America has a love affair with its highways. Even if they’re haunted highways. Since President Dwight Eisenhower created the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) on July 29th, 1956, we’ve been enamored with our interstates and roads. Many call the interstate system envisioned by President Eisenhower, 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 of haunted highways.
Ghostly apparitions shimmering in the moonlight, eerie howls heard in the middle of the night, and tales of driverless vehicles before there were self-driving vehicles. Hitchhikers who vanished into thin air and roads that went nowhere (not from Google Maps) became part of the American highway legend. Is any of this real? Do you believe in ghosts? Because if you do, could some of them be on the road tonight when you’re driving home? In the spirit of Halloween, let’s explore some of America’s haunted roads of legend.
Where Are These Haunted Highways?
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 he was struck and killed while attempting to cross Highway 11. 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 I-65 had 519 accidents, 208 injuries, and 23 deaths in a six-year period from 1984 to 1990. Many believe the high collision rate is because this road was built atop an Indiana burial ground. The Creek People were forcibly relocated from this area to a reservation in Oklahoma in the 1830s. Hundreds of the tribe’s members perished along the way. Legend claims they have come back to curse this road, which now desecrates their sacred grounds. Drive carefully. Be very careful.
Clinton Road, NJ
It’s said if you toss a penny from the bridge that 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?
“My friends and I decided to find out for ourselves what is true and what is not. We went to the bridge and threw a quarter off. Not but a minute later you hear the bloop, as if you dropped the quarter in again. The water filled with ripples and a child’s reflection appeared. I flew back to the car. That scared all of us. –Dina, West Milford.” — Weird NJ
Highway 365, Little Rock, AR
If you pick up a young girl hitchhiking, especially after dark in the rain, you may feel obligated to give her a ride home. The home’s not very far away, but she vanishes before you arrive. 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. Haunted Arkansas: The Vanishing Hitchhiker
As a young man growing up in west suburban Indianapolis, we also had our ghosts. The Avon Haunted Bridge comes to mind. We didn’t really believe in ghosts, but even today, they give me goosebumps—or should I say, “ghost bumps.” So, if you’re driving in the rain on Halloween night and are on a haunted highway… BOO!