Do you ever find yourself seeing something strange on your daily commute or Sunday drive that you simply couldn’t explain? Or you may think that roads and highways are odd places to be haunted and for paranormal activity to occur but with the high numbers in automobile accidents and wrecks, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. There are plenty of highways and byways in the world that are the center of spooky legends and ghostly phenomena. You’ve surely heard the legend of the vanishing hitchhiker as you’ll realize just how common these accounts are all over the world.
Shades of Death Road
Located in Warren County, New Jersey is a road locally known for its legends and ghostly stories, drawing in more visitors and curious wanderers. This 6.7-mile road has people wondering and theorizing about its disturbing and ominous name. Some say that due to criminal activity, locals would take revenge against criminals and highwaymen who would wait for victims in the shadows by lynching them, hanging their bodies from low tree branches, warning others with criminal intent.
In the ’20s and ’30s, there were three murders that occurred along the road; a robbery where a man was hit over the head with a tire jack in order to steal coins, another was a woman who had beheaded her husband, burying the head and the body on different sides of the street, the third involved a local named Bill Cummins, who was shot and buried, the case never being solved. The spread of malaria was another theory for the macabre name of the road. In 1850, a nest of insects that carried malaria was discovered in a cliff face along Shades of Death Road. They spread in the nearby Bear Swamp, causing annual outbreaks. Mortality rates were high due to the disease but the threat was ended after the swamps were drained in 1884. For a list of theories, click HERE.
Just off the road is Ghost Lake, south of the I-80 overpass. It was created when two wealthy men dammed a creek to avoid any flooding with the houses they had just built. The name came from the way vapor formations arose and looked during cool mornings. Several locals claimed to have seen ghosts in the area, especially in a deserted cabin across the lake from the road. There is a legend of a Native American spirit guide shapeshifts into a deer, appearing at different points of the road at night. If motorists don’t slow down when they see him, it’s said that an accident will soon take place with the driver and a deer.
Not far from Shades of Death road resides a bridge, where you could spot two, ghostly children who were run over if you follow directions; after midnight, stop on the bridge with your high beams and honk the horn three times.
People have also reported capturing the spirit of a woman in a series of polaroids that two anonymous people found. When the police began their investigation, the photos ‘disappeared’ shortly after.
Located in Basel-Country in Switzerland is the Belchen Tunnel, a motorway that links Eptingen to Hagendorf. Stretching over ten thousand feet long, it was opened in 1966 and renovated in 2003.
In 1981, rumors began to circulate that the tunnel was plagued by a hitchhiking ‘white woman’, a ghost that appeared out of nowhere to drivers and may speak to them. But the first infamous ghost of Belchen was male with written reports that date back to 1980, that would hitchhike and would often be picked up but to vanish from the vehicles. The police received dozens of phone calls with claims of this type of activity. It became a popular subject in the 1981’s Shrove Tuesday Carnival, being discussed amongst musicians and festival-goers. But the hype eventually calmed down until more reports of the white woman became more common. Two women picked up a middle-aged woman who was obviously clumsy and very pale in Eptingen. They asked her how she felt, to which the woman responded, “No, unfortunately not. I am not well at all. Something really awful is going to happen, something very dreadful!”
Other variations and tales of the ‘vanishing hitchhiker’ not only takes place inside or around the tunnels but in other locations around Basel, including the “Heidegg castle’s lady,” “the maiden on the goat,” and “the grey woman in Zunzgen.” In the area of Basel, as well, the apparition of a man wearing black is seen and he speaks, prophesizing about earthquakes and hard winters, then he vanishes.
Located in Quezon City, Metro Manila in the Philippines is this undivided carriageway (without a median) and is mostly used by cabs and jeepneys. It was named after a giant balete tree that used to reside in the middle of the road. While the construction date of Balete Drive is unknown, it had been cemented and asphalted in the early ’70s during the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. Several Spanish homes reside in the area, supporting the claim that Balete Drive has been used since the Spanish era around the end of the 19th century.
Balete Drive used to frighten individuals due to the looming, ominous feeling provided by the many, large balete trees that lined and darkened the area. Balete trees are believed to be the home for mysterious creatures and spirits, according to Pinoy (demonym referring to the Filipino people and their culture) folklore. Since the 1950s, many legends and stories have circulated, giving belief that the road is haunted. One of the entities that people are said to encounter is a kaperosa (white lady), also popular in Philippine folklore, that haunts taxi drivers. Many believe she is the spirit of a teenage girl that was run over and killed by a taxi driver at night and was then buried beside a balete tree on the road. Another variation is that the girl was a university student that was sexually assaulted by a taxi driver before being killed and she still wanders the street, on the hunt for her murderer. Or, as another story states, a girl that lived in one of the ancestral homes along the road was physically abused and killed by her own family. Her ghost haunts Balete Drive, reaching out for help from passing motorists. But local rumors state that the legend of Balete Drive was made up by a reporter in 1953 to make their story more interesting and that people still circulate the ‘haunted’ rumors in order to boost tourism. But who knows? Maybe there really is the spirit of a lost girl roaming the street…
While it’s not a road that’s particularly haunted, Bray Road, located outside of Elkhorn, Wisconsin is a quiet, rural road said to be the home of the Bray Road Beast. You’ve likely either seen the movie or read about this infamous creature somewhere before, but I’m just so fascinated by this story, I couldn’t help myself…
The beast is said to resemble a werewolf – a hairy creature, almost physically similar to Bigfoot, and is rather large as it’s seven-foot when standing, 2-4 feet tall while on all fours and is said to weigh anywhere from four hundred to seven hundred pounds. Sightings from the late ’80s and early ’90s sparked a local newspaper (Walworth Country Week) reporter to cover the story. She was skeptical but became persuaded and convinced by the seemingly authentic sincerity of the witnesses she interviewed. Her articles were later published into a book, called The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin’s Werewolf.
While many were believers of the Bray Road Beast, others weren’t so easily convinced as many explanations of the creature surfaced. One of them being that it’s nothing more than an undiscovered species of wild dog, a wolfdog, or a coydog (coyote/dog hybrid). It’s also possible that the beast is just an elaborate hoax, created to cause mass hysteria. In Legend Hunters, Season 1, Episode 3, it was stated that it could also be a bear that’s suffering from mange (a mammal skin disease caused by parasitic mites). I’m not sure if the Beast of Bray Road exists but I’ve always been a believer that anything is possible…
A229 Road (and Blue Bell Hill)
Currently running from north to south through Kent (southeast England) from Rochester to Hawkhurst is the major road, A229. It’s about 30 miles long and follows the route of Roman Road No. 13, which ran from Rochester to Hastings.
There is a part of the road that is said to be haunted due to fatal accidents. In November of 1965, three women were injured severely in a car wreck when their car collided with a Jaguar (car) at Blue Bell Hill (A229). Two of the women died shortly after, while the other died five days later at a nearby hospital. Since the accident, many have reported seeing ghosts by the Lower Bell Pub at Blue Bell Hill, where a phantom hitchhiker is frequently spotted as many believe that she is one of the accident victims. As the usual story goes, a passerby will spot her, offer her a ride, and maybe converse back and forth. But when the driver turns around, she is gone without explanation.
On Blue Bell Hill as well, in 1974, a local bricklayer ran into the Rochester Police Station to report that he had run over a girl around the age of ten. He wrapped her in a blanket and left her on the side of the road but when he and the police returned to the scene, she was nowhere to be found and it’s still unsolved and unexplained to this day. Since then, drivers have reported driving straight through a young girl in the middle of the road.
Blue Bell Road is said to be one of the most haunted roads in the country, due to the frequent sightings. It became so popular that a local group wrote and directed a short movie about the many ghost stories of the road, called The Ghost of Blue Bell Hill.
Opened in 1988, Stocksbridge Bypass is located in the United Kingdom and is thought to be the most haunted road in Britain. It passes through the towns of Stockbridge (hence, the name) and Deepcar and is notorious for road accidents, labeled as a ‘blackspot’ (an area where car wrecks are concentrated) and many claim it’s due to the road being ‘cheaply’ built while others say it was built upon cursed land. As the legend goes, a monk was kicked out of his church as he lost his faith and was then buried in an unholy grave. It’s also said that a rumored mineshaft was located there with many children falling to their deaths.
The apparition of a monk-like figure, as well as little children (sometimes dancing before fading into nothing), are frequently reported on the road. These paranormal claims were discussed in a docuseries called Strange But True in 1994.
Tuen Mun Road
Located in Hong Kong, Tuen Mun Road was one of their first high-speed roads with construction proving to be a great challenge, having been built on a winding coastline along with steep terrain. It was due to these factors that the highway is well-known for car wrecks, bus accidents (in 2003, a bus accident caused twenty-one people to lose their lives), and a heavy tire accident. In December of 2013, a screw stuck up from the road’s surface, causing the tires of about fifty vehicles to burst, which then caused a three-hour traffic jam.
And if there’s anything we’ve learned from the previous locations…with road accidents, comes restless spirits and apparitions. Tuen Mun Road is no exception, of course. Numerous locals have reported that apparitions will appear out of nowhere in front of them and will sometimes cause even more accidents, growing the ghost population as many claim these ghosts are of people that had been involved in previous, fatal accidents and are also spotted, walking along the road.
Boy Scout Lane
Probably one of the most well-known haunted roads is Boy Scout Lane, located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Many urban legends and ghost stories have been linked to the road, including the rumored deaths of a troop of Boy Scouts (more on that in a moment). The land was once owned by the Boy Scouts of America, thus giving it its name. Many people visit and come to conduct paranormal investigations, though the area around the road is now off-limits to the public, being privately owned.
There’s an urban legend stating that in the 1950s or ’60s, a group of Boy Scouts were killed during a camping trip, some theorizing that it was the Scoutmaster of the group, while some suspect that the killer was the bus driver. In another theory, a forest fire occurred in the middle of the night, killing all of them. There are even more versions and variations, another being that they were killed as the result of the bus crash as it caught on fire. Others say that some of the scouts escaped and searched for help but ended up getting lost in the woods, dying of starvation.
Stories of paranormal activity swarmed as visitors feel like they’re being watched or experience an overwhelming sense of foreboding. People often hear unexplainable footsteps and twigs breaking, the sound coming from multiple directions at once. Red or white lights are spotted that resemble lanterns or flashing beams. Ghostly figures and phantom buses are also seen by people and handprints that resemble the size of a child’s appear on cars that have stopped or driven through the area.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post on haunted highways and roads and if you did, consider subscribing so you never miss a paranormal post full of history and haunts!
Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.