NC Ghost Stories: The Phantom Driver

Every Monday in October, I’ll be getting you in the mood…for Halloween, of course. 😉 I’m busy researching North Carolina ghost stories for my WIP, which features a pair of ghost hunters who lay the dead to rest, and though I’d share some of the lesser-known legends with you. So sit back, relax…and whatever  you do, leave the lights on.

Many ghost stories have their roots in olden times–the state abounds with Civil War ghosts, for instance–but this tale is of a more recent vintage. One dark night a few decades ago, a young man running moonshine found himself being pursued by the cops. It was a dark night, so he decided to outrun them (there’s a reason NASCAR was born in this area).

Unfortunately, our young bootlegger either didn’t know the area as well as he thought, or got confused on the narrow, winding roads. The road he fled down turned out to literally be a dead end; his car crashed full-speed into a barricade at the end, killing him instantly.



Fast-forward a few years. A pair of young women were out driving late at night. On the dark, twisty roads, they became lost, eventually finding themselves facing the same barricade that had claimed the life of the bootlegger. They had just gotten their car turned around and were heading back the other way, when a pair of blinding headlights suddenly appeared just inches from their rear bumper.

This unnerved the women more than you might think. After all, they’d just turned around at a dead end, on a narrow road with no turn-offs. Where had the car behind them come from?

The driver sped up, hoping to put some distance between her car and the newcomer, but the headlights remained on her bumper. Hoping that it was just some inconsiderate jerk who wanted to pass, she then slowed the car–not quite daring to pull over–but the lights remained behind them. Her friend leaned out the window and looked back in an attempt to get a look at the other driver, but was unable to make out a car, let alone a driver. There was no reflection of moonlight on metal or glass, no faint glow of red from the lights that should have been at the rear of the car, nothing but those two, staring headlights keeping eerie pace with their own vehicle.

Now truly spooked, the driver stepped on the gas. The phantom car behind them sped up as well–and now there came the blaring of a horn, only it the sound seemed strangely distant, as if coming from miles away instead of inches from their bumper.

Just as it seemed like they’d never get away from their pursuer, they crossed over a small bridge. The headlights behind them abruptly vanished.

So if you’re driving the back roads of North Carolina on a dark night and see headlights appear behind you, remember the tale of our young bootlegger still haunting the road the claimed his life…and cross over running water as soon as you can.

Posted October 3, 2011 by jordan in ghosts / 0 Comments