Lydia, the Ghostly Hitchhiker
No matter from whence we hale, most of us ghost enthusiasts have heard the story of the teenage girl killed on the highway on her way to (or from) her high school prom. Since the time of her death, her ghost is encountered by many drivers on the same highway where she lost her life. Usually she is spotted standing by the highway in her white prom dress. The driver picks her up to give her a lift, only to see her disappear in front of his (usually it’s a male) eyes.
Sometimes the story goes along a bit differently: the driver drops her off at her house, then goes back to check on her later only to be told by her aged mother that the girl had been killed on that highway many years ago, and that he wasn’t the first man to meet her daughter’s spirit.
Some people believe the original story is about a young woman named Lydia, who was killed on the way to her home in High Point from a dance in Raleigh in 1923.
The scene of her death was on a paved road linking Greensboro and High Point. Lydia and her boyfriend were driving through a railroad underpass in Jamestown, where they collided with another vehicle, killing Lydia instantly.
Over the years, teenager s and other residents from the Jamestown area claim to have seen Lydia sometimes near a dirt road that passes by the underpass.
On a rainy early spring morning in 1924, one of the travelers of Highway 70 (now High Point Road), Burke Hardison, saw a young dark-haired woman in a party dress standing by the side of the road near the old underpass, appearing to gesture for help.
Hardison claims he pulled over and gave the girl a lift. She told him that she needed to get home to High Point right away because her mother would be so worried about her.
The girl gave Hardison her address, and then she apparently fell asleep. He awakened her as they neared their destination, and tried to find out her story. She told him little, only that her name was Lydia and she needed to get home.
When they arrived at the girl’s home, Hardison got out of the vehicle to open her car door. When he got to her side of the car, the girl had disappeared!
Unable to contain his curiosity, Hardison went to the door of the house where the girl claimed to live. When he knocked on the door, a woman told him that she knew why he was there. She went on to say that although he thought he had been giving her daughter, Lydia, a ride home, her daughter had been dead for some years. She told him that several people had knocked on her door with the same story. The woman was very sad, and “wished someone could bring her daughter home.”
Roberts, Nancy. Illustrated Guide to Ghosts & Mysterious Occurrences in The Old North State. New Jersey: Castle Books, 1975.
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