ROAD GHOST STORIES AND URBAN LEGENDS INVOLVING MOTORCYCLES
BLACKWALL HORROR ( FT75:57, June-July 1994) Early in 1960, Roy Dent and his new wife were staying at his father-in-law’s house in Blackwall Lane, south of the Blackwall Tunnel, which runs under the River Thames. One dark, wet evening the three of them were sitting together when they were startled by screeching tyres and brakes, and then a loud bang. Outside, Roy’s father-in-law found the aftermath of a road accident: a motorcyclist had struck the curb on the bend and been thrown against a road sign, killing him instantly. A week later, Roy and his wife were awoken at around 2am by an identical sequence
of sounds, but on investigating there was no sign of an accident or any vehicle to account for it. BLACKWALL TUNNEL (Steve Jones, London... The Sinister Side, 1986, p63) Apparently, in 1972 a motorcyclist dressed in leathers and crash helmet died in a Blackwall Tunnel accident; it is said he is unable to leave. Also in 1972, a motorcyclist picked up a young man thumbing a lift on the south side of the tunnel. Despite the traffic noise the motorcyclist caught the address of his passenger. Emerging on the north side, he looked over his shoulder and found the pillion empty. He turned round and drove back through the tunnel, fearing his passenger had fallen off. However, he found no trace and so the following day went to the given address. On describing the young man he was told he had died some years before. BRAKE FAILURE (John Harries, The Ghost
Hunter’s Road Book, 1974, p46) Twelve miles from the Canterbury end of the Pilgrim’s Way is the crossroads of the A253 (Ramsgate to Canterbury) and the A266 (going south from Margate). In legend there used to be a burial ground and gibbet nearby. Sinister influences can affect traffic, with drivers unable to steer or brake, sometimes with fatal consequences. One accident was witnessed by a policeman on point duty and an assisting AA patrolman. Both signalled a motorcyclist to stop, who yelled out that he was unable to pull up. He knocked the policeman down, skidded and seriously injured himself. Nothing was wrong with the motorcycle and his speed had not been excessive. FORNHAM PARK (Alan Murdie, Haunted Bury St Edmunds, 2006, pp72-73) In 1979, Mr Boast recalled that in 1946 he had walked one evening with a friend towards a crossroads near Fornham Park, Bury St Edmunds. Both men heard the sound of a motorcycle fast approaching from the direction of Ingham, but could see no lights, machine or rider. The sound ceased suddenly and they had the impression there had been a crash. On reaching the spot they found nothing. Both then recalled that about a year previously a young man riding a motorcycle had been involved in a fatal crash, dying at the spot. Despite being mocked, Mr Boast remained convinced they had heard a re-enactment of the fatal crash, and the sound of a phantom motorcycle. FOX HOUSE SIDECAR (http://drdavidclarke.co.uk/urbanlegendary/road-ghosts/) A young courting couple were riding in a motorcycle and sidecar one winter’s evening by Fox House Inn, near Hathersage. They pulled over to offer a lift to a girl dressed in motorcycling leathers and crash helmet who appeared by the roadside thumbing a lift. She said nothing, other than to give an address in Sheffield. Reaching the city boundary, with the girl riding pillion, the driver glanced back to find she had vanished. The couple retraced their steps to Fox House but found no trace of the hitchhiker. Concerned, they reported the incident to the police. Resuming their journey, they decided to call at the address the girl had given. The woman who answered the door burst into tears when asked if she knew anyone answering the description. Recovering her composure, she said her daughter had been killed in a motorcycling accident on that very stretch of road. The family had attended her funeral just days before. The description of the daughter exactly matched the girl hitchhiker. GHOST ROAD, SCUGOG ISLAND, ONTARIO (www.theparanormalseekers.ca/ghostroad---port-perry.html) There is a legend that, around 1957, a young man was seeing how fast his motorcycle could go on a straight stretch of an old concession road. But the road was short, and he realised he was running out of space approaching the intersection with the 9th Concession. About 100m (328ft) from the south end he lost control and ploughed into a field, caught himself on a barbed-wire fence, and was decapitated. (Some say he died having banged his head on a rock). This story is supposed to account for reports of a large round white light heading down
The Kentucky motorcyclist had crashed and passed away in hospital
the road that, when it passes, turns into a small red light. Occasionally sounds of a motorcycle accompany the light.
(Letter of 14 Mar 1990 to Jan Harold Brunvand from DH, Australia) An Indonesian friend-of-a-friend story has been heard from two separate sources, one on Madura and one from Solo, Java. Late at night, a man rode his motorcycle through the countryside towards his parents’ home, when he saw a beautiful woman by the road. He stopped and offered her a ride. She got onto the pillion and gave him directions leading off the main road into some rice fields, near a small bamboo house. She then invited him to come with her into the fields where they made love. The man was overcome by sleep and did not wake until the morning, alone. He approached the house to speak with the girl, only to be told that she had died several years before. DH adds pertinent cultural comments: young men in Indonesia nearly always ride motorcycles; Indonesians to a man are afraid of the dark; young Indonesian women would never go out at night alone because of the strict religious nature of the society; and she has never heard of or met a promiscuous Indonesian woman (excluding government sanctioned prostitutes).
( Daily Mail, 14 July 2016) A photo supposedly showing the soul of a motorcyclist leaving his body (reproduced on the opposite page) went viral on the Internet. It was taken by a truck driver. The lone motorcyclist had crashed and passed away later in hospital (see FT347:8).
(Email of 3 Feb 1995 to Jan Harold Brunvand from DW) A Malaysian man was riding his scooter home when a woman flagged him down and asked for a ride. He offered her his jacket because it was cold. On arriving at her home they went in and he was introduced to members of the family. When he arrived home he realised he had forgotten his jacket, and so went to collect it next day. The door was opened by an old lady, but when he asked for the woman by name the old woman raised her voice, saying that the woman died five years previously, and told him where she was buried. He later went to the cemetery where he found the woman’s headstone, with his jacket hanging on it. A week later he was killed in an accident.
(www.paranormaldatabase.com/reports/ roaddata.php) In October 1947, near the A272/A24 junction (Buck Barn crossroads) in Sussex, a man sitting on a stone stood up and walked into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. The motorcyclist felt the impact, but retained his balance and took several seconds to stop and turn back to the scene of the accident. However, the old man had vanished.
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN, 1979
(Michael Goss, The Evidence for Phantom
Hitch-hikers, 1984 p12) Police motorcyclist Mahmood Ali gave a lift to a pretty girl in white who disappeared before reaching her stated destination. A photograph of a 20-year-old victim of a fatal road accident matched the hitchhiker “eyelash by eyelash”. Police files were said to hold additional reports of this girl thumbing lifts, but three previous witnesses were said to have been killed looking for the vanished girl, all in collisions with trucks. Ali established that the girl in question had also been killed by a truck when walking along that road in search of her lover. It was supposed that she was continuing to do so, luring unfortunate men to their deaths as a sort of revenge.
(Letter of 24 July 1988 to Jan Harold Brunvand from AH, Keighley, Yorkshire) The following tale was heard in the late 1960s. A young man was returning home by motorcycle to Bradford, Yorkshire, from the Lake District. Around 2am he was about four miles from home, approaching the Saltaire roundabout. He was waved down by a young woman in some distress. She asked him to take her to Bradford. He felt her mount the pillion and rode through the almost deserted streets before stopping to ask her precise destination. Of course, she had disappeared. Fearing she had fallen off, the man rushed to the nearest police station to report what had happened. The desk sergeant calmed him down and said he was just the latest in a long series of motorcyclists who had picked up this phantom at Saltaire Roundabout.
SASSARI, SICILY (1973)
(Michael Goss, The Evidence for Phantom
Hitch-hikers, 1984, p12) Noticing the strange coldness of a girl who hitched a ride on his motorcycle, factory worker Luigi Torres lent her his overcoat. On reaching her house he said he would collect it next day. When he called to do so he was shocked to learn she had been dead for three years. On the girl’s grave Luigi found both a photo of the hitchhiker he had encountered the night before and his overcoat.
(www.paranormaldatabase.com/reports/ roaddata.php) On 14 November 2013, on the northbound A15 near the Ruskington turning in Lincolnshire, a driver spotted a tall, black-haired, male figure wearing a leather jacket standing at the roadside. He said the figure appeared out of nowhere and vanished soon after being seen.
UNIONDALE GHOST 1
(Michael Goss, The Evidence for Phantom
Hitch-hikers, 1984, pp121-125) Around 9.35pm on 31 March 1978 Corporal Dawie van Jaarsveld of the South African Army was riding his motorcycle on the last leg of a 115-mile (185km) journey, approaching the Barandas turn-off outside Uniondale, South Africa. It was raining, so he stopped to give an attractive brunette a lift, though keeping his wits about him in case she was a decoy for a criminal gang. He handed her his spare crash helmet. Further down the road he felt a bumping sensation and thought he had a flat tyre. When he looked round, his passenger had disappeared. He retraced his journey, slewing the bike from side to side so his headlight scanned the darkness. After a couple of kilometres, the bumping returned; he found it was the spare helmet strapped to the rear seat. Van Jaarsveld went directly to the Petros cafe in Uniondale, where he walked in like the proverbial man who had just seen a ghost.
UNIONDALE GHOST 2
(Cutting from Albuquerque Journal, 11 Apr 1980 sent to Jan Harold Brunvand) In early 1980, 20-year old Andre Coetzee was riding his motorcycle near the Barandas turn-off when he felt his hair stand on end inside his crash helmet and someone, or something, put its arms around his waist from behind. Convinced something was on his bike, he accelerated to 80mph (130km/h) to get away, but the ghost “viciously” hit him three times on the helmet, apparently to make him slow down. When he reached 100mph (160km/h), “the apparition disappeared”. Like van Jaarsveld, Coetzee drove to a local cafe for help. The cafe owner said that Coetzee could hardly speak when asked what had happened, and “gradually it dawned on us that the woman ghost had appeared once more.
(Kathleen Wiltshire, More Ghosts &
Legends of Wiltshire, 1985, p42) The road between Calne and Avebury is apparently haunted after dark by a phantom motorcycle. If a car driver sees the motorcycle in his mirror, it is said to warn of an accident to come. This has happened more than once, around 2am. It is not known if a motorcycle was ever involved in an accident there, but several fatalities have occurred along this very stretch of road.