If you’re out driving on Halloween, here are some of the spookiest roads to avoid.
1. Electric Brae (A719), Ayrshire, Scotland
We’ll ease you in gently with a road that lets you ‘roll uphill’.
While it’s been at the heart of superstitious local stories for decades, the Electric Brae on the A719 is a gravity hill; when set against a visually confusing backdrop, the road appears to go uphill. There’s probably a perfectly logical explanation for the road’s apparent defiance of gravity but watching your car wander uphill under its own steam is still a mind-bending experience – and at first sight, a slightly spooky one.
2. Stocksbridge Bypass (A616), Sheffield to Manchester, England
This road, however, certainly ups the spooky stakes.
Rated by many ghosthunters as ‘the most haunted road in Britain’, since its construction in 1989 there have been dozens of reports from both drivers and passers-by experiencing ghostly activity; seeing, hearing and sometimes even feeling apparently unexplainable things. Scary reports include multiple sightings of young girls in old-fashioned clothes playing ring-a-ring o’roses around electricity pylons at midnight, as well as several experiences of cars being apparently hit while moving. In 1987, while the stretch of road was still being built, two security guards were once left hysterical after they saw children playing below the Pearoyd bridge, but when they went to approach them the children were nowhere to be seen, and some unknown force was holding the doors of their car closed.
Then, two police officers following up these reports said they saw a figure appear in quick succession at either side of their car. But on inspection, there was no one there.
3. ‘The Hairy Hands’ (B3212), Dartmoor, England
The history of accidents and near-misses on this road in England’s southwest is focused around the spectre of ‘The Hairy Hands’, with crash survivors telling of a feeling of loss of control of their cars, as if strange forces were directing them. In 2010, Devon filmmaker Ashley Thorpe even made a short film about the legend of ‘The Hairy Hands’. Maybe it’s best to watch it after you’ve done your day’s driving; The Hairy Hands is a nail-biter!
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4.The M6 motorway, southern Scotland to central England
This 230-mile stretch of road is one of Britain’s longest, and for spooky sightings – maybe even its most fabled. If any highway in Britain was to have a supernatural aura around it, it’s this one, given that this route has been used for centuries for cattle droving and cross-border trade between England and Scotland. If reports from the public are anything to go by, Roman soldiers were spotted on this stretch of the M6 walking in the direction of oncoming traffic, before disappearing.
5. Platt Lane, Westhoughton near Bolton, England
This route is near the scene of the 1910 Pretoria pit mining disaster, and may have been one that hundreds of miners used to walked to work every day. The underground explosion caused 344 deaths, and more than a century on there are still scary reports of eyes peering through bushes on Platt Lane, and ghostly figures – said to be the spirits of the deceased miners – wielding pickaxes before disappearing into the mist.
6. The Devil’s Highway (A666) Bolton, England
With an ominous highway number, this route was once cursed with an unusually high accident rate, and part of the problem was often said to be apparitions on the road, such as dark shadows which drivers have swerved dramatically to avoid, putting themselves in danger. But improvements to the route around the new millennium, such as lowering the speed limit from 70mph to 50mph and the banning of cyclists, meant they were reduced by 60%. Nevertheless, the A666 is said to cover stretches of ground where mineshafts have collapsed, and some are thought to have gone undiscovered to this day. It could be said that history is literally buried beneath the road.
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7. The A229, Sussex to Kent, England
A road on which drivers have had some truly scary stories to tell, the A229 has apparently been haunted by a number of spectres with distinct identities.
Drivers have reported ‘hitting’ pedestrians, before bringing their car to a shuddering halt, jumping out in a panic to check on the casualty, only to find there is no-one on the road. In one case on this road in the 1970s, a driver even covered the person he had ‘hit’ with a blanket before returning with the emergency services to find there was nobody there.
Even more spookily, the A229 is also famous for the reported sightings of a bride called Judith Langham, who tragically died in a crash on her wedding day, and is said to haunt the road.
Even wilder are the reports of conversations with ghosts in cars. A local yarn tells of a phantom hitchhiker who, when picked up, puts the world to rights, then disappears from the car mid-conversation.
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8. B3314 near Tintagel Cornwall, England
An area of ancient culture and once an independent kingdom, Cornwall is no stranger to folkloric tales. One legend concerns the B3314 road near Tintagel village, where holidaymakers and locals alike have seen a strange woman in Victorian attire walking unsteadily on the road. Panic-stricken drivers swerving to avoid this apparition have reportedly looked in their mirrors only to see her give a vacant stare, then disappear.
9. A21 near Sevenoaks, Kent, England
It might be located in a heavily populated area but there are nevertheless said to be roadside spirits on the loose in one of England’s historic counties.
Part of the A21 dual carriageway splits Old Gracious Lane in two, and it’s claimed that as a result, a mysterious force makes some of the road ‘disappear’, merging traffic head-on in some instances, to disastrous effect.
There is also said to be a cycling ghost, which meanders along the A21 stretch in the hours of darkness without lights. This pedal-powered apparition, said to have caught the passing glance of dozens of Kent drivers, has been linked with the death of a cyclist hit by a vehicle on this road at some time in the mid-20th century.
10. Kinmount Straight ‘Ghost Road’ (A75), Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Last but not least, the Kinmount Straight is locally known as ‘The Ghost Road’. And the tales told of ghoulish sightings on this road are sure to induce a Halloween fright.
Road users claim to have seen terrifying eyeless phantoms, surveying your progress through this poorly-lit rural road, and ghosts on horseback are also said to trot across it.
Even more scarily, drive from Gretna to Annan via Eastriggs, and you might experience an encounter with a well-dressed elderly fellow in tweed who appears out of nowhere!
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