Phantom Vehicles: Haunted Transportation the World Over

It isn’t common.  It’s not something that often makes the news, even among paranormal groups.  Every so often, however, one runs across the term phantom vehicle and it sparks the imagination like few things can.

Stephen King knew this when he wrote his famous haunted car novel, Christine.  The title cars murderous rampage and her ability to rejuvenate herself is the stuff of nightmares.

But does it happen?  Do cars and airplanes and trains really become haunted?

You bet your life they do and their stories range from comic to terrifying.  Take a look at the list below, read up on some of my favorites, and don’t forget to leave your own stories in the comments below or share them with our readers by submitting your own encounters on the home page!

Eastern Airlines Flight 401

12/30/1972, Bill Minor/Miami Herald Staff -- Night rescue scenes at crash site of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 in the Everglades.

12/30/1972, Bill Minor/Miami Herald Staff — Night rescue scenes at crash site of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 in the Everglades.

One of the most prolifically documented cases of vehicular haunting, Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crashed into the swamps of Florida in 1972, but the crash was the beginning of this story, not its end.

It seems that the airline took still working parts from the crashed plane and used them in other planes.  It was a fiscally wise decision, but, as they would soon learn, the decision had repercussions they never even considered.

Not long after these new planes began flying with the salvaged parts, flight crews and passengers began noticing strange things on board.  It was noted that apparitions of the dead crew would appear mid-flight and during pre-flight checks.  And, in one fascinating story supposedly the face of the co-pilot appeared in a salvaged oven and warned the flight attendants of a fire.  The last leg of that particular journey was cut short due to a fire in one of the engines.

The ill-fated flight has spurred the imagination of filmmakers, songwriters, and authors alike.

The Jumping Car of Cape Town

Phantom Vehicles

In 2004,  in Cape Town, South Africa, a Renault Megane took on a life of its own.  Understand, I mean that exactly.

No less than nine witnesses, including two police officers, witnessed the vehicle turn itself on and begin to “jump” backwards uphill.  The strange case was written off by the auto manufacturer as a mechanical defect, but the witnesses were never convinced.  The neighbor’s broken fence and a damaged hibiscus tree bore the brunt of the car’s malice that day, and the owners were seeking a new vehicle before the week was out.

“Little Bastard”, James Dean’s Porsche 500 Spyder

Phantom Vehicles

The world lost James Dean far too soon.  The young actor’s talent was legendary.  Likewise, his death and the car he was riding in that fateful day is the stuff of legend, as well.  Dean was killed on the way to a race in Salinas, CA when his car flipped into a gully.  The tragic death shocked the world, but it was what happened to later owners of the car that landed it on this list.

Once again, after the tragic accident, parts of the car were sold to other vehicle owners.  Two men, both doctors, entered the same race.  Both cars carried parts from Little Bastard.  During the accident, both cars were involved in accidents, and one of the doctors was killed.  The California Highway Patrol acquired the car and attempted to use it as an object lesson to warn drivers to be safe.

At one point, the car was being taken to a high school when it somehow came loose from its bindings and caused a fatal accident.  At another point, Little Bastard was being displayed at a local garage.  The building burned down, leaving only Little Bastard unharmed among the debris.  But perhaps the most mysterious occurrence of all took place when, after they’d had enough, the CHP decided to return the car to George Barris, a former friend of Dean’s.  Somewhere mid-transit, the car simply disappeared from its transport.

London’s Phantom Bus

Phantom Vehicles

Since the 1930s, somewhere along Cambridge Gardens, wtinesses in London have repeated witnessed a phantom bus that appears from nowhere.  The bus is a typical London red double-decker with line number “7”.  It appears with no lights on and swerving at high speeds along the road headed straight for oncoming traffic.  Many have swerved to miss the bus over decades, and almost all of them report that after passing up the double-decker, they look back to find the vehicle has vanished.

The Golden Eagle


Dubbed the Golden Eagle, this car seemed cursed from its very beginning.  The 1964 Dodge 330 was initially used as a police vehicle.  That is until three different officers who were assigned the car killed their families and committed suicide.  Successive owners afterward also met similar violent ends.  Furthermore, when some locals vandalized the vehicle, police never had a chance to arrest them.  They all met violent, tragic deaths shortly after their act of vandalism.  It is reported that a local church, fearing the car possessed, performed an exorcism on the vehicle, chopped it into pieces, and spread them about in a bid to end the evil car’s ability to harm.  However, it has been reported that a new “owner” has been seeking out the destroyed pieces to attempt to reassemble the vehicle.  One can only wonder why…

These stories are enough to frighten even the most ardent fan of the paranormal.  What say you readers?

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