Monday, July 19, 2010

A highway ghost

Residents of Reheboth, near Route 44, tend to get very nervous at the mention of a redheaded ghost along the highway.

Nobody knows the name of the ghost, what may have happened to him, or why he still haunts this stretch of road. Numerous sightings have been reported by thoroughly terrified drivers.

This ghost is one of many "vanishing hitchhikers" who have been reported in cultures worldwide. When a driver stops, he enters the car, only to vanish somewhere down the road. A haunting laugh is then heard, sometimes coming from the radio. Sometimes, he doesn't wait for the driver to stop; he simply appears in the moving car, frightening the driver half to death. He also makes himself seen in the middle of the road, where many a driver has been convinced that they have run over him. When the unlucky driver gets out of the car and checks, however, he is nowhere to be seen. A young woman had a memorable experience when - or so she thought - she ran right into him, standing in the middle of the highway. She stopped to help, only to find an empty road, and to hear mocking laughter from the nearby woods. She drove on, only to have the same incident occur again. This time, rather than leaving her car, she rolled down the window to examine the highway. The laugh occurred again, this time right outside her car.

She left at high speed.

A few years later (both incidents occurred in the early 1980s) a young couple broke down on Route 44. The woman stayed in the car while her boyfriend went in search of a pay phone. The man spotted a redheaded man sitting by the side of the road, and asked where the nearest phone was. The stranger didn't reply with words, only with a laugh. The man took a closer look at the stranger, and noticed that his eyes were cloudy and lacking pupils. The man hurried back to his car, checking nervously over his shoulder. The stranger had vanished, but the laughter continued, all the way back to the car. When he finally arrived, his girlfriend was hysterical. She explained that she had turned on the radio, but a voice had come through the broadcast program, calling her by name. Laughter followed, along with personal taunts, until her boyfriend arrived.

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