It just isn’t Halloween without dressing up in costumes, children trick-or-treating, and scary stories told by torchlight. Everyone has a good ghost story about picking up a hitchhiker that had died years ago, or the haunted house down the road, or creepy bush that looked like a clown with a knife. It’s part of what makes this day exciting.
So strap in tight as Carquirks takes you on a journey to the scary side of cars and driving with a collection of haunted automobiles and spine-tingling driving experiences.
James Dean’s haunted Porsche 550 Spyder
Most people who know of James Dean knew that he died in his beautiful but difficult to drive Porsche 550 Spyder. This is why he affectionately called the roadster “Little Bastard”. It is said that the famous Hollywood actors’ car was so affected by the death of James Dean that it turned into a haunted automobile.
The damaged car was then purchased by the man who would build the first Batmobile for the 1960s batman TV show. After it was restored, albeit with parts borrowed from a Lotus, it gained a haunting reputation as it was involved in quite a few dangerous accidents, one of which was fatal. The car also spontaneously caught on fire while parked in a garage, and once disappeared from inside a sealed box!
Another peculiar fact around the death of James Dean is that Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy, told Dean that if he drove the Porsche he would be dead within a week. Exactly seven days after that conversation, James Dean died. Eerie, isn’t it?
Stalked for 3000 miles by a Ford F100 truck
This incident happened to a reader of the site Jalopnik back in 2008. After the website has asked its sizable readership some of the scariest things they had experienced while driving, jariten1781 responded with this spine-tingling story:
“The creepiest I had, was back in 2008 moving from Seattle to DC.
Route was down to Portland, then I84 to I80 to I76 to I70 to I270. Immediately heading out of Portland I passed an old F100 going very slow in primer black with no license plates. Cool truck I thought and didn’t really pay it any mind. I noticed about an hour later that the same truck was a couple car lengths behind me…odd. After getting back to some open roads he disappeared into the distance behind me.
First night I stopped somewhere in Idaho. Shitty cheap local motel and I’m the only one there. Wake up the next morning and parked one spot away from me is that primered F100.
Take off, continuing my trek southeast. Every single time I stop for gas, at a rest stop, or get slowed down for traffic the old Ford shows up in my rear-view mirror again. It’s bizarre.
Nearing the end of Nebraska I pull over and get gas and decide to drive one more tank then stop for the day. Pull back onto the highway and Mr. Truck is right there shadowing me again. About 30 minutes later I realize I’m too tired to get to the end of the tank and decide to stop in the next town just over the border in Iowa. As I’m getting off I see the pickup pass on carrying down the highway. Guess he has more endurance than I do.
Wake up the next morning…you know what’s coming…the damned truck is in the hotel parking lot again. Up to this point I just figured I was driving hare to his tortoise and we just happened to be making the same West-East trip. Now I had that weird light feeling in my stomach…like something was just off. I ask the clerk when turning in my keys what’s up with the truck?… when had it come in?… She says she wasn’t working last night and wasn’t sure (and also probably thought I was crazy…which maybe I was).
Anyhow, at that point I figure it must be a coincidence and this has to be a different truck. I mean there were a lot of F100s made and there’s bound to be a couple in the country that are primer black running with no plates. As I go to head out I see the truck turning out of the parking lot in the direction that leads him away from the highway. Couldn’t have been the same one from before… the guy didn’t turn in his keys so he was probably staying locally.
Get back on the highway. No truck. Run to the end of the tank stop and get gas and some snacks. Get back on…and I merge in two cars in front of a primer black F100. What…the…hell.
At that point I decide…screw it; I’m marathoning the rest of the way. It’s less than 20 hours so it shouldn’t be so bad and I don’t want to stay at another shitty motel with strange ghost truck stalking me.
The pattern continues with the truck showing up behind me every single time I take a break or get gas or get slowed in traffic. It’s dark when I get to the I70/270 split and the old headlights are glowing back on the horizon. I know it’s him. I wonder if it’s going to follow me down 270 and be parked down the street near my house the next morning when I wake up. Alas, the truck continues on 70 and I never see it again.
Looking back it was probably a confluence or coincidence… it still feels really odd to me though because it’s not like there were a lot of F100s doing interstate runs in 2008. I also realized that I never got a good look at the driver. Not that there was no driver, but in my memories all I see is an indistinct human shaped thing driving an old truck that stalked me for 3000 miles.”
The Cursed Graf & Stift Double Phaeton of Franz Ferdinand
World War I was second largest conflict to engulf our planet costing more than 17 million lives and untold billions in property damage. Most people know that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Bosnian anarchist was the match that lit the powder keg. The story here concerns the car that Ferdinand and his wife were being driven in, a 1910 Graf & Stift Double Phaeton.
The car, now safely displayed at the War History Museum in Vienna since 1926, had a downright scary 12 year history of ownership. The first person to own the car after the Archduke, an Austrian general named Potiorek, went insane while riding in the car through Vienna. Its next owner, a governor of what was then Yugoslavia, had four accidents and lost an arm before he sold the car to a doctor friend, who was crushed by the car six months later after it flipped over while driving.
A German army captain bought the car next and within nine days of ownership, met with a fatal accident while trying to avoid crashing into two pedestrians, who also died. A Serbian farmer who bought it afterwards didn’t even get the opportunity to drive it and was squashed by the car while it was being towed. The last owner, before being donated to the War History Museum, was a Romanian man who suddenly spun out of control on his way to a wedding with five friends. None survived the resulting crash. Spooky!
The jumping Renault Megane of Cape Town
In 2004, a neighbourhood in Cape Town, South Africa was suddenly awoken in the middle of the night when a Renault Megane started all by itself and started jumping backwards on an upslope! Nine people, including two police officers, apparently heard the Megane’s engine start before it jumped backwards twice. At first they thought someone was trying to steal the car but the car was found to be locked, none of the windows had been broken, and even the handbrake was engaged!
Renault later released a statement blaming a rusty starter cable for the car starting by itself but were at a loss to explain the revving engine, as if someone, or something, had their foot on the gas…
The mysterious Bus No. 7 of London
During the 1930s in the North Kensington area of London, there were reports of a phantom bus running around. In 1934, a motorist suddenly swerved off the road while driving along Cambridge Gardens and died a horrible death when his car hit a wall and exploded in flames. When the police started asking questions about the incident, many stepped forward and offered a potential reason for the driver’s demise; a very real-looking red London double-decker, carrying the line number 7.
There have been many reported instances of the phantom bus. A report to the Kensington Police read, “I was turning the corner and saw a bus tearing towards me. The lights of the top and bottom decks and the headlights were full on but I could see no crew or passengers. I yanked my steering wheel hard over and mounted the pavement, scraping the roadside wall. The bus just vanished.”
A local transport official even claimed that he had seen the vehicle draw up to the local bus depot in the early hours of the morning, stand with engine on for a moment, and then disappear.
The Black Volga of Russia
The Volga, produced by GAZ (Gorki Automobiljni Zavod, in English: Gorky Automobile Factory) from 1956 to 1970 in the Soviet Union, was a limo for the Soviet elite. During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a black Volga with white rims and curtains that was feared above all others. Some claimed it was owned by priests others, by nuns. Some people swore it was driven by Satan worshippers while others claimed the devil himself was behind the wheel. Whoever drove it, the rumours concerning the dreaded limousine said it abducted children and killed anyone who approached it, sometimes instantly, sometimes the victim would mysteriously drop dead exactly 24 hours later.
The story of the black Volga wasn’t limited to Russia, but spread to Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and even Mongolia.
Phantom vintage Austin of the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye has a phantom vintage car rumoured to be a 1934 Austin. Numerous sightings of this car have been reported, including one by a local policeman and even The Scotsman published an article about it.
A well-known wildlife author, Seton Gordon, wrote of his experience in 1959, and was published in The Scots Magazine. He described how he and his wife were driving down a narrow road in Scotland when they saw the lights of an oncoming vehicle and pulled into a passing place to allow the car to pass by. Astonishingly, the car never arrived, nor could they see any roads it may have driven down.
The ghost woman of Tamil Nadu
Some called it a hoax while others genuinely believed Tamil star Parotta Soori’s experience with the paranormal. Captured on video just a few months ago, Soori and his buddy were driving down a completely unlit section of the National Highway 83 in Tamil Nadu, India at 2:30am when the car screeched to a halt at the appearance of a ghostly woman in a red sari.
The panicked actor begs his friend to just carry on and even run over the eerie figure. The last thing seen is the red sari draped over the windscreen of the car that disappears into the night. Watch the video and be ready to hug your loved ones tight.