Paranormal Highway Encounters
In the 'Tales of horror in highways' post, we heard accounts from those who drive for a living and happened to witness something paranormal while travelling on the road. In this second part, we discuss the story of those who are merely traveling between two locations and had a terrifying encounter with something sinister and dark.
The Apparition of Madame Piggott
Stephen Penkridge cursed his father as a light rain began to fall. Knowing his luck, it would soon turn into a downpour, and he would arrive home looking like something resembling a drowned rat. It was just after 8:00 p.m. The autumnal nights were arriving earlier with each passing day and even now, the sun had already sunk below the western horizon. The night sky there was tinged blue with the afterglow, but it faded to a deep black overhead; there was just enough light to see by. His friend, Paul Patton, lived in a large country house just over a mile away and that's where he had been since late afternoon.
Normally, he would have cycled, but he had ridden into a ditch two days earlier and buckled his front wheel. As a result, he had been forced to walk to his friend's house. His mom had promised to pick him up in the evening, so that he didn't have to walk back in the dark. But his father had had to work late, meaning that the family's only vehicle was unavailable, leaving him in this predicament. It wasn't the walking that Stephen minded. It was the coldness of the approaching winter, the unpredictable British weather, and the encroaching darkness.
He lived in the Small Town of Newport in Shropshire, England, and whilst it wasn't a bad neighborhood by any means, there was a certain foreboding which fell over these country roads at night, thanks in no small part to the various myths and legends permeating the surrounding area, which now preyed upon his 15 year old mind.
On this evening, he was walking along Chester Road and had just rounded a bend leading away from St. Michaels Church, heading towards his home on the outskirts of town. On his right was a high brick wall built on top of a sloping embankment, which ran almost the entire length of the highway. The night was quiet. There were no houses or streets along this stretch of road, only fields and trees. He hadn't seen any other pedestrians out walking and not a single car had passed him as he made his way along the path.
Up ahead, about 50 feet away, an indistinct movement on top of the wall caught his attention. He struggled to see what it was in the dark. All he could make out was a whitish smudge and initially assumed it was a cat or polythene shopping bag, which had become snagged in the old brickwork. But as he drew closer, this shape seemed to grow in size, as if somebody had been crouching down on top of the wall and had then stood up at his approach.
He could not make out the definite shape of a person as he came to within 15 feet of whoever it was. And then, he stopped walking. It suddenly dawned on him that the figure was, in fact, a dull white translucent apparition with no features whatsoever, and it was just standing there, seemingly watching him from the top of the wall. A chill ran through his entire body as his mind began to process what he was looking at. He had heard stories all through his childhood of a ghost which supposedly haunted this stretch of road.
Back in the 17th century, a lady from Chetwynd Park, a manor-house further up the highway, had apparently died in childbirth, also losing her baby. Her name was Madame Piggott and her spirit was said to jump out in front of cars and sit beside drivers in passenger seats, amongst many other hair-raising tales. Stephen had always written these stories off as nonsense, but now he was seeing something he just couldn't explain.
As he came back to his senses, he considered running back the way he came, but to do so would have added another two miles to his journey. Instead, he simply hunched forward and decided to press on at a much faster pace, passing the ghostly figure as it continued to stare down at him. He looked back at it multiple times as he hurried away, and still it continued to stand there, unmoving.
He began to relax a little as he increased the distance and when he was around 50 or 60 feet away, his fear gave way to curiosity. He decided to stop and look back at the motionless apparition. Studying it for a moment, he had taken one small step back in its direction when it suddenly jumped down off the wall and begun to run towards him. In a blind panic, Stephen turned and sprinted for home. Each time he looked back, the figure was still behind him and appeared to be slowly gaining ground. He had no time to consider whether this ghost or creature or whatever it was, was chasing him or simply running in his direction, but he wasn't about to stop and find out.
Luckily for him, he was a cross-country runner for his school, and he was less than half a mile from home. Even so, he ran faster than he had ever done so in his life. His house was the first one on the corner as he turned left into his street at the bottom of Chester Road. Running into his front yard, he banked heavily on the front door. It seemed like an eternity before his mother answered, finding him out of breath, gesturing towards the main road adjoining their street. Both of them stood watching as this mysterious figure continued to run on past their house, towards Chetwynd End.
The story you just heard was told to me by one of my best friends. This apparently happened to his uncle back in the 1980s and I can personally vouch that other friends, relatives and acquaintances have shared similar experiences regarding the entity of Chester Road. Whether it is related to the ghost of Madame Piggott or something else entirely is unknown, but it is quite a famous local Legend, nonetheless.
The Paranormal US Highway 70
Our next story comes from a subscriber. Her apparent name is Donna. One Night in September of 2009, Donna was traveling east along Highway 70, heading for Ruidoso in New Mexico. With her in the car were her three dogs, who unfortunately despised one another. As a result, they all occupied separate seats; one in the back, one in the front passenger seat and the smallest laid on her lap.
Just as she was passing Round Mountain, a landmark topped by a huge white cross, her vehicle suddenly jerked and swerved to one side as if one of the tires have blown. Pulling over at the side of the road, she got out to inspect her car, but there was no fault as far as she could see. There were no dents or scrapes and all four tires were still intact. Confused, she went to get back into her vehicle and just happen to look up at the cross on top of the mountain. It was eerily illuminated under the moonlight and although she passed it a couple of times each week, she was suddenly overcome by a strange feeling, as if she was only just noticing it for the first time.
Climbing back into her car, she was surprised to find that all three of her dogs were now sitting together on the front passenger seats, each with their hackles raised, teeth bared and emitting low growls, staring intently into the vacant rear seat. She found this odd, as none of her canine companions could usually stand to be anywhere near each other, but something had caused them to unite in this manner. Unnerved, Donna tried to usher her Doberman back on to the rear seat. The back of the car was completely empty, but for some reason, the dog wouldn't budge.
Finally accepting this, she started the engine and continued on her journey. After only a few seconds of pulling back onto the highway, she noticed that her radio had died. No matter which frequency she switched to, all she received was dead air. The dogs were still growling and slowly, but surely, she began to get an overwhelming feeling that someone else was in the car. She couldn't see them, but she could sense their presence. And then, almost out of nowhere came the sound of slow, ragged breathing, emanating from right behind her.
The dogs began to whimper as Donna saw in the rearview mirror that the back window was starting to fog up, despite the fact it was a dry September night. All the hairs on her body stood on end as she began to panic, not knowing whether to pull over or just keep going praying to God that the phenomena would soon dissipate. She opted for the latter, and in all, she would travel more than 20 miles with this apparent phantom hitchhiker, before it seemingly vacated her vehicle right at the boundary of the Mescalero Reservation.
The air pressure inside the car seemed to change, as if a window had been opened. She hadn't even noticed how oppressive the atmosphere had become during her ordeal. The radio suddenly burst back into life and her dogs physically relaxed, assuming their usual positions. Donna is unaware of any local Legends regarding US Highway 70, but she does know that the cross on top of Round Mountain commemorates a band of Apache warriors who were trapped and massacred there after they attacked Tularosa. Could her phantom hitchhiker have been the spirit of one of the participants in this battle?
On the other side of the world, there is a famous Indonesian Legend, which would prove all too real for one traveler back in 2004. Candra Widodo was travelling between Jambi and Palembang on the island of Sumatra when he came face to face with what he believed to be the Kuntilanak. The Kuntilanak is said to be a vampiric female spirit, which preys mainly on young women, but has been known to attack men. He was driving late at night in March of that year on a rural stretch of highway, when he noticed a woman in the road up ahead waving him down.
Thinking she may be in distress, he began to slow his vehicle and came to a stop right beside her. In the full Moonlight, he could see a very pale, but beautiful woman standing at the side of the highway. Lowering his window, he asked her if there was a problem, but she remained silent, her expression fixed with a strange smile. Candra found this a little unsettling and as he was in the process of repeating his question, he noticed that her face was beginning to change.
He watched incredulously as she transformed from a beautiful young woman into an old, haggard creature with bulging white eyes and a mouth full of demonic teeth. Candra floored the accelerator attempting to flee the scene and leave the strange woman behind him, but almost immediately, the headlights started to flicker and the engine spluttered and almost stalled. The car began to move, but it seemed hugely underpowered, as if it was pulling off in a higher gear. When he got about 20 feet away, he could see in the rearview mirror that the woman was still standing there, waving at him as he drove away.
Her arm moved above her head as if in slow motion. Suddenly, he was overcome by a tremendous rumbling sound and the car began to shake and vibrate. Candra later said that it felt like he was in an earthquake, but the further he got from the strange woman, the rumbling dissipated, and the car soon began to pick up speed. Even after all this time, this experience is something that Candra thinks about every night before he goes to sleep. He says he'll never forget the way her face deteriorated before his eyes, or that last vision of her waving at him in the rearview mirror as he drove away. He remains convinced that what he saw that night was the Kuntilanak.
Our final story comes from Emily Dentith of New South Wales in Australia. Back in 2014, Emily and her boyfriend, Lewis, were traveling from Melbourne to Broome for a two-week holiday. This is a 43 hour journey by car, covering almost 2,500 miles, most of which cuts through the Australian Outback. This would translate to four days travel, with stopovers in Port Augusta, Alice Springs and Hall's Creek. Emily and Louis would each take turns at the wheel for five or six hour stints, whilst the other rested. On the second day of the journey, traveling along the Stuart Highway just before the couple hit Alice Springs, Emily was awoken by the sound of her boyfriend weeping to himself in the driver's seat.
His hands were clutching the wheel and his head was bent forwards resting upon it. The car's dash clock read 11:14 p.m. and she noticed that they had stopped in the middle of nowhere, with the engine still running. Lewis was startled by the sound of Emily's voice as she asked him what was going on. "It was a deer", he told her. "It was a deer, it must have been". confused, she asked him to elaborate, but he was almost inconsolable and just kept repeating himself.
Deciding that he was in no fit state to continue the journey, she drove the last 40 or so miles into Alice Springs. As time passed, Lewis seemed to calm down and as they arrived at the hotel, Emily again tried asking him what had happened. Reluctantly, he told her that he had seen something in the road. He said that the high beams had illuminated a movement in the darkness from a couple of hundred feet away, which he had first assumed was somebody walking along the highway. As they had approached, he could see that this person was extremely thin and walked with a strange gait, but when he looked at the face, he knew in that instant that it wasn't human.
It had an elongated snout and it was holding its arms or, rather, its paws out in front of it as it shambled along the highway. But it was the eyes which had frightened him to death. They were deep, black soulless orbs, which stared at him as they drove past, seeming to bore into his soul and fill him with dread.
"It was a deer", he said again and explained that they are known to rear up on their haunches and walk on hind legs from time to time. But Emily could tell by the way he said it that he was trying to convince himself more than her, especially since he knew that deer populations never ventured this far into the outback. She went on to explain that Lewis was never the same after this incident. He developed insomnia and fell into a deep depression as a result, and tragically, he would end up taking his own life in the following February.