While this site's contents are primarily concerned with phantom figures and their peculiarly consistent behaviour of throwing themselves before passing vehicles, I am of course aware that there are other 'road ghost' cases that involve other forms - such as ghostly vehicles and phantom animals. 

These may or may not be part and parcel of the same phenomenon. Certainly those instances in which the phantom vehicle (which is often unoccupied) has appeared as if on a collision course with the witness' own bear comparison to the collision events involving phantom jaywalkers. 

Therefore, I have been persuaded to include some of these accounts, which perhaps further underline my main argument - which is to say that, if accepted as 'real', these events have less to do with the direct survival of human consciousness as a 'ghost' than something else at play...

 

 

PHANTOM VEHICLES 

Loch Awe Road (Argyle & Bute, Scotland)

Saddle to Ash Flat Road (Arkansas, USA)

Bell Lane, Enfield (London)

A3 Burpham (Surrey, UK)

M4/A48 Swansea-Carmarthen

BLACK DOGPHANTOM BLACK DOGS

PHANTOM BLACK DOGS

Blyth Road, Worksop (Nottinghamshire)

Smarden-Tenterden (Kent)

PHANTOM ANIMALS

Grantham (Lincolnshire)

Bryn-y-maen

ROAD GHOST - RELATED

Oklahoma City, (Oklahoma, USA)

MYSTERIOUS ACCIDENT SPOTS

Bromyard (Herefordshire (UK))

PHANTOMS ON HORSEBACK

Eckington

A640 Hudderfield-Rochdale (Gtr Manchester)

 

PHANTOM VEHICLES

B832 Oban to Loch Awe road.  © Len & Mandy Ross.Loch Awe Road

Location: B832 Loch Awe Road (Argyll & Bute, Scotland) 

Date/Time: 1972.    MAP

Ghost Car

Len and Mandy Ross are founder members of Ghosts & Hauntings UK. "Although GHUK members and its founders witness all kinds of paranormal phenomena it is rare for a founder member to report a sighting first hand. That is without being on an investigation," said Len.

A ghostly car was witnessed by Mandy and Len as they were driving along the B832 Loch Awe road. 

Mandy says, "We had had a report of a car that disappears along the B832. We live along this road and have kept a look out on many occasions to verify the report. Without much success." She continued; "We were on our way to Oban to get some supplies when we saw a car coming towards us. 

As it is a one track road, Len pulled over to let it pass. "We took our eyes off of it for about 5 seconds while we lit a cigarette. But nothing went past.

"It could not have passed us in this space of time as it would have had to travel at a very fast speed to pass us in five seconds and we would have heard it. The window was open."

"You can see from the pictures that the car could not have turned off of the road anywhere."   © Len & Mandy Ross.Len added. "It had nowhere to go! There were no turn-offs from this part of the road and there was absolutely no way for it to pass us without us seeing it. It`s totally different experiencing a sighting when you are not looking for it. We were totally surprised. I did not even have my camera, but then, why would I take a picture of a car coming towards me? Now we will have to see if we can find its origin. We will keep you posted".

Update:

"We have since discovered that a fatal accident happened at the spot where the car was seen."

http://www.ghostsandhauntings.co.uk
 
Ghosts And Hauntings UK Ltd
Registered Office: Ardchonnell Cottage, Dalmally, Argyll, Scotland, PA33 1BW
Directors. Len Ross, Amanda Ross, Helen Gardner, Bernard Taylor.

 

Saddle to Ash Flat Road

Location: nr. Ash Flat, Arkansas (USA)

Date/Time: July 2000.  1.45 p.m.   MAP

The following account, which was submitted to this site by Barbara of Orlando, involved her eldest son, Rodman 'Chuck' Seidle (33). Chuck's account is unusual and welcome in that it provides a prospective 'bridge' between the pedestrian road ghost cases and those involving driverless phantom vehicles.

The road from Saddle to Ash Flat, Arkansas is described as a very winding road, with hardly any houses along the way. The area is secluded; the only occupants of the road are likely to be an occasional local resident or deer.

Chuck's experience - incredibly - was a daily one, around the first week of July. It happened at about the same time of day at a given spot on the road from Saddle to Ash Flat  - usually on the return journey after taking his girlfriend to work.

Every time he came to a particularly bad curve, he saw a white car coming toward him. Behind the wheel was an old woman. She would look right at him and smile, before turning the wheel toward him. There was never an impact. 

On one occasion it happened on the outbound leg, while his girlfriend was with him. She saw only the look on Chuck's face as he swerved at the spot, almost putting their car in a ditch. 

The vehicle he could only identify as white and of a 1960s style - his attention fixed more on the woman herself than her car.

Understandably, Chuck became very upset at the repeated encounters, fearing they might signify that his 'time was up' - a portent of his own death.

However, after he finally spoke about his experiences to members of his family, advice was passed on to him from a Great Aunt regarding such 'lost spirits', who said to bless them and send them on their way with the words "Go in Peace". The next time it happened, Chuck did so, and that was the last occasion he saw her.

Source(s):Submitted to Roadghosts.com by witness's mother.

Does anyone else have any news regarding similar encounters to Chuck Seidle's along this lonely stretch of Arkansas road? Please e-mail any information to this site.

 

Bell Lane, Enfield

Location: Enfield, North London (UK)

Date/Time: 28 June  1944. 9.45 p.m.  MAP

On his cycle-ride home one June evening in 1944, David Hanchet had just reached the junction with Bell Lane, in Enfield's Old Town, when he saw an old-fashioned black coach and its team of horses drive straight through a hedge that bordered some nearby allotments on his left. The coach was totally silent, and surrounded by an electric-blue light. It ran parallel with the hedge for a while before disappearing through the gates of an old garage. The coachman had a tall black hat, with a whip at his side. Several people were inside. The coach has reputedly been seen on a number of occasions along Bell Lane, and is by legend carrying the infamous 'hanging judge', George Jeffreys.

Source(s): http://www.tangledforest.com/europe/ukcoachx.html

 

Burpham

Location: A3, Burpham, near Guildford (Surrey) (UK)

Date/Time: Wednesday 11 December 2002. 7.20 p.m.  MAP

Police made a "spine-chilling" discovery in December 2002, after motorists reported seeing a car swerve off the A3 in Surrey with its headlights blazing. 

After receiving the reports of the 'accident' on 11 December, police officers investigating at the scene at Burpham, near Guildford, found a wrecked Vauxhall Astra buried in the undergrowth. The driver was dead - and, paradoxically, had clearly been so for some time. The body was badly decomposed, little more than a skeleton. 

Detectives were reported to be trying to unravel the mystery behind the reports of a car crash that led them to the discovery of the remains, which they were later able to identify as those of Christopher Chandler, 21, of Isleworth. Mr Chandler, who had been sought in connection with an alleged robbery, had been reported missing by his brother David after last being seen in London on 16 July.

Surrey Police believe the crash happened in July and that the body had lain undiscovered for five months, close to but invisible from the busy dual carriageway of the A3. 

Some motorists were now questioning whether they had seen a ghostly re-enactment of the original crash in July. 

A police spokesman said: "We believe the car left the road and ended up in the ditch during July. It doesn't appear that any other vehicles were involved. The car was discovered as a result of a report from members of the public who thought they saw a car's headlights veering off the road."

Source(s): ThisisLondon.co.uk - News and city: 'A3 crash skeleton is 'wanted robber'', by Adam Blenford and Chris Millar, Evening Standard, 13 December 2002. 

 

Swansea-Carmarthen

Location: M4/A48 between Swansea and Carmarthen (South Wales (UK))

Date/Time: Summer. c.1991.  MAP

Submitted to the Fortean Times Message Board, 'Dashwood''s account is presented here verbatim:

"One Summer about twelve years ago my mother and I went to visit some friends of the family in West Wales. We were driving along the motorway/dual carriageway between Swansea and Carmarthen; it was mid-morning and mid-week and the traffic was really light.

"On one long empty straight, we spotted a car up ahead in the distance. It was an old but immaculate grey Vauxhall Chevette travelling at an incredibly slow pace (well under 50 mph). As we overtook them, we looked across at the car and saw an elderly couple sitting very upright inside - him in a flat cap and her with a headscarf - there was a rosary or lucky charm hanging from the rear-view mirror and several brightly coloured knitted blankets on the back seat and parcel shelf. They looked as if they had driven straight out of the early 60s and (by their stern expressions) weren't too pleased about it. I remember we had a bit of a laugh about how out of place they looked.

"About ten minutes later (we had passed only one or two more cars) we spotted the same old Chevette up ahead, driving slowly as you like. We thought it was odd but assumed they must have passed us without us noticing. We overtook them again.

"A little further on, we overtook a convoy of about four slow-moving cars and caravans and tucked back into the inside lane to find the old grey Chevette in front of us yet again!!! This time, we realised there was absolutely no way they could have over taken us without us noticing. Not a single car had passed us. Besides, their average speed was a good twenty or thirty mph slower than ours. We hadn't passed any turn-offs or roads joining the motorway in the interim, so it was hard to see how they had possibly jumped in front of us.

"Puzzled, we overtook the elderly couple and soon left them behind us. The road ahead was clear. That was until we got closer to Carmarthen, when the Chevette appeared again. We didn't know whether to laugh or feel freaked out and I made a point of checking it was the same car, with the same couple inside. It was... the same rosary, flat cap and headscarf.

"Perhaps the answer is simple - there were dozens of identical couples in identical cars travelling on the road that day? I honestly don't know."

Source(s): 'Ghost car or just plain bloody weird?',by 'Dashwood',  Fortean Times Message Board > Specialist Topics > Ghosts > Phantom hitchhikers or road ghosts; posted 16/01/2003.



PHANTOM BLACK DOGS

Blyth Road, Worksop

Location: Worksop, Nottinghamshire (UK)

Date/Time: 11 May 1991. 2.14 a.m.  MAP

Victoria Rice-Heaps had been visiting her boyfriend in Worksop, and was on her way home when she had her unusual experience. It was a journey she had made 'thousands of times'. She wasn't particularly tired, having slept earlier in the evening. Making her way out along the Blyth Road, she soon left the comforting glow of the streetlights for the dark country roads beyond. 

After a mile or so, near to Hodsock Priory, Victoria saw illuminated in the beam of her headlights about 150 yards [137m] ahead "two red dots". 

"I slowed right down to a crawl," she said, "as I saw a huge black dog. It looked like something from hell! It had very shiny fur and a short coat; the nearest thing I've seen to it in size was a Great Dane, but it had a good 18in [46cm] over a dog of that breed. Its ears were erect and it appeared to be dragging something quite large across the road."

Victoria had lived with dogs all her life, but had seen nothing like this creature. 

As she waited for the dog to get out of the way of her Fiat Panda, the headlights of another vehicle announced its approach from the opposite direction. The driver of the red Montego Estate, evidently seeing her at a standstill, pulled up and wound down his window to ask if anything was wrong. Victoria, having wound down her own window, asked the man if he could see the dog in front of her car. 

"At this moment he shouted 'Oh, Jesus!' and sped off into the night. I looked in front of me again and to my joy and amazement the creature had vanished. I drove home as fast as I could. I did a little research later and found a tumulus nearby, a river and an old boundary as well as the priory."

Source(s): 'Black Shuck Seen' (letters), Fortean Times, issue no. 154 (January 2002), pp.52-53.

 

Smarden-Tenterden, Kent

Location: Kent  (UK)

Date/Time: c.1995-6. October. 11.45 p.m.  MAP

At the time of his experience, James Sanderson lived in Tenterden in Kent. he and three friends used to regularly drink in Smarden, which is a few miles from the infamous village of Pluckley. The route they took on the way home was a single-track road which passed sporadic houses and farms. It was at around 11.45 p.m. one October night, in the suitably eerie conditions of patchy fog [to which I can attest lies here in recurrent banks across low-lying land]

"We had reached straight bit of road and ran into a thick bank of fog, when a shape in the middle of the road forced us to slow down. A huge black dog was stood there, side on. If I had to guess I would say it was similar to very thick-set Labrador. We had slowed to a walking pace then stopped. The car we were in was a Mini and it was level with the window on the driver's side as it walked along beside us and towards the back of the car, at which point Jane, the driver, hit the gas!"

Their immediate thought was that a farmer had irresponsibly allowed his dog to run loose. On later reflection, however, James remembered stories from his childhood in the Isle of Man concerning the Moddey Dhoo, and reconsidered his sighting in the light of the Black Dog of legend. "I understand that they are not always of bad omen, but can be the guardians of water ways and rivers and can appear where rivers used to flow (as I believe was the case in my experience)."

Source(s): 'It Happened to Me', a regular feature formed of readers' personal experiences on the Fortean Times website, www.forteantimes.com.

 

PHANTOM ANIMALS

Grantham

Location: The Four-wheel, Grantham (Lincolnshire (UK))

Date/Time: 1972   MAP

Bob Harvet owned an MG Midget. It was 1972, and Bob new the roads around Grantham pretty well, including those named after 18th & 19th Century stagecoaches and carrier carts. There was The Ramper, The High Dyke, and The Four Wheel. 

According to several of the locals, the Four Wheel was said haunted. At the time Bob was young, just 22, and disbelieving "in that sort of nonsense." Besides, it was the best route home.

One night he was on his way home from the local folk club, and the road was bound with fog, which made progress slow. Bob discovered that if he got out of the car, the fog was only chest-high.

"It was a weird, cold night. Standing there with fog up to my chest and a starry sky above me, I had no idea exactly where I was and could see only a few half-familiar farm buildings sailing this sea of fog. As I stood there I heard the weirdest sound, A sort of distant howl. From the trees above me a dozen rooks clattered into the air and headed away, and an owl rose from the fog and shot off in the opposite direction. Then silence. For several minutes. After that I started to hear the slow, steady, beat of hoof-beats. They came closer and closer, apparently coming along the road in the direction I had just driven."

The sound became louder and clearer until Bob felt they were upon him, then suddenly the sound changed as if they had broken into a gallop, and it swept past him. The fog remained undisturbed, but the sounds continued along the road ahead of him.

By now very cold, Bob got back into his car and started the engine to get the heater working. A few minutes later he heard snuffling noises, and turned the engine off. The car then began to rock as if a pack of animals were rubbing against it, like a flock of sheep. Bob reminds us that an MG is an open-topped car, and he saw nothing to account for the sounds. Then the sounds stopped and all was still.

Bob then turned the car around and went back up the hill to Grantham and booked into the George Hotel for the night. Since then, he has driven along the same road 'a thousand times', with no repetition. 

" When I asked the elderly folk about the haunting they were less than forthcoming, I suppose because I'd been so dismissive before. But one of them did say that it was supposed to be haunted by a headless horseman, or a carriage with a headless driver. But that's standard stuff for haunted roads, and he didn't seem to know much about it at all."

Source(s): Mysterymag.com

 

Bryn-y-maen

Location: (B5113?) Bryn-y-maen, 3 miles south of Colwyn Bay (Conwy (North Wales))

Date/Time: Not Specified.  MAP   MAP (Zoom)

Following the appearance of his own story in Richard Holland's Wales of the Unexpected, Mr A N Foulkes of Deganwy wrote to Mr Holland with an acquaintance's strange experience in a dip on a back road near Bryn-y-maen, some 3 miles south of Colwyn Bay.

 

The witness, who is not named, but said by Mr Foulkes to be "very stoic and unimaginative" was going to work via the back roads on account that his car wasn't taxed. It was early; dawn was just breaking. As he drove into the dip in the road, "all of a sudden, this huge white horse flew straight over the hedge. I thought it must crash on my bonnet - it filled the windscreen! 

"I stood on the brake," he said. "The car spun around, facing the way I had come, the engine cut out, but there was no bang. Somehow it missed me - in the split second I had to brake, it vanished. I know not where it could have gone. I shook with fear..."

Later, Mr Foulkes heard a similar encounter from a former work colleague, whose son and his girlfriend had encountered the horse when on their way to Betws yn Rhos. As they entered the same dip, the large white horse leapt over the hedge before them, and seemed headed for a collision with their car. The girl screamed as her boyfriend slammed on the brakes, again slewing the car around. But there was no sign of an impact.

As so often is the case, a story quickly came to light to provide a possible 'explanation' for the apparition - and from Mr Foulkes himself. He said a large equine skull had been found some years back when nearby road repairs were carried out. "This," Mr Foulkes quite sensibly says, "I cannot confirm."

Richard Holland points out alternative 'explanations', in the stable of spectral horses of Welsh ghostlore - such as the white horse with blood clots on its shoulders said to haunt a lane near Llanymynech on the Shropshire border; and the Celtic tales of mysterious horses that would gallop across the landscape, - which in Wales was known as the Ceffyl Dær.

Source(s): 'Terrified by an equine phantom', by Richard Holland, icNorthWalesTM, , , in association with the Daily Post, 8 April 2004.

In his article, Richard appeals for other Welsh accounts of the supernatural. You can send your story to: Richard Holland, Wales of the Unexpected, 2 Alyn Bank Cottages, Llong, Mold, Flintshire CH7 4JR - but, please, if any involve road ghosts of any kind,  please to email any information to Roadghosts.com.

 

ROAD GHOSTS - RELATED

Oklahoma City 

Location: Puckett's wrecker yard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (USA)  

Date/Time: 17 July 2002.     MAP 

Perhaps the biggest mystery of road ghosts is why we do not see vastly more cases than reported today. If there is anything to the time-honoured connection between ghostly appearances and sudden or violent death so often made in these cases, then our modern roads should be fairly teeming with ghosts - and far more randomly distributed than appears to actually be the case. For this and many other reasons (see Introduction, for instance) this site has looked deeper than traditional interpretations of ghosts as the tragically slain spirits of our dearly departed, toward the archetypal figures that inhabit our folklores and collective psyche which appear to bear far more similarity to the characters and their habits as experienced by modern-day travellers.

Of course, there is always an exception to any 'rule', and so it is perhaps no surprise to come across a case in which the evidence points again toward tragic cause.* The real surprise in the case that follows is that the evidence takes the form of a video sequence captured on a breaker yard's surveillance camera.

Still from Puckett yard security footage, as first shown on Oklahoma's NewsChannel Four.The story first came to the public's attention when Oklahoma's NewsChannel Four broadcast the footage on 24 July 2002. The report claimed that employees at the Puckett's wrecker yard in southwest Oklahoma City (SW29), believed they had been visited by the ghost of woman who had been involved in a fatal accident.

The figure was first seen by overnight dispatcher Kathy Henley, who watched live on her monitors on as it circled around amongst the cars. The image was captured on the company's security cameras. A security man was alerted and went out to investigate, but there was nothing there. Investigators' later efforts found no natural reason to account for the image, such as reflected light effects or hoaxing. Those who have been able to study the form on the tape say it looks like a woman in overalls.

The yard held three cars that had been involved in fatal road accidents that night. One paranormal investigator had speculated that the image might represent one of the fatalities searching for its car. Inquiry quickly settled on a 33-year-old woman by the name of Tracy Martin, who had died on 30 June from injuries sustained in a crash. Tracy's truck had been removed from the same area just three hours prior to the sighting on 17 July on the instruction of her insurance company.

After seeing the footage, Tracy's father, brother and husband were said to be convinced that the videotaped image shows Tracy in her favoured overalls, returning 18 days later to let them know that she was okay.

Tracy's husband, Brent, has shown the videotape to their twins in the hope of comforting the children, who he is now faced with rearing alone.

A trust fund has been established for Tracy Martin's children. Donations can be made to Rick Nicholas c/o Debbie McKee, 617 NW 21st, Moore, OK, 73160.mbers of 

To me, the image is somewhat reminiscent of the Michelin Man, for anyone who remembers that - the white inflatable advertising icon of Michelin, the French tyre company (rather apt, actually, in the context of a car breaker's service); or something that might appear in Ghostbusters. However, you are invited to judge for yourself:

The video footage from KFOR.com (Oklahoma's News Channel 4) can be viewed here.

* And yet I find it interesting that the wrecker's yard should bear the name of Puckett's. Puck-ett's. Puck, of course (or Robin Goodfellow) is the famous Shakespearean character - the mischievous, shape-shifting elemental (faerie) who is known by similar names throughout the folklore of Europe. Visit Puck Through the Ages for more information.

Source(s)/Links:

ABC30.com: Is It A Ghost? 

Anomalies Network - Family convinced woman's 'ghost' is image on tape

Puckett's apparition: ghost or not?

Ghost Tracker / Videos - Oklahoma City surveillance videotape ...

Puckett's apparition: ghost or not?

Family convinced woman's 'ghost' is image on tape

Bromyard

Location: A465 Bromyard, Herefordshire (UK)  

Date/Time: various.     MAP 

Villagers of a Herefordshire were said to be blaming a ghost for a series of accidents after as many as 26 drivers had crashed at the same spot on a country road within 18 months.

Locals of Bromyard lay the blame on a road accident victim who died on the A465 more than 60 years ago. Some motorists had reported losing control of their vehicles after feeling their steering wheels pulled from their grip. 

Checks on the road camber, speed checks, and improved road markings have have failed to stop the accidents. 

At a subsequent meeting at the Crown and Sceptre pub in Bromyard, County councillor Richard James was approached by a man who said he was a psychic. He told the councillor, "Don't worry, no-one will die there". He related that a woman had died on the road in the 1920s or 1930s after a struggle with the steering wheel.

Neil Redding, of Hereford, lost control of his car on the road and crashed through the fence in July 2002. "The wheels wouldn't react for a second or so," he said. "I don't know what it was as I wasn't going fast by any means - 99% of the time it would never have happened. I couldn't believe it. The farmer turned up and said 'not another one!' I wouldn't say it was anything weird though."

The clerk to the parish council in Stoke Lacy, Carole Surman, is reported to have called in Reverend Keith Crouch. She said, "'I can't understand it. There are no skid marks... people roll their cars but no one ever gets hurt and it's always in exactly the same place. Until we know what's causing these accidents we can't stop them from happening."

BBC NEWS England: 'Ghost mystery' of accident black spot, Saturday 26 October 2002

 

                               PHANTOMS ON HORSEBACK

Eckington

Location: Moss Valley, between Eckington and Ridgeway (Derbyshire)  

Date/Time: 24 August 2002.  MAP  MAP (zoom)  

Repeat a path through the landscape, and it will become a downtrodden trail; with increased use, a trackway. Eventually, it may become a road. The distinction between a 'road ghost' and other ghosts experienced in the landscape - in woodland, on hilltops, along water courses, and so forth - may therefore be a moot one, the higher incidence of the former more a function of potential witness numbers. People are less likely to be out and off the 'beaten track' in the after dark hours, unless they are lost. Having said that, we can recognise that roads and other conduits of human travel (we might even include railways, even vessels themselves, - aircraft and boats as well as land vehicles - all of which can be similarly 'haunted') are, like their natural counterparts, liminal - that is, transitional or boundary - features, where the known meets the unknown, and the unwary human mind encounters mystery.

So was the case for two friends, Cath and Carol. On 24 August 2002, the two women were taking their regular walk with their dogs along the woodland paths through the Moss valley, when Cath noticed high in the trees above them what she at first took to be a white carrier bag fluttering in the branches. As she looked at it, it floated toward the ground, and Carol then saw it too.

The 'bag' then began to expand rapidly, and took on the developing shape of  a woman seated on a large white horse. The total apparition was around eight feet tall. As the two startled women looked at it, it began to sway to and fro, then glided around a bend and vanished from view.

Cath and Carol decided to follow, but when they reached the spot the combined figure had vanished, they realised there was no bend in the path there. In place of any sign of the apparition there was a smell like rotten eggs (hydrogen sulphide), which seemed to follow them along the path, disappearing then reappearing in different parts of the woods. Unusually, It seems their dogs were total unaffected by the event.

Source(s): 'The Moss Valley Ghost', Mysterymag.com

A similar form (that was actually photographed by a witness and subsequently shown on the popular American show Sightings) - a classically white, vaporous apparition (dubbed 'Casper') has been seen in the woods and along the shoreline of 'Ghost Island' within the Chippewa Flowage, near Hayward, Sawyer County, northern Wisconsin (USA). The ghost(s) have been attributed to the flooding of the island's historic cemetery when the Chippewa river was dammed in the 1920s. 

 

Rochdale-Huddersfield

Location: A640 Huddersfield-Rochdale road (nr. Oldham, Greater Manchester)  

Date/Time: Autumn 1968. After 1.00 a.m.  MAP  MAP (zoom)  

In 1968, Philip Clay (now 74) was a police officer with the West Riding Constabulary, attached to the Road Traffic Division at Huddersfield. His base of operation was the village of Uppermill, with his beat taking in the Yorkshire moors from the Huddersfield Borough boundary to the Lancashire boundary at Saddleworth.  

This night was a quiet one. Philip was working alone, so all being well, he decided to visit Huddersfield Divisional HQ to kill an hour or so chatting over a cup of tea with the night reserve man. 

Philip left there at around 1.00 a.m., and with some time still to go until the end of his shift, he decided to return to Uppermill 'the long way round', via the A640 moorland road towards Denshaw and the Pennines. He recalls it was a beautiful night. The moon was full, bathing the bleak, lonely expanses of the Yorkshire Moors with its silvery light.

The loneliness of the route didn't bother Philip. "At 18 stone, I was big enough to stand up for myself and I'd spent many hours patrolling the moors. I was one of the first officers on the scene when the body of young John Kilbride, a victim of the Moors Murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, was found."

About a mile past the Nont Sarah's Hotel, at the start of the lonely 12 miles of Buckstone's moor before Denshaw, Philip suddenly saw four horses approaching, three with riders. What on earth were they doing at this time of night?', he thought. "They were riding in single file and looked very strange indeed. The first two riders were dressed as old-fashioned cavaliers, with velvet coats and hats, long swords and pistols. The third wore peasant clothing, and the fourth horse was laden with parcels."

Philip stared at the group as he passed them. He turned around as soon as he could, and drove past them again, but they took no notice. Philip observed that it was unusual for people to ignore a police car. He speculated that they might be on their way home from a fancy-dress party. He drove past them for a third time. Riders on the moors out after dark would usually carry stirrup lights. These people carried none, and were in danger of being knocked over. Philip decided to have a word with them.

As he drew level with them, the leader raised a hand and touched the brim of his hat, as if in greeting. Philip was suddenly terrified. "I can't put my finger on it but there was something strange and inhuman about the men. I put my foot down and sped away."

At home, Philip work up his wife Mary to tell her what he'd seen. At first she thought he was joking - until she saw the look on his face. 

The next day, he told his colleagues about it, wondering if there had been any other reports. There hadn't. Philip even rang the Huddersfield Examiner and asked if anyone had reported the horsemen. "As I was rather ashamed of the way I had made my escape I substituted an unknown motorist to be the craven coward who had fled the scene." A journalist subsequently investigated, but came up with nothing to account for Philip's sighting.

"I'd worked on a gruesome murder inquiry, " said Philip, "but this really shot my nerves to pieces. I didn't believe in ghosts. Now I'm not so sure."

Source(s): 'Our Haunted Highways', Take a Break's Fate & Fortune magazine, February 2004, pp.26-28; 'The Buckstones Ghosts', by Phil Clay, www.mysterymag.com (taken from Philip's account by the same title on the Saddleworth White Rose Society website); 'The Day A Policeman Fled Buckstones' Ghost Riders', by Jenny Parkin, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 12 September 2003 (reproduced at www.ghosts-uk.net). 

The Mysterymag/Saddleworth White Rose Society version, by Philip himself, contains some interesting and possibly telling elaborations over the Fate & Fortune version, or the hybrid account offered above. In it, Philip admits that his conversation with the night reserve man at Huddersfield had turned to ghosts, the supernatural and UFOs. Furthermore, a while later, when crossing the moor, the eerie moonlit surroundings prompted memories of his favourite poem from his school days, 'The Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes:

"The wind was a torrent of Darkness among the gusty trees,

The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over, the purple moor,

And the highwayman came riding, riding, riding,

And the highwayman cane riding up to the old inn door.

 

"He'd a French cocked hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,

A coat of claret velvet and breaches of brown doe skin,

They fitted with never a wrinkle, his boots were up to his thigh,

And he rode with a jewelled twinkle, his pistol buts a twinkle,

His rapier hilt a twinkle, under the jewelled sky."

 

It was in this frame of mind, and with his headlights switched back to sidelights to enjoy the ambience, when he saw the figures approaching. "As they got closer," said Philip, " the second verse of the poem came vividly back to me as the first two riders fitted the description to a "T"." One has to wonder how big a part Philip's primed mind played either in generating the encounter, or shaping his reaction to the unexpected sight of figures.

 

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