Saturday, May 9, 2015

Haunted Roads: The Lore (And Lure) Of Ghostly Byways

~by Marie Robinson

There’s something that I love about driving down a spooky old road. No streetlights, just two walls of thick, dark forest pressing in at either side.

 Countless roads like this exist, and many of them come with their own urban legends and ghost stories. While we could probably list a dozen for each state alone, I’ve tried to find a few of the creepiest haunted roads in the world for you to think about next time you take the long way home.


A75 Kinmount Straight 

The A75 is a 95-mile stretch of two-lane road that runs through Scotland. Since it’s establishment in 1923 it has obtained the reputation of Scotland’s most haunted road. However, most of the activity is concentrated on a fifteen-mile stretch between Annan and Dumfries, called the Kinmount Straight. 

The first recorded sighting seems to have been in 1957, when a truck (lorry, if you’re from the other side of the pond) driver believed he hit a couple walking hand in hand down the road; but, when he stopped the vehicle, he couldn’t find a trace of the two figures. This sort of thing is most commonly reported, phantom people appearing in front of cars and then vanishing upon “impact”. Disturbing as it is—especially for the driver, who believes they have just killed a person—that is far from the strangest experience to have occurred on Kinmount Straight.

Perhaps the most bizarre story from the A75 was that of drivers Derek and Norman Ferguson, who were going down the Straight at midnight when a chicken flew at their windshield, but—like all our other apparitions—disappeared upon impact. This was seemingly the start of a terrifying string of apparitions, which included an old woman waving her arms, a screaming, long-haired man, and a pack of assorted animals, including dogs, goats, big cats, fowl, and “stranger creatures”. The two brothers stopped the car, which had begun to sway back and forth. Once it stopped, they pressed on, only to be met with one more spectre—a furniture van that came speeding toward them only to, you got it, vanish.

That certainly isn’t the sort of story you hear everyday, but it’s just a normal evening on the Kinmount Straight. There have been many “unearthly creatures” sighted on this infamous road, as well as eyeless ghosts and shrieking hags. Parades of disheveled and medieval dressed people pushing handcarts and carrying bundles, like troupe of vagrants misplaced in time, have been seen at night.
The Kinmount Straight has become famous for its bizarre and frequent activity, and like any paranormal hotspot, it has also become a haunt for local legend-trippers and paranormal investigators.

     Clinton Road 


New Jersey fascinates me because despite its proximity to the Big Apple, it has vast expanses of untamed forests. Clinton Road stretches across ten miles of such territory, giving it the perfect setting for an abundance of ghost tales.

The drive is a lonely one, and passes only several houses, some of which look uninhabited and rather foreboding. There are also several ruins along the route, both of which claim folktales. The first is a little anti-climactic; the remains of an iron smelter from the 1800’s. It’s been out of use for centuries but many people claim that it’s not entirely abandoned; there have been reports of witchcraft and ritualistic gatherings at the structure. It has been infamously mislabeled as a Druidic Temple, and superstition has painted it as a dangerous place to be at night.

Another strange ruin is that of Cross Castle, a mansion built in 1905 by a man named Richard Cross. Several years later it was consumed by fire and all but destroyed, and that’s seemingly all that is known about the place, making it somewhat mysterious. It is accessible by way of hiking trail, and those who have made the trek to the dilapidated castle have reported satanic scriptures painted on the walls and people coming away with unexplained bruises.

One of the most popular legends surrounding the road is that of “Ghost Boy Bridge”, where a child allegedly drowned and now haunts the spot. The legend is that if you throw a coin into the water, it will be tossed back at you by the child’s spirit.

Many “ghost cars” have been seen on Clinton Road; one is of a Camaro driven by the ghost of a girl who supposedly died in a crash in the 80’s. Another more sinister apparition is of a big black truck that races up behind you and flashes it’s lights (BEATNGU style) and chases you to the end of the road. Additionally, people have seen floating headlights seemingly attached to no car at all.

A final legend surrounds that of a now closed Warner Bros. theme park called Jungle Habitat. The park opened in 1972 and closed only four years later, on Halloween weekend (spoooooky!) The park—which was much like a zoo, consisting of roughly 1,500 exotic animals—became infamous after several attacks on visitors and rumors that several of the animals had escaped into the surrounding woods.

The buildings still remain in Passaic County, as do the myths of bizarre and dangerous creatures roaming the forests. Many who have driven down Clinton road or explored the surrounding land have told of seeing horrible creatures, believed to be hybrids of the escaped animals from Jungle Habitat.

Perhaps the only confirmed macabre event is that of a corpse found on the side of the road in 1983, a victim of Richard Kuklinksi, a contract killer dubbed “the Iceman” after his method of freezing a body to throw off investigators when determining the time of death. It is possible that this victim’s ghost still haunts the woods surrounding Clinton Road.

Perhaps the most horrifying of all, Clinton Road is also known for having America’s longest traffic light wait, which can have a motorist frozen in a state of agonizing suspense for up to five minutes…

Zombie Road


About a forty-minute drive outside of my hometown of St. Louis, nearly swallowed by the thick woodland, lies an old dirt road that has earned the sinister (and admittedly a little cheesy) moniker of Zombie Road. Once known as Lawler Ford Road, historians speculate that the path was formed by Native Americans to access a passable part of the Meramec River, which runs very close-by. Over time, it became a very highly used road, and, even, in the 1950’s, a lover’s lane. Since then teenagers have been passing around various ghost stories about the road, which has since become impassable to cars and is only accessible by foot or bicycle.

Zombie Road may have gotten its nickname from urban legends of a mad serial killer who lurked in the woods to pick off the lovers who parked there at night. It is also believed to have its share of ghosts; one such being the spirit of a man who was struck and killed by a train on the now defunct tracks that run beside the road. Another is that of a little boy who fell from the bluffs that close in around the road, and drowned in the Meramec River.

There are many tales of an old insane asylum—or sometimes, an orphanage—hidden in the woods. Another phantom building is supposedly that of an old house at the dead end of the road, where an old woman resides and will fly out of her house shrieking to chase off anyone who approaches.

Many have claimed to see “shadow people” (see Christine’s article HERE) as they walk through the forest; so many, in fact, that it inspired a local documentary called, “Children of the Grave”, which aired on SyFy.

Perhaps the most common reports are the disorienting effects the road will have on people. Some have said that the road will never look the same twice, that it may seem longer or shorter each trip, or give off the feeling that it may never end at all. People commonly have the feeling of being watched, or being followed—hearing a second set of footsteps keeping up with theirs from beyond the tree line.

The once infamous road has become heavily patrolled by local police, so anyone looking to catch a glimpse of a ghost may instead be met with a slap on the wrist.



If you enjoyed this article you may want to take a peek at our list of Haunted Bridges!

4 comments:

Tony Brubaker said...

I would imagine driving along one of those roads would be much more cosy than scary.

bar kerark said...

It’s refreshing to read a good quality article for a change. You’ve made many interesting points and I agree. This has made me think and for that I thank you.
Fear

pattie buechel said...

It's weird that they turned zombie road into a trail for biking, walking, running. We went there as teenagers & I knew the road like the back of my hand.It was quite a treacherous drive to get back to the cabin & where the sunken barge was.
The last time I was the was in 96'. We got about halfway back then headlights came on down the road. We were right by the bluffs but some how I turned the car around and we were flying down the rd which wasn't easy since it was full of huge dips & curves. The car was closing in on us rapidly which meant they knew the road as well as I did. We got out on 109 the car close behind then the flashing lights came on. I had never been so happy to see it was a cop following me. He commended me on my driving skills on the road but warned me to never come back.

Christine Hadden said...

Pattie - creepy story considering that was someone you may have known driving the other car!
Thanks for reading!!!