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Hauntings of the highways

With Halloween on the horizon, it might be a good time to unearth some of trucking’s ghostly tales.

Perhaps the most famous “fictional” ghost story of the road of them all is Phantom 309 by the great Red Sovine:

For a more humorous take on the haunted road, nothing beats the tale of “Large Marge.”

Yet to hear truckers tell it, the U.S. is crisscrossed with haunted highways and byways and dotted with haunted trucks stops and roadhouses and even service stations – something the members of the driver council organized by the RoadPro Family of Brands know all too well.

For example, there’s the abandoned Tri-County Truck Stop in Villa Ridge, MO, just west of St. Louis on old Route 66. It’s been visited by several teams of paranormal investigators, including one from the Syfy Channel. Their conclusion? It’s haunted.

Clinton Road in West Milford, NJ, is bumper-to-bumper with strange occurrences, including the ghost of a drowned boy who throws back coins that travelers toss into a river, phantom trucks that suddenly appear with blazing headlights and blaring horns, rumors of cannibal cults and so on.   

According to the RoadPro, though, it’s not surprising that truckers have an affinity for ghost stories.

They see a lot more of the country than most people and they’re often out by themselves at strange hours on unfamiliar roads. They spend their nights, not in houses, but in thin-walled sleepers, often parked in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by strangers.

The good folks at RoadPro say suspense comes from not being quite sure what you’ve seen or haven’t seen. It’s that rustle behind you, the flicker of movement at the edge of your vision. High speed and the dark don’t allow you to determine that the red eyes in the ditch by the side of the road belong to a possum and not something else or that the light flickering through the trees is on a pole barn.

So what ghostly tales do truck drivers tell amongst themselves? Maggie Stone, a livestock hauler from Iowa and a RoadPro driver council member, shared this one:

There is a county road out by Joplin, Missouri, and on this road one can see a light. They call it the spook light. It's very eerie to see. They say it's the ghosts of soldiers who battled there and I've heard tales that it is where UFOs come into our atmosphere. I drove down this road. The animals weren’t in the woods where they belonged; they were all out in the ditches. Strange. When I saw the lights in the distance it was an odd glow that made your hair stand on end . . . goose bumps . . . radio static . . . made me never want to go down it again.

Tom Kyrk, another RoadPro driver council member, added this:

Near the Allentown, Pa., truck stop is a 24-hour diner that caters to locals and truckers alike. It has this odd vibe I could never fully explain. One late night I was having dinner and got to talking about the history of the diner with a waitress and another customer. She said it was built on an Indian graveyard and several pedestrians had been killed in front of the diner. We talked about some of the strange happenings, like lights turning off and on for no reason, things like that. All of a sudden, a customer who no one had seen before said, “There was a young girl about 12-14 killed in front of here, wasn't there? Oh, and an employee in their mid-30's who everyone thought was a bit weird or creepy, maybe named Lenny?” The waitress got a weird look and said, “Yeah, about 10 years ago a school girl was walking home in front of here and was struck and killed. Also, our dishwasher was hit crossing the street one night after work and his name was Lenny.” Needless to say, things got real quiet and the subject was changed. Can we say, “check please?”

Want to read more? RoadPro suggests two books full of scary trucking tales for Halloween:

How many of those stories are true? RoadPro feels the best way to answer that might be with a riddle:

What’s the difference between a fairy tale and a trucker tale? Fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time . . .” while trucker tales begin with “You ain’t never gonna believe this . . .”


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