If you do believe, well, it’s easy to understand why. Saying something like the existence of ghosts is impossible — without proof one way or the other — is actually pretty difficult.
While America hasn’t been around a long time in the grand scheme of things, that hasn’t held us back in the “haunted roads” department. The earliest roads built to head out into the largely unexplored Western frontier were, ThoughtCo. says, established in the 1770s. From dirt trails, Daniel Boone, and arguments with landowners to the first national, government-funded highway of the early 19th century (via National Geographic), we’ve come a long way.
And along the way, there’s been a lot of grisly tales told of murder, accidents, and souls who have just refused to move on. Is there anything to them? You’ll have to check out these haunted roads for yourself.
Well, of course “Shades of Death Road” is haunted!
Shades of Death Road is a real, honest-to-gosh rural road in New Jersey, and Dangerous Roads adds that it runs past a place called Ghost Lake because of course it does. Weird NJ says no one’s quite sure how it got that grisly name, but as far as local legend is concerned, it definitely lives up to it.
We’ll jump right in with the pillars of fog locals often see rising from the old lake bed alongside the road. The fog, it’s said, often comes with sightings of the dead — rumored to be the spirits of Native Americans killed by colonists and disposed of in the lake.
It’s also said to be haunted by the ghost of a local girl, who was killed in a car accident. She still walks on dark nights when the road is once again slippery, and still wears her prom dress even after all these years. It’s also rumored to be the old haunt of a group of murderous squatters, so that’s fun.
Even if all of that sounds unlikely, there’s one more tale that’s a little more rooted in truth. The area around the road is extremely marshy, and starting in the 1850s, settlers began suffering from terrible outbreaks of malaria, carried by the mosquitos that infested the nearby swamps. The yearly outbreaks became a regular thing, and the cloud of death that surrounded the road was very real.
Connecticut's melon heads haunt the roads
Melon heads might sound like a delicious sort of Halloween candy, but according to the New England Historical Society, they’re the creatures that live along a handful of roads in southwestern Connecticut — roads like Saw Mill City Road and Zion Hill Road. Local legend says the melon heads are small, humanoid creatures who get their collective name from their massive heads, and while they rarely come out of hiding, when they do … it’s good news for no one. Most of the time, they’re content to feed on small animals, but they also like to supplement their diet with the occasional teenager.
Stories about the creatures haunting Connecticut’s roads started post-World War II, and some say the melon heads were once a perfectly normal human family until they were cursed by a witch. Retreating to the wilderness, they interbred until they became unrecognizable. Another tale describes them as escapees from one of the area’s mental health facilities: when they escaped and turned to cannibalism, it caused their swelling heads.
Local legends say that sometimes, they’re seen driving a blue Granada they stole from a group of girls in the 1980s, and sometimes, they’re spotted lurking among the nearby trees and underbrush. Described as the size of children, they’re dressed in rags and have oversized heads. You might just catch a glimpse of glowing, orange eyes.
Archer Ave, home of Resurrection Mary
Drivers on Chicago’s Archer Ave. started telling tales of a strange figure in the 1930s, and at first, she was often seen hopping onto the running boards of their cars (via Chicago Hauntings).
Then, things seemed to change. Unsolved Mysteries says that in 1939, Jerry Palus was the first to meet her at a local dance hall. He was a regular there, and when he asked the gorgeous blonde woman to dance, he absolutely fell for her. They danced the night away and finally, he offered her a ride. Even though she told him where she lived, she asked to be dropped off at the cemetery on Archer Avenue. It wasn’t until the next day that he went to the home she’d said was hers, spoke to her mother, and found out that his dance partner had been dead for five years.
Mary has been seen regularly since: she’s been spotted at dance clubs and bars, and sometimes, she’s seen walking along the road looking for a ride. Some have even seen her run out into the road, and when they think they’re going to hit her, they pass right through her.
Although she’s often said to be the ghost of Mary Bregovy, a 21-year-old girl killed in a 1934 car accident, the details don’t exactly match and Resurrection Mary’s identity remains a mystery.
A beast of a highway
Sometimes, government agencies don’t really think things through … like the way-too-long story of how a highway in New Mexico ended up being labeled as US 666. The Federal Highway Administration says basically, US 60 became US 66, and the sixth branch became US 666. Nothing demonic to see here, right? That’s what the official story is, but those who have driven the road suggest that it just might have gotten some unwanted, evil attention.
The road nicknamed The Devil’s Highway is roughly 200 miles long, and while The New York Times says there’s a lot of locals who think it’s just a number and nothing more, that hasn’t stopped the stories, including an oft-told tale of a mysterious black sedan that’s seen just after sunset, and forces drivers off the road. Travel + Leisure says there are also rumors that it’s home to a horrible pack of hellhounds that attack unwary travelers, and that anyone who stops to pick up a hitchhiker might end up with a passenger from the great beyond.
Perhaps most frightening of all, there’s a lot of source material for the number of ghostly figures and mysterious hitchhikers seen along the road. According to The Washington Post, that particular stretch of highway was the site of a ton of accidents. While many blamed the area’s high instance of alcohol abuse, others pointed to the number … and strangely, The Roosevelt Review says accidents and fatalities have declined since it was renamed US 491.
The specter of Old Goatman's Bridge
The story of Old Goatman’s Bridge is a reminder that sometimes, the good ol’ days weren’t actually that great. Old Goatmans’ Bridge is in Denton, Texas, and it’s just off Teasley Lane on Old Alton Road. It’s also the home of the specter of a man who went from businessman to murder victim.
His real name, Discover Denton claims, was Oscar Washburn. Not many people knew that, as he made his living selling milk, cheese, yarn, and meat from the goats he’d raise. So, people just called him Goatman — and he even hung a sign on the bridge advertising, letting people know they were on their way to Goatman’s place. Washburn and his family made a decent living, but this was the 1930s, and his success got the attention of the Ku Klux Klan. First, they allegedly hanged him off the Old Alton Bridge, and when his body disappeared, they killed the rest of his family.
No one knows what actually happened to Washburn — whether he escaped, was cut down by locals, or buried in secret, he was never seen or heard from again. While living, at least. It’s said his spirit still haunts the area around the bridge, and the road has been known as a paranormal hot spot ever since.
Haunted by the screams of seven sisters on the road
The road, News Now Omaha reports, is officially called L Street. More people know it as the Seven Sisters Road, because of a grisly tale.
The legend goes back to the early 1900s when the area was reportedly home to a family with one son and seven daughters. After a disagreement got heated, the son left the house … to wait. When their parents left, he returned to kill each one of his sisters, one by one, hanging them from seven trees along the road. Other versions of the story say it was a farmer who killed his seven daughters, but either way, it all ends the same: with seven dead girls.
Today, the road — which is just south of Nebraska City — is still said to be haunted. Anyone brave enough to drive the Seven Sisters Road at night is likely to hear their screams of terror and the moans they made as they died, and some have even seen mysterious, flickering lights, or have caught a glimpse of figures in white.
Wisconsin's haunted highways
The Stevens Point Area refers to a group of communities in Wisconsin; originally founded in 1858, it was known for beer, logging, and fur traders. Since then, it’s amassed a surprising number of ghostly tales.
Some center around three haunted bridges, including the so-called Bloody Bride Bridge on Highway 66. Rumored to be the site of a tragic accident that led to the death of a bride on her wedding night. The very first encounter with her was experienced by a police officer, who stopped when he thought he hit a woman with his car. When he looked around, she was gone, but when he got back into his cruiser and looked in the rearview mirror, he found himself looking into the eyes of the “bloody bride.” Since then, numerous people at the popular fishing hole have also reported seeing her.
Then, there’s the eerily-named Boy Scout Lane (which, it’s worth noting, is now on private property and strictly off-limits to ghost hunters). According to the official story, the road got the name when it was in the running for becoming the site of a Boy Scout camp, but local legend says it was, instead, the place where an entire troop mysteriously disappeared — with some blaming a murderous bus driver. It’s said you can still see lanterns floating along the road at night, and that anyone who drives the road might see children’s handprints on their car when they finally get to their destination.
Be careful out there … especially on the very haunted Annie's Road
It’s not actually called Annie’s Road, and it’s more formally known as Riverview Drive in Totowa, New Jersey. So many people have seen the ghostly specter named Annie that calling it Annie’s Road just seemed … right.
The story, Weird NJ claims, started with a girl who was walking home from her prom. She was on Riverview Drive just near Laurel Grove Cemetery when she was hit by a truck (or, alternately, a car full of drunk students) that dragged her for around 50 feet. Alternately, there’s another version that says Annie met her horrible fate on her wedding night, but one thing’s for sure, the tendency locals have to mark the place with red paint is a little squicky. (That’s rumored to be the work of her father, who repaints it every year on the anniversary of her death.)
Is that what kept Annie there? Travelers say that they’ve seen mysterious mists forming in the cemetery as they approach, that come together to form the specter of a young girl who walks into the middle of the road — perhaps warning drivers that are going too fast? Others claim to have seen her when they look in their rearview mirror, standing silent watch and still wearing the beautiful dress she died in.
Don't run afoul of Las Tres Hermanas on the road
For more than 100 years, travelers on the Ortega Ridge Road in Montecito, California, have reported seeing three terrifying figures standing along the highway. They’re known as Las Tres Hermanas, the three sisters.
According to Weird California, the story says they’re three nuns from the Santa Barbara Mission. While they were warned not to leave the safety of the mission, they chose to do so anyway. Not long after, they were seized, tortured, and killed by an unidentified group of Native Americans.
For decades now, they’ve been spotted standing at the side of the road: they’re still wearing their black and white nun’s habits, their arms are always crossed, and they turn to watch the cars that pass them by. If there are any doubts the apparitions are the nuns, they’re also known by their unearthly, bright blue eyes and the glow that surrounds their faces. They’re always seen at night, but even those who drive the road during the day have reported feeling uneasy … as if they’re still there, just out of the sight.
Massachusetts's red-headed hitchhiker is on the road
Route 44 passes through Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and it’s in that stretch of road that people have reported seeing a redheaded hitchhiker. Stories vary, but according to Spooky South Coast, they’re always terrifying.
He’s always described as looking much the same. He’s around 50 years old, with red hair and a beard, and he’s usually wearing a red flannel shirt, jeans, and work boots. And here’s where things get eerie — sometimes, he’s well-groomed and clean, while other times he’s disheveled. And then, there are his eyes. Some of the people who have seen him say he has black, empty eyes, while others say they look completely normal but feel completely wrong.
What people see him doing varies, too. Some say they have pulled over to give him a ride, thinking he’s a completely normal, living hitchhiker — only to have him disappear with a laugh, a shout, or a taunt. Other times, he walks out in front of a car, and when drivers stop, thinking they’ve hit him, there’s no evidence of a crash. And even worse? Sometimes he just appears in the back seat.
Oh, the little dead boy? He's just a ghost trying to help those on the road
Clinton Road is a 10-mile long road in New Jersey, and according to Dangerous Roads, it comes with the usual reports of cult activity and gatherings of the KKK. It’s supposed to be the home of a dog that’s come straight from hell, but there’s someone else there that’s worth mentioning: the little dead boy.
He’s usually seen in the area of the Clinton Reservoir, the bridge, and a sharp dead man’s curve. It’s said that if you look over the bridge and into the water, you’ll sometimes see his face reflected up at you. He’ll interact with you, too. If you throw a coin in the water, he’ll throw it back — and sometimes, some people have said he’ll throw a lot of coins back at you.
So maybe be considerate? One story (via Weird NJ) says that the spirit is that of a boy who was hit by a car and killed as he bent to pick up a quarter. Sometimes, if you stand on the bridge long enough, you’ll suddenly notice that a quarter has appeared on the road. Bend down to pick it up, and he’ll push you out of the way of any oncoming cars … like the one that killed him.
Get off my road, ya darn kids!
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and it turns out that’s true for a lot of things: It’s a virtual hotbed of paranormal activity. When it comes to roads, though, the Vegas road where you’re most likely to have a ghostly encounter is along Sandhill Road in the stretch between Olive and Charleston.
Only in Your State says that the most commonly heard ghosts are the spirits of a couple who died after their car collided with construction debris. The debris was from the building of the tunnels that go under the road, and those who stop there report hearing moans and screams, along with an overwhelming feeling of nausea.
That’s definitely creepy, but local lore holds that there’s an even more terrifying spirit that’s haunting the area. If anyone ends up finding themselves on a connecting dirt road, they just might catch a glimpse of an elderly woman who chases them until the intruding car has left “her” road.
The little haunted children of Stagecoach Road
Way back before the Civil War, Stagecoach Road was the way to get between Marshall, Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana. Texas Historic Sites Atlas says it was the kind of road made by horses and wagon wheels, and by the end of the war, it had fallen out of use thanks to a rail line.
You can still travel it, though, and that’s just what Stephenie Prine and a few friends decided to do in 2018 (via KSLA News). They took their Jeep down the dusty old road for some fun, and when they got home, they found something terrifying: the handprint of a small child, clearly visible in the dust left on her Jeep.
They’re not the only ones who have reported strange experiences along the old road, and according to the Spooky Truth Podcast, there are plenty of other stories about a stagecoach that still travels the road, pulled by four black horses. Others claim to have seen mysterious lights flickering in the distance, and to have heard the crying of La Llorona — the Weeping Woman. She wanders and cries, searching for the children she murdered while in a rage over a rejection from the man she thought she would marry. Was it the long-dead children who touch the passing cars?
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