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.