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Phantom vehicle

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Title: Phantom vehicle  
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Subject: Haunted highway, Urban Legends, List of reportedly haunted locations in the United States, Ghosts, Knights of Ålleberg
Collection: Phantom Vehicles, Urban Legends
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Phantom vehicle

Phantom vehicle may refer to a supposed ghostly or haunted vehicle, or, for insurance purposes, a vehicle that causes injury, death, or damage without making physical contact.


  • Terminology 1
  • Types of phantom vehicles 2
    • Cars and trucks 2.1
    • Trains 2.2
    • Planes 2.3
    • Boats and ships 2.4
  • Popular culture 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


In legal terms for insurance purposes, a phantom vehicle is one that causes bodily injury, death, or property damage to an insured vehicle, but has no physical contact;[1] for example, a run-off-road accident caused by a car in the opposing direction drifting partly over the centre line of a highway.

More popularly, a phantom vehicle is a supposed ghostly or haunted vehicle. No such phenomena have been scientifically verified and no research on this topic appears in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. However, many people find such stories fascinating and they are common in urban legends and entertainment.

Types of phantom vehicles

Cars and trucks

  • In 1982, two people in Lanikai, Hawaii reported seeing a mysterious black car which disappeared and reappeared again a second later.[2]
  • In 1995, an eyewitness saw a brown 1960s car that had bumper stickers, the witness passed the car but it mysteriously reappeared ahead of the witness's car at several stoplights. Also the witness noticed that the driver was a man in his teens and that he never turned his head and he never moved the steering wheel when the man drove around the "dead man's curve" the witness said.[3]
  • 2004, In Cape Town, South Africa, a Renault sedan mysteriously rolled up an embankment and hit a fence, despite the fact that the handbrake was engaged and the engine was off. Some say the car was "jumping".[4]
  • In the mid-1980s, three people in a sedan reported seeing a gray van heading straight towards them. Then suddenly the van vanished.[5]
  • The Curse of "Little Bastard": the mid-1950s Porsche 550 Spyder in which James Dean died is said to be cursed after the accidents in which it has been later involved.[6]
  • In Australia, there is a story of the ghost truck of Kaniva where a driver was 'driven through' by a mysterious, 1940s' style big rig truck painted green.
  • In Germany, a car mysteriously started up by itself and rammed a wall.[7]
  • In 2000, an eyewitness claimed that an old truck started up by itself and blinked at him as he walked past an old house.[8]
  • Early 1980s - a British motorist crashed his car in order to avoid a truck that suddenly appeared coming straight towards him and then vanished.[9]
  • The curved road at the junction of St. Marks Road and Cambridge Gardens in Ladbroke Grove was reported to be haunted by a phantom bus with a route marker "7" which caused numerous accidents, one of which was fatal. The reports subsided when the area of road was straightened.[10]



  • Spirits of passengers and crew have allegedly been seen on planes containing parts from Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 which crashed in Florida in 1972.
  • In 1997, eyewitnesses claimed they saw a single-engine plane crash. But when the coast guard searched the waters off Connecticut, they could not find any wreckage or bodies. Also none of the airports reported any planes missing.[14]

Boats and ships

  • The Flying Dutchman, a ship manned by a captain condemned to eternally sail the seas, has long been the main legend of ghost ships.
  • The Mary Celeste is perhaps the most historically famous derelict.

Popular culture

See also


  1. ^ RCW 48.22.030: Underinsured, hit-and-run, phantom vehicle coverage to be provided — Purpose — Definitions
  2. ^ "Ghost Car In Lanikai". Castle of Spirits. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Ghost Car in Broad Daylight Afternoon". Castle of Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Carin Smith (2004-11-21). Haunted' car goes haywire"'".  
  5. ^ "The Ghost Car". Your True Tales. October 2003. p. 22. 
  6. ^ Curse of James Dean
  7. ^ "Wreck ignition for 'ghost car' that started on its own". Cape Times (Kempten, Germany). November 7, 2005. Archived from the original on Apr 27, 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  8. ^ The Old Rusty Ghost truck
  9. ^ "Coventry and Warwickshire - Places - Spooky tales to chill your spine".  
  10. ^ Jeffrey, Martin. "The Ghost Bus of Ladbroke Grove". Haunted Britain. Mystery magazine. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  11. ^ af Klintberg, Bengt, Råttan i pizzan. Stockholm: Norstedts Förlag, 1992. ISBN 91-1-893831-0
  12. ^ Yanko, Dave. "Mystery Solved?". Virtual Saskatchewan. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  13. ^ "Abe Lincoln's Ghost Train". HallowFreaks. Archived from the original on Oct 5, 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  14. ^ Phantom Plane Crashes
  15. ^ Blades at the Internet Movie Database
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