The most haunted roads in the US according to lore, would you drive them alone at night?

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The pandemic lasted long enough to ruin some of our Halloween fun. Not only are we responsible for our own candy haul and costume parties, those who like to hunt down haunted locales to get their spook on can’t because ghosts refuse to maintain a six-foot distance. Plus the mask thing is really a challenge for them. Never fear, or wait – do fear! The ghouls at Travel & Leisure have our backs this Halloween. They’re encouraging us to hit the road because when it comes to haunting, the spirits aren’t fussy, they’ll wander a highway if that’s where they were struck down. So T&L compiled a list of the most haunted roads in the US:

Owaissa Street, Appleton, Wisconsin
Riverside Cemetery, located on Owaissa Street in Appleton, Wisconsin, is known for paranormal experiences — some claim to have seen ghosts of past mourners dressed in old-fashioned clothing here. In the cemetery, visitors will find the tombstone of Kate Blood, another supposedly haunted spot — although many of the stories about her life and death are unfounded.

Route 66, Villa Ridge, Missouri
The tri-county truck stop located off historic Route 66 in Villa Ridge has been abandoned for years, but ghost hunters continue to visit in hopes of experiencing the paranormal. According to Commercial Truck Trader, “Visiting mediums have suggested the truck stop is a portal to the other side of eternity, where souls reenter our world and attach their spirits to truckers whom they might possess in order to drive themselves home.”

Stagecoach Road, Marshall, Texas
Several urban legends cite tragic events that have contributed to Stagecoach Road’s haunted reputation. Some say they’ve seen the spirit of a woman wandering this road, spooking passersby.

Route 666, New Mexico
U.S. Route 491, formerly Route 666, was known as the Devil’s Highway because of its number and the relatively high fatality rate along the New Mexican stretch. Some drivers have reported being chased by hellhounds — supernatural dogs that represent death in some cultures — or seeing a ghostly semitruck on fire, according to Commercial Truck Trader.

Ortega Ridge Road, Montecito, California
Keep an eye out for the ghosts of three nuns — now known as Las Tres Hermanas — who were killed by highway bandits on Ortega Ridge Road. Some say their apparitions can be spotted by the side of this road, according to Commercial Truck Trader.

[From People]

That is only a partial list, there are more at People or in the original article on Travel & Leisure. I included the Montecito one because 1) it’s the only ghost story I’d heard and 2) because I thought of Harry out shopping for groceries, coming across one of the ghost nuns and thinking, “Gran?” By the way – what’s up, Wisconsin? You show up a couple of times on the list – what’s are you doing over there? These are very People Mag purified versions of these stories, of course. The Travel Channel also has a haunted roads piece and it’s a bit creepier for those who want it. I tried to find a program to direct you to, but my very cursory search only came up with this 25 Most Haunted Video. It’s not very scary, but it might be a good reference point to find a road in your area. I’ve never thought to find a spooky road. Ghost hunting shows are always emphasizing covered and trestle bridges, of course there would be haunted roads. What about Haunted Highways? I get freaked out driving down a road in fog, I don’t even need a story behind it. Would I drive one of these alone? Not on purpose. But I’d do it with someone else, for sure.

As I said, I’ve heard of the nun story in Santa Barbara. It never occurred to me to go looking for them, though. I’ve also heard from more than one person, even some very sensible, non-believing types, that anywhere near Area 51 is just a hotbed of all kinds of activity. And for heaven’s sake, if you name a Highway 666, you’re just asking for trouble. I, as you know, believe I have experienced my fair share of ghostly activity but have never seen anything from a car. Apparently, Kaiser has and she’s going to share it with us on the next podcast – I can’t wait!

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Photo credit: Tim Foster, neonbrand, Tobias Seward and Liam Pozz from Unsplash

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42 Responses to “The most haunted roads in the US according to lore, would you drive them alone at night?”

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  1. Izzy says:

    It’s 2020, so hard pass on driving anywhere haunted. Not this year, satan.

  2. Esmom says:

    These are intriguing, and the Devil’s Highly sounds terrifying. Although the Wisconsin one cracked me up. Looks like someone found a grave with the name “Blood” on it. And that’s it.

    I feel like there is a bit of ghost lore involving roads — the most common one I can remember reading is when people see a distinctively dressed girl or boy at the side of the road, at night, in the rain, only to find out later she/he has been deceased for a while.

    My own scary road story doesn’t involve ghosts or the road itself but in the car at night. On Sunday nights when I was a kid we would often have a long drive home from visiting family and my parents would listen to scary stories on the radio. Terrifying for me huddled in the back seat.

  3. Gina says:

    I have traveled route 666, Area 51, and the road in Montecito, Never saw anything strange.

  4. Seraphina says:

    The most frightening road I have traveled lately is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. More so due to the inhabitants than anything else.

  5. Jezebeelzebub says:

    Shit, I’m from Charleston, SC- one of the most haunted cities in America. I ain’t scurred, in used to it!
    Besides, I’d rather face a legion of pushed off restless spirits than even a small room full of those MAGA shit heads.

    • L84Tea says:

      Charleston is one of my all time favorite US cities. Man, it is so beautiful and the food is amazing. The best shrimp and grits I ever had was at a restaurant called Magnolia’s. It was a life changing experience.

    • lucy2 says:

      I love Charleston too. So pretty (but my God, so humid!). I did a ghost walk tour there that was fun.

  6. LolaB says:

    Thank you for your spooky content, Hecate! I have a Ghostly Road story. This was probably in Tennessee in the 1940’s.

    My grandmother was in the back seat of her parents’ car going to visit relatives one night. Her mom yelled at her dad, “Watch out for that woman!” They all saw a woman standing in the middle of the road and swerved not to run her over. They stopped and got out of the car to see if she needed help, and there was no one there. They looked around for a minute before getting back in the car and getting the hell out of there.

    They told their story to the relatives who said, “Oh yeah, this woman got murdered over there a few years back. People see her all the time.”

  7. Wow2 says:

    In the before time (pre covid) my brothers and I drove down to Seattle (from AB, Canada) and on my way back it started raining pretty damn hard. We could barely see the road. My brother decided to take a detour from the highway. So we’re driving down a deserted dirt road in rural Seattle and the rain gets worse. My brother wanted to stop and wait out the rain but all I could think of was all the horror movies I have seen that started with stopping on a dirt road in rural America. I flat out refused to wait it out even though we couldn’t see the road and it was probably dangerous to keep going. I was not having it, i told them I’d stop the second we got over the border but not way was I risking being Seattle chainsaw massacred when I was barely 18… I have no clue if this stretch of road was haunted or not but I wasn’t willing to stay and find out

  8. Brooke says:

    I will pass. My husband and I lived in an old haunted house when we first got married. It was the cutest house that literally looked like a little cottage out of a fairy tale. The owners were honest with us and told us that some “funny things” go on inside and they couldn’t get anyone to rent the house for long. Which my tough marine husband took as a personal challenge.

    Three months later we were gone. From the beginning creepy stuff started. There was the cliche lights flickering on and other electrical stuff. I would always get the doors slammed right in my face. My husband would hear this weird incoherent whisper. Which my niece also heard one night. Our poor dog was just scarred from the experience. She would stay up all night just growling. I was pushed and scratched. There were days when I would come from work and all the doors would be open. Nothing was taken. The doors were just wide open, including the basement which can only be accessed from the outside. We called the cops and they told us they have come out there multiple times.

    Our breaking point was when the microwave caught on fire. We weren’t cooking anything but it still sparked. We know fully that it could have just been a bad microwave. There are many explanations for that one but by that point we were done. The owner was very understanding though and let us out of the lease without any questions.

    • Brooke says:

      Another fun moment was when they asked my four year old niece what she wanted to be for Halloween that year. She answered, “the red angel girl that lived with Aunt Brooke.”

      Thankfully we had already moved out by the time we learned about her!

      • lucy2 says:

        Yikes! That all sounds so scary. Good thing you were just renting and could leave quickly.

        I bought an old Victorian house a couple years ago, and the first question was always “is it haunted?” and thankfully I can say no.

      • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

        That is incredibly eerie. I was thinking that some of it at least could have been due to poor electrical work, drafty rooms, etc, but then after what your niece said… ! I’d never actually heard first hand of a hostile ghost before. Did you ever try talking to her/them?

  9. Emily says:

    OOooh I love this kind of stuff! The only “haunted road” that I have heard of near me is a road called Buckout Road. I have never driven on the road myself but the stories I kept reading over and over had to do with a family of albinos living in a red barn, the spirit of three witches, and stories involving the family that used to own the land back in the day (there is one grave in an unmaintained cemetery somewhere along the road). There is even some indie horror movie called “The Curse of Buckout Road” directed by actor Jason Priestly and you can see the trailer on Youtube. (You can read about the movie here: https://hvmag.com/life-style/westchester-county-urban-legend-of-buckout-road-in-white-plains-west-harrison-ny-to-become-movie-directed-by-90210-actor-jason-priestley/). Apparently the road used to not have any street lights and parts of it are so narrow that it is a single lane of traffic in this very woodsy section. So at night it is very dark and creepy and then you have all the lore attached to it as well!

    And then of course there’s Sleepy Hollow! I always had great pride growing up near there haha. Washington Irving who wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (the same one featured in his short story). FYI the ghost of the Headless Horseman doesn’t really exist–Washington Irving just made him up but it’s become part of American ghost lore due to his short story. I visited his house a few years back, it’s this adorable little cottage located along the Hudson River. Such incredible views and you can see the Tappan Zee bridge. They go all out for Halloween and every year they do this amazing thing called “The Jack O Lantern Blaze” where they install hundreds of jack-o-lanterns in these very cool displays. I keep meaning to go every year but every single time I forget to buy tickets ahead of time and they sell out. Due to COVID-19, there were restrictions this year so it sold out very early.

  10. Betsy says:

    I have nothing so scary as @Brooke above, but I read a book about local ghosts once and for weeks thereafter I had the distinct sensation that I had unwittingly invited an unpleasant presence into my home. It didn’t let up until we moved (coincidently, not because of the presence). I don’t mess around with that stuff anymore.

    • Ohlala says:

      I have never heard you can invite something by reading about it. Hmm now i am scared already as i am such a sucker for all these stories!eapecially when annual Jezebel ghost stories comes out. I can’t sleep for weeks afterwards scared lol and with lights on.
      A lot of people I know including my family expirienced something paranormal. Every single religion /church authorities etc are very matter of fact about this stuff too.

      • Betsy says:

        I once heard someone give that as a reason as to why you should never play with Oujia boards either. I realize I sound like a complete loon here, but whatever showed up after reading that house was just not a pleasant being. I could feel the contempt for me radiating off them. I saw nothing, but… you could just feel someone there.

    • Ohlala says:

      @Betsy, yep we are very much told in Europe in most countries (at least where i lived) not to mess with anything “ghostly” on purpose and not to seek it. Definitely not ouija etc (which is not so popular as in us anyway) Just was genuienly surprised that you got something in by just reading stuff. Now will be scared as hell to read anything!
      My family had horrific expierience. My mam who is non believer,MA in maths and physics was seeking a help from Catholic priest and special mass had to be performed behind closed doors as well as house blessing.

  11. nicegirl says:

    Omg Brooke, that is terrifying! There is a haunted hotel in Sonoma, California (the Sonoma Hotel) where I stayed in June 2019 though so I believe it. It’s rumored to be haunted, it’s one of the oldest buildings in town. I was on the toilet when my friend arrived early, without warning to pick me up, knocking at the door and saying, “It’s me, let me in” and wiggling the handle to the door, I call from the bathroom I’m on the throne and she keeps at the door knocking and twisting the handle. Takes me about 1 minute to finish the biz & I rush to the door, unlock the old style locks in a hurry expecting to see my amiga Suzie. No one is in the hallway. I’m at the very top of an old wooden stairwell tho and think maybe she hobbled (she’s got mobility issues so just thinking she’d climbed the 3 levels quickly is unlikely but ya know) down to the front desk. I go down the flights and I can hear the stairs below echoing with footsteps down just as if there’s a person a flight or so below me. Of course you know I get to the front desk at bottom if stairwell to see only the employee, who I ask if my friend had come in, answer, No, not since she left you here around 7 last night. I ask, did someone else just walk down this staircase just now, I had a visitor knocking & saying ‘it’s me’ so I ask & the employee says, “Yes, sorry. She does that. You know this place is haunted, right?”

    NO I REALLY DIDN’T thanks

    So spooky roads would f-ck my shiz up omg

  12. nicegirl says:

    And then the door was locked from the inside when I went back up and I had to GO BACK DOWN THE STAIRS and get the gal to give me another physical key to unlatch the old style locks. I still have not figured that part out. It’s the room at the top corner facing the park on the square, in case anyone ever wants to check it out. I mean, it’s a beautiful and historic place. But it did spook me out!!

  13. Arwen says:

    My husband and I drove down 147th street one night outside of the woods where Bachelors Grove Cemetery (in a suburb of outside of Chicago) is. I know the cemetery is supposed to be haunted, not sure about the road. Anyways a big black car came zooming right up behind us. We could see its headlights and we though we were about to be rear ended. When we passed the location where the cemetery was, the car was gone. It didn’t pass us, didn’t make a uturn. There isn’t really any area to turn/park and no side streets. Don’t really know what that was all about but it was interesting for sure!

  14. Ladyjax says:

    I am here for these types of posts *so hard!*

    This is really neat to read! I grew up in Wisconsin’s fox valley (Appleton area) and I’m all about paranormal stuff and I never heard of that cemetery being haunted! Neato!

    Also, if anyone is in the Houston area, Old Town Spring is haunted AF. I went on a ghost tour there and had some very vivid experiences.

  15. Ashley says:

    I don’t believe in ghosts and especially not after living in Paris. That city is 1000s of years old and you never hear anything about ghosts, and mind you this a city where people were murdered by the 10,000s every century. Granted it’s probably because no one wants to stick around Paris but most people live in buildings that are 100s of years old. I lived on Île Saint Louis, stayed in a building which now sits on the old site of the Cimetière des Innocents, and lived and worked in at least 100 other buildings, not a ghost in sight.

    That said when I grew up there was a story of a bus of school kids that got hit by a train. They say if you stop your car on the tracks their ghosts will push your car over. It’s pretty famous. There have been tons of stories done on it. I think I tried it one year but nothing happened. There’s usually a line that goes down the street this time of year with people trying it (and putting baby powder to get their handprints).

    Anyhow my friend is a professional ghost hunter. She hates when I remind her that these things don’t really exist in the rest of the world where people have lived and died a lot longer than in America. If it was real why is America the only place that seems to have this phenomenon? Because we’re such an awesome place and people want to stick around? Doubtful.

    • Emily says:

      Well my friend stayed at an Airbnb in Paris and she is NOT the kind of person to believe in ghosts or any of that stuff. And she has stayed and traveled in Paris numerous times. Her first night in the Airbnb, she could hear music and voices of people talking as if there were an old timey party going on and she was the only person in the apartment. She was so freaked out she didn’t sleep that night and she didn’t stay for the rest of her time booked there and checked into a hotel. She also said she didn’t know what to do but ended up contacting the host and explained what happened. She got a refund though the host told her “You are the first person to ever tell me this has happened.” I was floored when she told me this story but she is also not the kind of person to make stories up. She had never believed in ghosts either until this happened.

      Also my dad grew up in France (not in Paris, but um ghost stories aren’t limited to Paris) and he did one of those “seance” round tables asking if any spirits were present with people and to this day he swears the table he was seated at lifted into the air. And he says he and his friends were all yelling at each other to stop messing around and to admit whoever the hell was lifting the table. But that table was dang heavy and there was no way a single person could have lifted it. He hasn’t messed with that kind of thing since.

      There are 100% French ghost stories out there. You just need to do some research. :)

    • Jenn says:

      But there *are* ghosts in Europe, aren’t there?? Or at least legends and stories about them?

      During our last trip to the UK, I freaked out when I realized we were staying in the same exact room at the Angel Posting House in Guilford where Sir Roger Moore apparently experienced a haunting TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW during a stay in 1973 (a full-bodied apparition!!). As he told it, ahead of the third night, a housekeeper left a Bible open to the 23rd Psalm at his bedside, and the ghostly activity ceased. Evidently, the ghost Sir Roger Moore had seen was never seen again after the removal of a specific wardrobe — so we can assume that it was therefore the furniture itself that was haunted — but there are still ghost nuns who wander the halls at night, or so they say.

      I used to not believe in ghosts… but anytime people would share stories with one another about seeming-paranormal encounters, I’d start mentioning my own inexplicable experiences, and it eventually dawned on me that I’d had 8 or 9 strange experiences but had just… discounted all of them? Which makes no sense. (My husband supposedly grew up in a haunted house, and his entire immediate family is very matter-of-fact about this, as if all people grew up with active hauntings. Yeecchhh, no thanks!!!!)

    • Ohlala says:

      wow that is very dismissive of many people’s expieriences. Also why US only? Europe is extremely haunted and there are million of stories and they actually more interveined in our daily life not on Halloween only which makes it different to US.

  16. Yonati says:

    I won’t live in houses with a history because I’m terrified of ghosts (even friendly ones) and I believe that all old houses have ghosts. I either live in new houses or houses that have only had one owner (who’s alive). I also won’t go to Pioneer Square in Seattle because it is so haunted!

    • Jenn says:

      Yes!! I have said before that my greatest fear is to *see* a ghost. The idea fills me with dread. I think it’s because I would have to reevaluate things and ask myself a lot of new questions.

      • Betsy says:

        After my grandfather died and my grandma was alone in the farm house, she was obviously very sad (they’d been married over 50 years). She woke up one night and went out in the kitchen where my grandfather’s ghost had prepared himself a meal and told her he was okay and happy and he would see her later.

        And when my eldest was a baby, not a very smiling baby usually, his great grandfather was dying. I was changing my son when he looked up to where we kept a toy made by the gg and giggled and waved. A few hours later we got the call that he had died, right around the time my boy smiled and waved. His cousin must have gotten a similar visit, only he got so terrified of the toy made by his gg that they had to take it down.

  17. The Recluse says:

    Something in an older house (mid-earlyish 20th century) in Seward, Alaska taught our little dog Stanzi how to sit up and beg. Mom would not go to bed until I came home from my job at night because if she did Stanzi would start interacting with someone in there. I kept telling her at least it was friendly; it liked dogs. I had a tea bag vanish on me one day when I was trying to make tea. We were renting it for most of two years. The house no longer stands.
    Someone else told me about the old grocery store not far from the harbor used to have poltergeist activity: things would fly off of the shelves. It was closed up when we were living there: 1987-89.

    • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

      That’s a sweet story about Stanzi and the ghost. Hopefully she comforted it and brought it a little joy.

  18. Jane's Wasted Talent says:

    Everyone here has such good stories. Mine are pretty pedestrian- my paternal relatives will come back to check on us every so often (for some reason, none of my mother’s side does, which is very sad, and also disconcerting). But a kid that I used to know lived in a house where a young man committed suicide, and his ghost was a frequent presence as they grew up (a neighbor identified him and had an old photo to prove it) . Sometimes he would get angry and run pounding up the stairs, but most often he just liked to show up and just sort of… hang out, I guess? Especially if they had company, and every time they threw a party.

  19. Thank you for this post!! Please more ghost stories year round!

  20. My sister was driving home from her boyfriend’s house out in the country. We live in Indiana she was making her way back to city of Indianapolis. She is on a two lane country highway when she sees a woman ata standing on the median. She said she just had registered that it was a woman wearing a white dress before the figure jumped out in front of her car. My sister braced for impact.. but the figure evaporated. She says she thinks it could have been her eyes playing tricks on her but it truly felt real to her. I believe it was a ghost.