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Ghost roads – Britain’s most haunted highways

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October 30, 2015
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From spooky dancing children to ghostly horsemen, and marching Romans to phantom lorries, stories of ghoulish apparitions on Britain’s roads are legion.

Are these tales of spooky spectres just the fevered imaginations of tired motorists, elaborate hoaxes or genuine paranormal phenomena?

We’re keeping an open mind as we take you on a Hallowe’en road trip along some of Britain’s most haunted highways.

The Blackburn Ghost: If you are of a nervous disposition, we’d strongly suggest you don’t watch this terrifying video of viral hit the Blackburn ghost, which had the internet in a froth about its authenticity.

It’s pure Blair Witch stuff as amateur footage shows the moment a “ghost” appears on a deserted road between Blackburn and Belmont in Lancashire.

The white figure chases the car as the seemingly petrified passenger screams “Faster! Faster!” in Arabic at the driver.

Whether or not it’s a hoax (it probably is…), it’s guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine.

B3212 Dartmoor, Devon: The legend of the Hairy Hands tells of motorists being forced off the road by a pair of disembodied hands that grab control of the steering wheel.

The story was picked up by national newspapers in 1921 when an army captain reported that a pair of invisible hands had taken control of his steering wheel and forced him into the verge, and journalist Rufus Endle claimed that “a pair of hands gripped the driving wheel and I had to fight for control.” He avoided a crash and the hands disappeared.

Local legend has it that the hands belong to a man who was killed on the road in the early 20th century, but sceptics say the high number of accidents on the road was down to an adverse camber that has since been levelled out.

The story was told in a short film funded by the UK Film Council called The Hairy Hands.

Oldnall Road, West Midlands: An unprepossessing stretch of B-road between Halesowen and Stourbridge, ghostly apparitions have reportedly caused several accidents in the area.

The road is an accident blackspot but is fairly straight with no adverse camber – are motorists swerving to avoid ghosts in the road?

Drivers have reported swerving to avoid small children in Victorian dress, plus a man and woman on the site of an old farm by the roadside, all of which mysteriously disappear when they stop to look.

In 1979, a man called Alan Spencer was walking home when he saw a dark figure walking towards him, dressed in a closely fitting black outfit and with a pointed or “cone-shaped” head. As he got closer, the figure disappeared into the bushes. A man with a hat who needed the toilet…?

Oldnall Road

The A75, Dumfriesshire, Scotland: Widely regarded as the most haunted road in Scotland, motorists have reported seeing some truly horrific scenes, including screaming hags, eyeless phantoms and unearthly creatures.

Sightings go back more than 50 years, and in 1962 Derek and Norman Ferguson were startled by a hen flying towards the windscreen before great cats and other animals ran towards them before disappearing.

Travellers have seen groups of dejected bedraggled people pulling handcarts and carrying bundles, horsemen and carriages and some are convinced they have run down walkers only to find nothing.

One man was so traumatised by seeing a huge group of medieval travellers on the Kinmount straight that he gave up lorry driving completely!

Stocksbridge Bypass, near Sheffield: The A616 was only completed in 1989 but this accident blackspot has already been dubbed the “killer road”.

The ghost stories started during construction, when security guards claimed they saw children dancing beneath a pylon. The sceptical police sent to investigate were terrified when they saw a dark clothed torso with a V sewn into the cloth by their car.


Their patrol car failed to start twice before firing up on the third attempt, but a loud bang on the boot startled them out of the car again. Finding nothing, the officers got back in and went to drive back to the station, only for another loud bang and a rocking motion to leave them utterly terrified and speeding off to the safety of their colleagues.

Other drivers have reported seeing a monk staring over the valley by the road, and even appearing beside them in their cars, and a large black dog roaming the fields.

A456, West Midlands: Just two miles from the similarly haunted Oldnall Road is the A456, which has seen reports of a mysterious woman, a man dressed in grey and the most common sighting, a cavalier.

Detective Constable Roger Ryder has recounted his experience of driving along the dual carriageway from Halesowen to Hagley at about 1am one summer night.


“I was wide awake and alert,” he said. “And I stress that I hadn’t had a drink! It was a lovely night – very quiet with no traffic for miles. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that the pub was lit up and glowing. I assumed there was a party going on. As I drew closer, suddenly the figure of a man ran out of the car park. He was dressed like one of the old cavalier soldiers – the big hat, boots, red uniform and sword”.

Fancy dress party?

Platt Lane, Lancashire: The road in Westhoughton runs close to the site of the 1910 Pretoria pit disaster, which claimed the lives of 344 miners, and numerous motorists have reported seeing eyes peering out of the hedges by the roadside, and ghostly miners trudging alongside cars or pulling coal wagons behind them.

Pretoria pit disaster fundraising wagon.

Pretoria pit disaster fundraising wagon.

A9, Scotland: Running between Falkirk in central Scotland all the way up to the far north, drivers have reported witnessing an ornate coach and horses with bewigged footmen walking alongside on one stretch of road in the Highlands. While on another stretch near Dornoch a motorist claimed to have seen a despondent Victorian man on horseback.

The Highlands is thought to be among the most haunted regions of Britain in general, so drive carefully…

M6 Motorway: A number of scary sightings have been made on Britain’s longest motorway, including a spectral female hitchhiker, a phantom lorry going the wrong way down the carriageway, and Roman marching soldiers on the M6 toll section.

Rational explanations, the mind’s eye playing tricks or genuine ghostly goings on…whatever your view there’s no doubt that Britain’s highways and byways are rich in paranormal history.

Would you drive these roads alone at night?

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