Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Humpback Haunting of Oklahoma's Route 66

Legend has it that along Route 66 between Weatherford and El Reno, Oklahoma the ghost of an old, humpbacked man can be spotted. He wears a fedora and a trenchcoat and is most often reported on rainy or foggy nights. Some tales recount the man in a "phantom rider" or "vanishing hitch-hiker" fashion: The man is picked up alongside the road, but doesn't speak to the driver at all. Then, after some miles, the strange passenger suddenly attempts to leap from the vehicle. When the driver opens the door to let him out, he has vanished. The perplexed driver then glances up the road to see the man walking along the road - several miles ahead. Another legend recounts how a driver thinks they have just struck the elderly man as he was crossing the road, but when the driver gets out, the struck man is nowhere to be seen.


Autumnforest said...

Now, that's an interesting account. They're almost always the lady in white scenario. It rings authentic to me.

Cullan Hudson said...

You're right. It's a far rarer find to discover these accounts when they involve a man since (as an earlier post on this blog illustrates) there are archetypes at work in the Vanishing Hitchiker story that most often involve a young woman.

Ceallach said...

When I was 14, (I am now 35), I was riding home from church with a friend (who was 16) in his dad's small 1987 Ford Ranger truck.  The church that we attended is known as the Country Tabernacle PCG, located on Cheek Road in Lone Grove, OK.  This road runs South, perpendicular to Highway 70 just a couple of miles west of town.  The night was slightly foggy and misty, but visibility wasn't compromised.  We left the church as soon as it was over that Sunday night around 8:00pm.  The church is 7 miles South of Highway 70.  We were traveling north towards my home across town.  We were both chatting and listening to the radio, but my friend was a very responsible driver and wasn't that distracted.  As we came to the intersection with the highway, there were no other cars or pedestrians around.  I made a mental note of how little traffic there was on the highway and dismissed it as due to the fact that it was a rainy Sunday night.  We made a rolling stop at the stop sign and was in mid-right turn when for some unknown reason, I was compelled to look out the back window over my left shoulder.  What I saw when I looked out the window was a human figure walking northbound across the highway.  I only saw the profile and back of the figure for the few seconds that I viewed it.  It was tall and skinny, wearing a khaki trench coat, cinched tight around the waist.  The hands were shoved into the coat pockets, shoulders hunched.  The head was looking at the ground and had a gray fedora (gangster/Indiana Jones style hat) pulled down over the eyes.  I saw no recognizable features of the face.  Gray slacks were noticeable at the bottom of the calf-length coat.  I did not notice any feet.  The figure's legs were moving but its motion was more of a smooth glide.  It covered the ground very quickly.  I thought it strange and asked my friend if he saw it, for I thought at first that he had almost run over a pedestrian.  He looked in his mirrors and said no.  It was then that I realized that it wasn't humanly possible for a physical being to be there.  For it to have been where I saw it when I did, the figure would have had to be walking right behind the truck at the same speed as the truck and then continue moving northbound as we turned eastbound.  We were probably going over 5 mph at the time and the figure looked as if it was just traveling at a leisurely pace.  A normal person would have had to be jogging at least to make that time and then they would have had to run right through the bed of the truck to be where they were when I saw them.  I have gone over the physics of this many times in my head and I still come up with the same conclusion.  It could not have been a physical person.  Even if it was, why did I not see any feet when I saw enough to get such an accurate description of everything else?  About 9 years ago I was telling this story to the girlfriend of another friend of mine and she freaked out.  This is what she said.  When she was in high school, a story circulated that if you went to that intersection and waited in your car, the figure (dressed exactly as I saw) would come and knock on your window.  If you rolled your window down, it would ask you a question, (I can't for the life of me remember the question).  If you answered it the apparition would disappear.  Supposedly the police got wind of this and went to check out who was pranking people.  A couple of officers waited in their patrol car at the intersection.  Right on cue the figure appeared, knocked, the officers rolled the window down and answered the question.  The figure disappeared and the officers sped back to town with lights and sirens blaring.  Whether or not this happened, or it is a legend, I don't know.  But I know what I saw that night when I was 14.  And I will never forget it.