from: Matt Patrick
date: Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 8:21 AM
subject: Highway Hitcher Craziness
Hello, love the site first of all, I just recently discovered it. I've told this story to all my close friends and family at some point over the last 5 years though i'm not sure how serious they took it but I will swear by it until the day I die.
My story I guess is fairly tame compared to some I've read on your site but never the less it creeped me right the hell out and none of the few people I've told really seem to believe, so here it goes.
First of all, this happened about 5 years ago. I travel a lot, like a whole lot, and at the time this happened I was traveling from home, which is northwest ohio, to Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. It's pretty much a straight shot down I-75 and takes about ~10 hours give or take. I only mention I travel a lot because I want it understood I've crisscrossed the country I don't care to think how many times and nothing remotely close to anything I'd consider paranormal or "ghostly" has ever happened to me, and I've been on a lot of shady back roads that are the prime canidates for bad horror movies. As a slap to the collective face of those movies, this happened on I-75, probably one of the most traveled roads in the country, being the major north-south hgwy of the midwest, it usually has quite a lot of traffic...sometimes it doesn't though.
So I was traveling south on 75 heading for atlanta, and as I mentioned I travel a lot so I have my habits. On a longish drive like this I prefer to leave in the evening just as rush hour is ending and make the bulk of the drive overnight - pro tip to any others, 75 is almost completely deserted after about ~10pm unless you are very close to a city - and that is why I do it. I was making pretty decent time, and just starting into the hilly-not quite mountainous-part of the trip in the kentucky/tennessee area when it starts raining, and I mean really coming down and hard, the kind of rain where you can barely see where you're going. This forced me to slow down a good clip as the road gets pretty twisty in some area's through there and god knows I didn't want a horrible plunge off the side of the road in the middle of a rain storm in the middle of the night, as I'm sure you understand. So I'm probably plugging along at about ~45ish, much less in a curve, in the low 20s, give or take when the incident begins. At first this wont' sound too weird but I will explain. What I saw, coming up on a curve, was a hitcher on the side of the road. Just that. Pretty common right?....well maybe, except it's 1:30 in the morning on a weekday, it's raining an absolute torrent, and it's i-75 up in the hills no where really near what i consider walking distance to a town or village (to be fair I'm a lazy fatty so it doesn't have to be to far before I consider it out of walking distance). I'm sorry now that I wasn't paying closer attention to mile markers or what not to really note where exactly I was but it was definitely north of Knoxville, and definitely in Tennessee. Anyway, I digress.
A hitcher, in the middle of a horrible rainy night no where near a town. I should mention he appeared to be going my way and I hadn't seen a break down or anything. Traffic was also very very light, not surprising considering the conditions and time - the entire story spans about 30-45 minutes, perhaps an hour, I can't imagine I saw more than 1 or 2 cars in that time, all northbound. I was slowed down considerably due to the curve so I got a decent look at him. Pretty ragged look, not surprising considering. Stood out most was the extra wide brimmed hat. I'm not a hat expert so the closest I can compare it too is a sombrero but that's not quite right as it was just plain brown. I don't kknow. It stood out. Framed there in the light of my high beams he was a sorry sight indeed. Nothing really remarkable about his appearance except how out of place the fellow was.
Now normally I'm a pretty charitable guy, and always welcome some company. Bad movies aside hitchers are normally pretty normal decent folks and provide some break up to the monotony of long highway drives. But I'm also not a stupid guy....wee hours of the morning, middle of nowhere for all intents and purposes, and generally unsavory looking fellow...?...no thanks. With only the slightest pang of guilt I pass him by. Maybe next time pal...but next time wasn't as far off as I thought, and here is where the weirdness comes....less than 5 minutes later, approaching another curve in the road....is the exact same man by the side of the road. I smoked some pot back in the day I'll admit but my memory isn't so shot that I forget such an out of place figure inside of 5 minutes. I've already admitted I wasn't going that fast but I was going a damn sight faster than a man goes on foot in a rainstorm I know that much. The road is curvy there, but at no point does it curve back on itself in such a way as to allow a pedestrian to go cross country and come out ahead either. It simply is not possible...but there he was. It still gives me a tiny chill..just like it did at the time. I actually started to slow down a bit just in disbelief and to confirm what I was seeing. I couldn't make out his features in the poor light of my high beams, not through the awful rain, but I can't mistake that hat. And I didn't see eyes but I know we were making eye contact. It was a very surreal moment. With nothing else to do I gave myself a mental shake and sped up as much as I dared and put it behind me, so I thought.
I had almost convinced myself I had merely been road dazed or something. It happens, usually not to me but occasionally. You just get so strung out from a long drive that your brain sort of goes into autopilot. Unsettling. But I hadn't been driving *that* long, I was maybe 5 or 6 hours in. But I'd almost convinced myself when after about another 20 minutes or so....you guessed it, Mr. Hat is back at the side of the road. The rains let up a bit by now and there is no mistaking at all that its the same figure. I won't do the math because frankly I suck at it, but this guy has gone the same distance on foot in roughly 30 minutes that I have in a car traveling between 30 and 60 mph, when on a straight bit...just give this guy the gold if he shows up at the summer games. That little joke just came to me now as I write this, and its quite clever I thought btw, but at the time what I felt i will describe as my previous little chill's big brother. I was literally shaking all over at the sheer impossibilty of it. I did not slow down to confirm this time, I gunned it as much as I deemed safe and then some, and didn't let up until I got deep into Knoxville and found a service station to pull over, gas up, and calm down. I was sitting at the pump for probably a good 20-30 minutes, I was that shook up.
I have no idea what exactly I saw that night, and I don't overly want to know to be entirely honest. I won't *utterly* dismiss the possibility of 3 separate hitchers with very similar hats, as I like to think of myself as open minded, and the simplest explanation is usually the truth and all that...but frankly I don't find that explanation all that simple. I'll let the readers decide I guess.
The rest of my trip, as well as the return trip, continued without incident. I've definately crossed the country coast to coast a time or two since that night but I've never had another experience I would call 'ghostish' (is that a word?) although there have been a few other weird incidents over the years, this is the only one I feel merits a place in your archives.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully believing. I welcome opinions, especially if you've experienced anything similar.
Please contact me at the below email address with any questions, concerns or similar experiences: