As a fan of ghosts and urban legends, there is nothing more interesting than studying how far and wide a story can spread, what changes over the tellings and the differences from each other. One of the most well-known urban legends is the story of the vanishing hitchhiker, and what inspired me to write this article is the fact that five minutes from my home, there is a purported haunted stretch of road where a distraught woman hitches a ride. The story is almost identical from all around the world; a driver is stunned to see a young woman crying on the side of the road, the driver pulls over, offers the young woman a ride. The woman is so thankful, the driver is believed to have helped but notices his car has gotten a tad chilly all of a sudden. He asks the woman where she is headed; she gives the address and the two drive off before they can reach the destination, the driver looks over to break the awkward silence and, before his eyes, the young woman vanishes. The ghost that inspired my writing is called the Fifth Street Hill Ghost of Huntington, West Virginia, and her story has been around for as long as I have been alive. A quick google search has almost identical stories from England, Switzerland, California, and Tennessee. One of the genuinely great urban legends, be sure to watch the side of the road the next time you drive through a massive rain storm on your local haunted highway!
Published by TheOddPast by Matthew A. Perry
Writer, teacher, broadcaster, and podcaster from West Virginia. I write about and discuss the wacky and weird side of history on my website www.theoddpast.com and my podcast "The Odd Past Podcast" available everywhere View more posts