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On the Road with: When Ghosts Attack

5 of America’s Haunted HighwaysFoggy Forest Tunnel

At one time or another, you’ve probably found yourself driving along a desolate road at night. And, despite the high beams and blaring tunes, you might have found yourself a bit spooked—if only for a moment. Maybe it’s for good reason. Many road travelers have reported seeing strange lights, phantom cars or trucks, and disappearing hitchhikers or other mournful apparitions along this country’s highways and byways.

Travel with us along just a few of the routes that seem jammed with spirit traffic. And be sure to travel along with Destination America Sunday nights at 10 E/P, when its series, When Ghosts Attack, takes you across the country and into the lives of people who have—quite literally—experienced the force of the supernatural.

US Routes 2/2A in Maine

Most folks who drive up through northern Maine toward Canada take Interstate 95. But there was a time when Routes 2 and 2A were the way to go. Back in the day, many truckers could give you a full rundown of the fatal accidents on these winding and then heavily trafficked roads—especially 2A through Haynesville Woods. In the 1960s, one hitchhiker’s account of these trucker tales even ended up as lyrics to a song titled, “A Tombstone Every Mile.” Of course, where there’s tragedy, there’s usually a ghost or two—along Route 2A, they would be a distraught new bride and a sad little girl.

State Route 69 in Connecticut

Follow Route 69 between Burlington and Bristol, and you’ll eventually come to the corner of Milford Street and Scoville Road—and the Lamson Corner Cemetery. Some say this burial ground has victims of a small pox outbreak. Others say a man hanged himself in the nearby woods. Regardless, there have been various mysterious sightings along the road here, among them a soldier, a horse and carriage, and orbs and strange lights around and within the cemetery. Burlington also has the Center Cemetery on Upson Road, famous for its Green Lady, an apparition, shrouded in green mist, of a Seventh-Day Adventist who died in a blinding snowstorm in the early 1800s.

US Route 491 in Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico

The Devil’s Highway, so called because it once had the numerical designation 666, runs almost 195 miles between Monticello, Utah, and Gallup, New Mexico, through Colorado in the Four Corners region. Along various stretches, drivers have reported encounters with everything from a sorrowful young spirit girl to an evil phantom semi-truck (or an equally menacing black sedan) to tire-shredding supernatural hounds and shape-shifting Native Americans. Some people have also reported “missing” time during their trip; others have simply been reported missing. The lore goes back a while, and whether you believe any of it or not, it’s probably best to stay particularly alert while driving this route—day or night.

State Routes 17 and 152 in California

Two highways in the vicinity of California’s central coast are reportedly haunted. The ghost of a Native American man has been seen along Route 17, between San Jose and Santa Cruz. Perhaps he’s a shadow of the days when the main route in the area was a trail used by Native Americans. Even if you don’t see him, be on the lookout for another creepy sight. When the water level in the Lexington Reservoir is low, you can reportedly see remnants of the towns of Alma and Lexington, which were flooded back when SR 17 was rebuilt and rerouted.

Inland from the coastal town of Watsonville, Route 152 runs east from roughly Gilroy (famous for its garlic festival—so no vampires here!) to Chowchilla. Along the way, it traverses the Diablo Mountains via Pacheco Pass. Among the reported specters along this route, particularly in the pass, are ghostly stage coaches, a headless man, a robed Franciscan monk, and old-time mountain men. Not to be outdone, the women spirits include a bride in her wedding dress, a hitchhiker in jeans and a plaid shirt, and a mother searching for her child. Some folks have also reported seeing mysterious lights or experiencing feelings of overwhelming sorrow. So put on that happy music, and drive safely.