These ghostly travelers are found in folklore and ghost stories across the globe dating back to the days of traveling by horseback. Today, these entities are seen by unsuspecting motorists as they traverse their miles by motorized vehicles instead of horse and cart. They have been seen along city streets, deserted highways and vacant and curvy back roads. Most of the time the event occurs in the evening or late at night, many times while drivers are traveling solo for some reason. You never know when it may happen to you but one thing is for certain, it will leave you puzzled and doubting your vision.
Phantom hitchhikers - the mere description can cause the solo traveler to become uneasy. What it is about a ghostly walker at night that makes us so leery? Most tend to vaporize into thin air with no harm being done to the driver. Many reports tend to happen in the same location and feature the same subject such as the one that occurs just outside of Elkins.
Along a stretch of road, the young girl appears to be alone and a bit forlorn looking. She sits near a bridge and upon a large stone. Many drivers stop to offer her aid that she readily accepts. She remains silent but gives the address of her home, which is in the city limits of Elkins. When the driver turns to ask the girl the address again, the girl has vanished into thin air. Some drivers remember the address and a few have actually stopped and knocked on the door to inquire about the girl. On one instance, a gray haired lady is said to have told the driver that a young girl in the family was killed in a car accident many years ago. Of course, this is probably where urban legend enters our little ghost story as it is difficult to prove this occurred without tracking down the driver. Nonetheless, it has occurred to a few drivers and worth re-telling. She is known as the Phantom Hitchhiker of US 33. The stretch of the road that is described in this tale has changed through the years as the road changed. County Road 151 is the correct location of the stretch of road which runs between Belington and Elkins and near Dead Man's Curve.
Another unusual sighting is that of a dark clothed figure occurs south of Summersville and on US 19. The figure tends to walk on the south side of the road and seems to disappear into thin air as you drive past. On studying this unusual sighting, I spoke with several who had spotted the entity. All commented on the fact that he was tall and was dressed in dark clothes. Locals have told me of a horrific car accident that occurred near this stretch of road. Could this be one of the lost souls tied to this highway misfortune?
Most undoubtedly, the most popular Phantom Hitchhiker in America would be Resurrection Mary. Mary has been seen outside of Chicago by quite a few travelers. Mary's story has graced documentaries, a move and even a song. Since the 1930s, several men driving along Archer Avenue near Resurrection Cemetery have reported picking up a young woman hitchhiker. This young lady is dressed a bit formally in a white party dress and sits quietly. When the driver nears the Resurrection Cemetery, the young woman asks to be let out, whereupon she disappears into the cemetery.
Who or what are these solo ghostly hitchhikers-we do not know. What I can guarantee is that if it happens to you... well... consider yourself forewarned. And besides, didn't your mother warn you about picking up hitchhikers?