Phantom hitch­hik­ers

Fortean Times - - Letters - Peter A McCue By email

In his ‘Ghostwatch’ col­umn [ FT358:18-20], Alan Mur­die as­serts that “first-hand wit­nesses to the [phantom] hitch­hiker and ver­i­fi­able de­tails al­ways prove lack­ing” (p.19; my em­pha­sis). Leav­ing aside the ques­tion of what would con­sti­tute “ver­i­fi­able de­tails”, there cer­tainly are first-hand re­ports of phantom hitch­hiker ex­pe­ri­ences. Take, for ex­am­ple, the fol­low­ing cases:

Michael Goss, au­thor of a well­known book on phantom hitch­hik­ers, in­ter­viewed a man called Roy Ful­ton, who had re­port­edly en­coun­tered a phantom hitch­hiker one evening in Oc­to­ber 1979 while driv­ing home from a darts match ( The Ev­i­dence for Phantom Hitch

Hik­ers, Aquar­ian Press, 1984, p.11 and pp.90-99.) On a road near the vil­lage of Stan­bridge, Bed­ford­shire, Ful­ton saw a male fig­ure thumb­ing a lift. He stopped his van, and the hitch­hiker got in. Ful­ton asked the man where he was go­ing, but he sim­ply pointed ahead. Ful­ton sur­mised that the pas­sen­ger might have been deaf and dumb. A few min­utes later, Ful­ton turned to of­fer him a cig­a­rette, but there was no one there.

In a re­cently pub­lished, and very de­tailed, book on the ghostly phe­nom­ena at Blue Bell Hill, north Kent, Sean Tu­dor cites an ex­pe­ri­ence that re­port­edly be­fell a Mal­colm Grant (pseu­do­nym) and his then girl­friend in about 1967 or 1968 ( The Ghosts of Blue Bell Hill & other Road Ghosts, White Ladies Press, 2017, pp.217218.) Years later, Tu­dor got to speak to Grant briefly about the in­ci­dent, which oc­curred when Grant and his friend were on Blue Bell Hill and driv­ing in the di­rec­tion of Maidstone. A young woman flagged them down. Grant stopped to of­fer her a lift, and she got into the back of the ve­hi­cle. How­ever, when Grant turned to ask her where she wanted to go, there was no sign of her.

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