America has a love affair with its highways. They may be the workplace of truck drivers, but since President Dwight Eisenhower created the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration), on July 29th, 1956, we’ve been enamored with our interstates and roads. The interstate system envisioned by president Eisenhower has been called, “The Greatest Public Works Project in History.” It gave our country mobility, freedom, and the opportunity to ship goods by truck almost anywhere in our nation. It also created stories and urban tales. Ghostly apparitions were seen by moonlight, eerie howls heard in the middle of the night, and tales of driver-less vehicles, hitchhikers who vanished into thin air, and roads that went nowhere became part of the American highway legend. Is any of this real? Do you believe in ghosts, because if you do… couldn’t some of them be on the road tonight when you’re driving home? In the spirit of Halloween, we explore some of America’s haunted roads of legend…
Where Are These Haunted Roads?
Highway 11, Decatur, AL
In 1934, Lonnie Stephens was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, a charge for which he was exonerated when the murderer stepped forward. Unfortunately, it was too late for the hapless Mr. Stephens. One dark night, he escaped from a chain gang, but while attempting to cross Highway 11, he was struck and killed. It’s said he’s still trying to cross the road and being struck by terrified drivers who never find a body.
I-65 Evergreen, AL
This 40-mile stretch of highway had 519 accidents, 208 injuries, and 23 deaths in a six year period from 1984 to 1990. Many believe the high rate of collision is because this road was built atop a Creek Indian burial ground. The Creek Indian Tribe was forcibly relocated from this area to a reservation in Oklahoma in the 1830’s. Hundred’s of the tribe’s members perished along the way, but they have come back to curse this road, which now desecrates their sacred grounds. Drive careful. Be very careful.
Clinton Road, NJ
It’s said if you toss a penny from the bridge, which crosses the reservoir, a boy who fell from the bridge and drowned will throw it back. What, a penny’s not enough? Do you think he’d throw back a dollar?
Highway 365, Little Rock, AR
If you pick up a young girl hitch-hiking, especially after dark in the rain, you may feel obligated to give her a ride home. Home’s not very far away, but when you arrive, you’ll find she’s vanished. If you knock on the door, you’ll learn she only tries to come home once a year… on the anniversary of her death, at the highway where you gave her a ride.
As a young man growing up in west suburban Indianapolis, we had our ghosts as well. The haunted bridge in Avon, IN, comes to mind. We didn’t really believe in ghosts, but even today, they give me goose bumps—or should I say, “ghost bumps.” So, if you’re driving in the rain on Halloween night… BOO!