunted? Well I’m not sure if anything/anywhere can be haunted but I certainly know some roads that feel creepy. I know several lanes close to me that when the moon is full and scudding behind the clouds, and you come to a part where the trees meet overhead, and it gets dark, and all you can hear is the wind and the local wildlife scurrying about then. yes, you do catch yourself hurrying up a bit. But, of course, only because you’re keen to get home. No fears, no, no fears at all….

    1. Hey Peter! Glad to see you stop by once again. I am not sure if roads can be haunted. I am a skeptic for the most part and tend to believe that creepy roads as you described tend to put people on edge and from there the imagination can take over.

      Thanks for commenting, hope life across the pond is treating you well.

  4. Hey This is Bill, and I am developing a E Book about supernatural songs. Could I use this picture,?? I will include yourself and your blog in the credits if it gets off the ground . I am using Kick Starter.

    1. Bill:

      I am not the rights holder for this image. I pulled it off of a Google image search. It is floating around out there on many sites so I am not sure who the original rights holder is.

      I wish I could be of more assistance. Sorry.

  5. My boyfriend and I and our friend just visited Rock A Dundee Rd last night. Apparently a child was drowned in that lake. It’s spirit is said to call people to the lake and then grab hold of them and show them what happened to it through some sort of a vision. It doesn’t mean to hurt these people. Or friend saw a hell hound and both of us saw multiple dark spirits watching from the woods and the road side. We got to Camp Aya Po (which my karate school used to use for an overnight camp before it closed) and looked throughout the shacks. I’m very sensitive to the spiritual world so at times I found it hard to breathe. We got to the lake and the child ghost wasn’t there yet. But I looked down the road and saw something dark and felt an evil presence. I forbid either of them to go down that road. It began to feel darker, so my boyfriend and I demanded we leave. Our friend had gone there many times before and had put a spiritual block around one of the shacks so that he and whomever he had come with could go there for protection if they were being chased, so we went there to regroup. In the shack were two cushions, a cooler top, and a folded stroller. A family had squatted there apparently. And left in a hurry. In the shack, our friend saw a spirit outside. They both heard a thud: our friend heard it under our feet. My boyfriend heard it outside. I, oddly enough, heard nothing. But I felt something coming closer. I demanded we leave. We finally got in the car and before driving away, our friend looked behind us and said “oh look! It’s the child ghost. It’s by the lake now.” I knew that that wasn’t the only spirit there and demanded louder that we go. The dark shadow down the road (which our friend also saw) was coming closer and had a bloodlust. It was the same spirit, our friend said later, that had chased him out of the camp before. I finally got him to leave and the car stalled. We got it started again and got out. Something was calling me back though. Back to the lake. And then to a highly haunted graveyard on the way home. In short: I can never safely return there.

    1. Took my dog today probably 20-30 minutes before dusk just to check out the camp grounds before heading home, wasn’t aware of the road further down! But my dog would NOT go in some of the shacks and huts, most of which had Satanic references hastily spray painted on walls and floors. Did see the stroller you’re talking about, someone threw it on top of the first shack to the right of the parking area. Wish they would clean up the trash:/

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