The Phantom Hitchhiker
We all know the story. It is an probably the most told ghost story of all time.
There are endless versions. They are as old as the automobile itself. Maybe
even older. The most well known is Resurrection Mary. There are others as
well but this is the one I know and have told to countless others
Jack is driving on a lonely country road late one rainy night. He is startled to see
a young woman walking along the side of the road. He pulls over and asks her if
she wants a ride. She appears a bit dazed and she is soaked to the skin. With a
mumbled word of thanks, she gets inside. The man reaches behind him, grabs his
jacket from the backseat, and offers it to the hitchhiker.
She smiles her thanks and drapes the jacket over her shoulders, informing him
that she has to get home to see her parents. The driver notices for the first time
that her face and hands are scratched and bleeding, and he asks what happened to
her. She explains that her car slid off the road and into a ditch. She had been
standing there for what had seemed like hours, hoping for help, before she decided
to walk the rest of the way to her parents' home.
He tells her that there is no problem taking her right to her parents' front door.
She thanks him, gestures into the darkness ahead and says that the house is only a
few miles ahead. After a few minutes, she points to the lights of a house down a
very short lane. She asks him to stop, and she gets out of the car. He protests that
he would be happy to drive her the rest of the way, but she is already running
away into the night. As he drives on, he berates himself for not asking her name,
but then he remembers that she still wears his jacket. That will be his excuse to
drive back to her parents' home and formally make her acquaintance.
Two days later, Jack drives back to his mystery girl's home and knocks on the
door. He is surprised when a very elderly woman opens the door and invites him
to step inside. As he looks about the interior of the front parlor, he notices a
framed portrait of the beautiful young girl, and he asks the woman if her
granddaughter is home.
Following the student's gaze to the portrait, the woman begins to weep. Her
darling daughter, she said, is still trying to come home. The student listens
incredulously as the woman tells him that her daughter had been killed in an
automobile accident on a dark and rainy night over 40 years before. He leaves the
old woman, concluding that she must be crazy. The hitchhiker he had picked up
that night was no more than nineteen years old. And she was very much alive.
As he passes a small rural cemetery, something blowing in the wind on one of the
grave markers catches his eye. When he enters the graveyard to investigate, he
finds his jacket draped over a tombstone that marks the final resting place of a
young woman who had died forty years ago.