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From the Introduction
This is a collection of true ghost stories, unexplained or paranormal encounters, and legends and lore of the road.
A majority of the stories are from truckers or others associated with truckers and the transportation industry: diesel mechanics, trucking company security guards, truckers’ ex-wives or ex-girlfriends.
Other stories came from people who are not truckers but whose stories made the cut because they’re great stories that reveal the very scary, strange things that can occur on seemingly ordinary nights while driving deserted highways, back roads, and byways — and, maybe, somewhere near you.
These firsthand accounts are as varied as the storytellers themselves — some are detailed and filled with emotion, others are brief and straightforward retellings of truly chilling events. Most take place in the United States, but some of the stories come from far away — as far as Australia and Slovakia.
There’s a story of a ghost rider on old Highway 666 in New Mexico, a phantom truck (not 309) that saved a driver’s life, ghost trains and soldiers, UFOs, a prom girl ghost in Alabama, a demon in Texas, and a shadow person in Charlotte, among other tales. My own haunted highway experience, which was so bizarre that for years I didn’t talk about it (except with my sister, who was with me when it happened), appears in the “Messages and Assistance from the Spirit World” section.
I got the idea for this book because I love true ghost stories — hearing or reading them as well as telling them — and because when I was thirteen years old, a truck driver named Bill Sykes told me a ghost story. It was 1975, and I had a summer job answering the phone and typing invoices at the sand-mining plant my dad managed in Woodbury, Minnesota. The truckers would come into the office while they waited for their trucks to be loaded with silica sand or flour. Sykes, a rail-thin fellow who wore cowboy boots and a big chain on his wallet, was mostly silent around my dad and other men, but if there was no one else around, he’d tell me interesting stories from his life or that he’d heard while driving.
I don’t remember all the details of Bill’s ghost story, I’m sorry to say — it was something about a little ghost girl, and Bill knew someone who, encountering the ghost girl, put his fingers on her wrist to see if she had a pulse (she didn’t, of course). But I can still clearly picture Bill as he told me the story — a solemn expression on his deeply lined face, his gleaming black hair (always slicked back with hair cream) falling forward as he tipped his head down and peered at me over his glasses. I thought the story was scary and cool, and I wanted Bill to tell it to my dad and the other guys at the sand plant, but he wouldn’t — he said a lot of people didn’t believe in ghosts and he only told ghost stories to people who appreciated them. Now, decades later, I wonder if Bill ever told this story to anyone else or if it’s been lost forever.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these ghost stories as they came in, browsing through posts on online forums about truckers’ weird experiences, and talking to people on the phone as they shared their haunted road stories. I think that Bill, who passed away some years ago, would have enjoyed these stories, too.