Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hallowe'en Countdown 24: Haunted Roads

Clinton Road, NJ, USA.  Image Source: Weird Worm.

It's that frightening hour again, when we see whether investigative experts can take on the paranormal unknown.  In this case, haunted roads are a staple of ghost lore.  There're such old standbys that it seems nothing could drag the haunted road narrative kicking and screaming into the post-Postmodern Millennial era.  In the end, it was the Brits who managed it in 2010.  But first off, we need some good, solid, scary haunted road accounts as 'controls,' as points of comparison.  The best classic haunted road story currently floating around has got to be Clinton Road, New Jersey, USA.

Clinton Road, New Jersey, The Most Terrifying Road in the USA

For the chilling history of Clinton Road, American's most frightening thoroughfare, known to play intensely with the imaginations of motorists, go here. It involves Satanists, the mob and the KKK, mutant animals and a little dead boy under a bridge in the road.  Yahoo reports on this haunted highway, courtesy of Joe Dorish, who traveled on Clinton road to meet some friends buying a nearby house (thanks to -J.):
There were no homes along the road and no connecting roads. Clinton Road was very curvy and kept winding around between different bodies of water. At one point, I saw what looked like shack off to the right along a dirt driveway, and later on, I saw an old kiln by the road. But other than that, there was nothing along Clinton Road. Isolation was the word that came to my mind to describe the road.

After about 10 miles, I reached the street off Clinton Road where the house was. The house was great, with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a finished basement. It was perfect for Julie, Mark, and their kids. While looking at the house, I mentioned how creepy Clinton Road was. Julie's realtor shot me a look and looked like she wanted say something not particularly nice to me, but she said nothing.

On the way home, I went down Clinton Road just as it was getting dark. I had not gone more than a couple miles down the road when headlights appeared out of nowhere behind me. The headlights came right up behind me and then backed off. I was not in a hurry, so I slowed down and put my blinker on to let the vehicle pass, but the headlights also slowed. The headlights kept following me down Clinton Road until I got near Route 23, and then suddenly, the headlights disappeared.

A few weeks later, Julie invited me and another cousin of ours, Mike, back to the house. They had made an offer on the property, and it was accepted, so they were having a little party one night after work. Mike and I drove up Clinton Road to get to the house. Within a mile of turning on Clinton Road, headlights again appeared out of nowhere and rushed up to us, but then backed off. I told Mike the same thing happened the first time on the road.

The headlights kept following us, and I was keeping an eye on them in the rearview mirror when Mike shouted, "Look out!" I hit the brakes and saw something like a giant white rabbit running off into the woods. Mike asked what it was, and I told him it was likely an albino deer. I had worked at the fenced-in Hercules complex in Roxbury, New Jersey, for a few years, and there was an albino deer on the grounds then. It would look like a lot of different things when it ran around at night. 
As we finally approached some lights in the distance, the headlights behind us vanished as if they were never there. We went into the house and it was pretty cold, as the heat didn't work. Mike told everyone about the headlights and the creature that ran in front of us on Clinton Road. One of the neighbors Julie and Mark had met and invited over, John, came over at the mention of Clinton Road.

"Clinton Road," he said, "is the most haunted road in America." John told us he had lived in West Milford his whole life and that Clinton Road was to be avoided at all costs. He told us a frozen dead body had been found along the road a few years ago. Clinton Road was where the mob dumped their dead bodies. He said that Satan worshipers would also gather along the road and then row out to an island in the middle of one of the lakes and perform satanic rituals.

He also said that strange creatures lived along Clinton Road. They were the result of interbreeding between the local animals and the wild animals that escaped from Jungle Habitat, which was a wild animal amusement park located in West Milford that was run by Warner Brothers in the 1970s. After Warner Brothers closed the park in late 1976, they were rumored to have let a lot of the animals just go into the local woods rather than pay to have them transported somewhere else.

He told us the headlights we had seen were from ghosts that would appear out of nowhere and follow cars along the road at night. That's why the headlights suddenly appeared and disappeared. Mike and I laughed at what the neighbor told us, but we also asked him for another road to take out of there. He told us to take Union Valley Road, which paralleled Clinton Road and was not haunted. 

A frightening video apparently of the truck that follows people at night, flashing its headlights, on Clinton Road. Video Source: Youtube.

Travel Channel: Clinton Road.  Video Source: Youtube.

New Jersey Paranormal Research investigates Clinton Road

New Jersey Paranormal Research investigated legends surrounding Clinton Road and then used modern high tech equipment to test the environment. Results included a spike in Electro-Magnetic Frequency (EMF) readings, but NJPR concluded that Clinton Road's hauntings are more fiction than fact.

Also in New Jersey: Shades of Death Road, another reputed site of paranormal activity.

Tuen Mun Road, Hong Kong

Carhire reports on Tuen Mun Highway, built in 1977 through difficult, winding coastal terrain:
Considered one of the deadliest roads in the world, Tuen Mun Road has seen countless fatalities over the years. The road is also the most important and one of the most used roads in Hong Kong, so it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Tuen Mun Road is a catch-22 of haunting: Ghosts of those who have been killed on the road are said to step into traffic, causing motorists to swerve out of the way and get into serious or fatal accidents themselves. These new victims then return as ghosts to cause even more accidents on the road.
While motorists blame the accidents on hauntings, Wiki has a long article debunking the ghosts in a pretty straightforward fashion. It explains the road's bad record in terms of its poor design, narrow lanes, and substandard geometry.

Russia's Haunted Country Road

This account should be a red flag in the evolution of the post-Postmodern haunted road ghost story.  Stories of this road seem to be an Internet urban legend.  They are reported and cut and pasted over and over by bloggers with no supporting information or 'core' original article against which you could verify the rumours.  There are many versions of this account online, with the same info repeated below, but no indication as to where this road is, exactly. From Dark Roasted Blend:
The "Haunted Road" in Russia

There are also rumors of seemingly quite normal 30 km stretch of Russian country road, which nevertheless gets an unexplained amount of car accidents; the locals suspect underground gas seepage which causes motorists to fall asleep...

This creepy tale is supported by the evidence of car crash statistics and the tales of survivors, who do not remember anything prior to the crash and act strangely "drugged" afterwards. Hopefully this will be properly investigated before the road claims more victims.
The Russian story adds credence to the idea that ghost stories, urban legends, and oral narrative traditions in general are evolving online to create new basic mythologies.  This pattern appears in UK cases as well.

Scotland's A75, the Ghost Road

 Image Source: Weird Worm.

From Weird Worm:
Annan Road, the name often applied to a particular fifteen-mile long stretch of Scotland’s A75, has been regarded for decades as one of the most haunted roads in the world. Since the 1950s, the site has been home to strange apparitions which frighten motorists. Among the most disturbing accounts is that of two brothers whose late night trip became nothing short of a nightmare.

Traveling home together after a vacation, Derek and Norman Ferguson, aged 22 and 14, respectively, expected a fairly peaceful ride. It was around midnight, and their car was the only vehicle on the road. The horror began when, without a warning, a large white bird flew directly towards the windshield. Derek attempted to maneuver around it, but it seemed as if there was no time to swerve around, and the animal was going to hit them. Strangely, though, it seemed to disappear just as it was about to collide with the vehicle. The bird was followed quickly by the appearance of a hysterical old woman who rushed towards the car, a similarly maniacal old man, and an assortment of animals. Although, like the bird, all seemed as though they were going to be run over by the car, Derek never struck any of them; indeed, aside from the shared visions of the two brothers, no evidence whatsoever existed to suggest that any of these beings were real.

To add to the terror of the experience, both young men suddenly began to feel the temperature within the car drop to extremely low levels. The sounds of laughing and mocking voices were heard, and Derek began to feel as though he was no longer in control of the car, which had begun to shake violently. When he stopped the car and got out, the phenomena ceased, only to begin again once he resumed driving. The ordeal lasted until the brothers finally reached the town of Annan.

Since the events of that evening, there have been numerous reports of similar experiences, although none have matched the intensity of what the Ferguson brothers went through. Motorists have reported seeing strange old men or women standing in front of their cars and disappearing just as they are about to be run over. Many local residents maintain that there is something very bizarre about the road, and all travelers should beware when they venture down it.
Additional hauntings are reported on the A616 and the A38; also, the A229. The UK has plenty of other haunted roads:

1. The M6, considered the most haunted in England, it has been a functioning road for 2,000 years
2. The A9 in the Highlands
3. Platt Lane, Leigh, Manchester
4. High Street and Suffield Road in Great Yarmouth
5. Gloucester Drive, Finsbury Park, north London
6. The B4293 at Devauden, Wales
7. The B3314 near Tintagel, Cornwall
8. Loch Dornoch, Highlands
9. The B1403 near Doncaster, South Yorkshire
10. Drews Lane, Ward End, Birmingham.

This list was compiled by a company named Tarmac, which was commissioned to assess the most haunted roads in the UK as a sideline to its usual activities of assessing roads and developing road-building materials.

Sometimes, the appearance of rational investigation actually fuels the whole ghostly mythology and propels it right into the twilight zone.  Case in point: perhaps one of the most elaborate and utterly bizarre reports on highway haunting come from 2010 internet articles; these refer to police investigations of an extortion racket linked to seeming paranormal activity on the M6 and a similar incident on the Avenue de New York in Paris.  Sketchy details on serious highway crashes, which seemed to involve motorists momentarily disappearing into thin air and reappearing, as well as strange lights and a police cover-up, are here.

It's wild and woolly stuff: read on if you dare.  But I warn you, this is an X-files-styled jumble of mysterious highway lights, evaporating drivers, CCTV footage, UFO conspiracy theories, suspect policemen, autopsy body-tampering and sinister shadowy financial interests will make your head buzz:
Police have been keen to suppress speculation about the arrest and also play down the rumours that these incidents involved elements of the paranormal. But speculation has been rife and whilst no firm denials have been issued by the police about the circumstances surrounding some of the incidents, any suggestion of paranormal activity has been strongly refuted.

They are also keen to stress that this arrest is only the first of what they think will be several arrests in what they think could be either an elaborate prank or extortion racket.

As the events unfolded on Monday at breathtaking speed I was contacted by the police and invited to attend a interview session with the arresting officer Detective Roger Silverton and have been granted permission to publish extracts from that interview.

Initially I was taken by a police custody van to a location deep in the countryside and escorted out of the van and down into what appeared to be an old underground war bunker.

I was then led into a room and sat at desk opposite Detective Silverton. I was told that I had about fifteen minutes to interview him and after that would be taken back to Manchester; there were no other journalists present.

My first question concerned the first reports of the incident on the M6 and also about the exact location.

Detective Silverton stated that the accident took place within a 20 mile radius of Birmingham on the M6 southbound carriageway but the exact location was kept secret because they were concerned about public safety, believing that people would flood to the location and also they were keen to avoid a multitude of false statements about the incident.

When asked about the alleged flash of light that was apparently seen on the CCTV footage from the scene Detective Silverton said that they now believe this was caused by a lightening strike nearby the location at the time. He did not offer any explanation for the lack of human tissue found in the cars at the front of the accident; citing that this has not been confirmed by anyone other than an anonymous source who they believe was acting from the inside on behalf of the man they hold in custody.

But answers were still thin on the ground and whilst no full denial was issued about the prospect that some of the facts still being unexplainable, Detective Silverton continually reiterated that what had hampered their investigations the most had been the speculation and rumour as this was now attracting 'every person who has ever thought they have seen a UFO' and wasting a lot of time and resource.

I then moved on to the incidents at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital located in the centre of Paris. He said this was not within his jurisdiction but that the investigation team in Paris had been in contact with his department due to certain similarities surrounding the events.

These similarities included the use of vehicles to create a 'scene' on a popular Parisian route in order to gain maximum attention from the public and also the reports of a bright light from several witnesses.

I again concentrated on the Paris incident and asked about the witness reports of some of the vehicle occupants momentarily disappearing and that the injuries revealed from the autopsy reports were not consistent with those that would be associated with a car crash; I was told that the only official information they have shared has been the common identity of the main suspects and the similarities of the incidents themselves. The only additional item of information I was given was that the accident itself took place on the Avenue de New York, near to the Eiffel Tower.

He offered no comment on the allegations of body tampering in the morgue.

Detective Silverton was also keen to play down rumours of time travel and indeed any other aspect of paranormal activity insisting that a logical explanation could be attributed to each allegations made in the recent spate of articles about the M6 and Paris incidents, insisting that the public 'needn't be concerned and that no evidence uncovered so far pointed to anything but an elaborate prank'

I turned my attention to an earlier comment that his team felt this was part of an extortion racket to which Detective Silverton replied that 'people will pay large amounts of money for anything considered to be proof of life beyond death, proof of extra terrestrial life or even evidence of the ability to travel through time. This group of people seem to be capable of creating the illusion that paranormal activity of some type was responsible for these incidents and we are tracing some artifacts on the black market that appear to be linked to both the Paris and M6 incidents'. I asked if the fraud squad was also involved then given that this was technically a case that also fell under their jurisdiction; Detective Silverton offered no response.

When questioned about the identity of the suspect I was told that for his own protection that will remain anonymous and that this will remain the case until the other suspects that are actively being sought are arrested. When asked about why the suspect would be transferred to London I have been told that the main investigative team are based there along with all the evidence so this was purely a logistical decision; I was not offered an answer as to what department within the police force this team operate under but told it was not part of the Metropolitan Police.

Detective Silverton offered no clue as to the identity of the other suspects, only indicating that there investigations have led them to a financial institution in the City of London which is why extortion is being considered as a motive for the incidents.
But wait. We're not done.  A crazy diary entry that surfaced online about this case even more bizarrely described this case in relation to time travel; this excerpt is taken from the blog Phantoms and Monsters, whose author makes a skeptical remark at the end of this quotation:
Whilst I wasn't there when the accident happened, I am able to piece together a rough version of events from the subsequent confrontations with Silverton that happened as a result of it.

It was always going to be the case that the traders were keen both to stop my progress to Paris and also disrupt any other operations that were taking place by other members of the group that would interfere with their activities; that was a constant and never ending threat. Although neither myself or Roy could have imagined what lengths they would have gone to in order to derail our mission.

Effectively the events that were now taking place could have had serious repercussions for the timeline if they weren't thoroughly vetted prior to action, and I didn't think that would be high on the traders list of priorities.

But while Roy and I were left pondering how we could best deal with our accidental guests, further developments were ensuring our return to the twenty first century was going to be fraught with incident.

A serious accident had taken place on the M6 at the precise location we now found ourselves standing at the time we left our vehicles. So, whilst we were looking around in disbelief at the abandoned and overgrown motorway wondering what our next move was, the vehicles we were meant to be driving were out of control and causing the accident.

This crash involved about fifteen vehicles and blocked the M6. Miraculously no one was killed but there were several serious injuries and the motorway was closed for the rest of the day and long into the night as the investigations into the accident took place.

The duration of the closure was not entirely due to the time it took to clear up the carriageway, it was due to the meticulous nature of the investigation; and this was led by Roger Silverton.

Roger wasn't part of any police force based in Manchester, he was part of a division of special branch that was based in London. This division specialised in events that were of an unexplainable nature; namely UFO sightings, psychic phenomena and other such incidents. Obviously this gave whoever Roger really was the perfect cover to track and intercept us whilst staying on the right side of the law.

Because of the nature of the accident on the M6, Roger's division of special branch were notified and he was first to attend the scene; no doubt aware of our proximity because he was tracking our movements.

Roger would have greeted by an assortment of tangled vehicles all badly disfigured from the accident and dried blood stains on the inside of these vehicles; except three and this was the reason for the call to Roger's division by the accident investigation team.

The three vehicles we drove were devoid of any human tissue or blood to signify the presence of someone behind the steering wheel at the time of impact.

One thing I learned prior to getting embroiled in my current situation was that the police and also the media treated anything that could be construed as paranormal as a standing joke; there was always another, far more logical explanation. This was great for us as we could be secure in the knowledge that apart from disappearing in front of someone anything we said would be dismissed as pure fantasy.

But this accident could change that as, for the first time, significant evidence was now available to suggest that the M6 accident was not a straightforward, human error collision.

NOTE: this is a very strange incident. From what I am able to gather, this online diary entry (which I feel is a blog entry for a fictitious story) was written prior to the accident. As well, there are no explanations as to how this diary entry has been determined to be related to this incident, though the references are eerily similar. Was this a pre-cognative experience? Time travel? Movement between dimensions? If anyone has further information in regards to this incident, please post a comment...
Oh-kay. These are pseudo investigations as meta-meta-meta-fictions that go right off the off-ramp; you can read more on this paranormal M6 crash and the Parisian case here.  I'm not even going to try.  This stuff makes Clinton Road look humdrum and normal.  Happy Hallowe'en motoring, everyone.

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  1. The Doctor denies any involvement in these events. Haha.

    But why is it I have a problem rationalizing the French naming one of their streets after New York?

    Also, glad to contribute. -J

  2. Really great post! We here at TomTom have just done our own on the most haunted roads in the UK. Would love to read your thoughts! Check it out!


    Best wishes from TomTom