Wanderlust: Meeting a road ghost

by Alex Vick

“It was 2010 and my little brother and I left Durango in July, I think. It was summer. We hitchhiked from here through Utah to Idaho, Oregon, Washington, back through Idaho, and now we’re in Montana.

Sometimes the sun goes down on you and you’re standing on the side of the road and you have to find a spot to be – a little hidden, a little safe, but not too far from the highway because that means we’re on someone’s property or gonna spend a bunch of time in the morning getting back to the road.

We were a little outside of a bigger city and it got to a point of needing to find a place to camp for the night. A jog down the road there was a tree by a ditch. It was perfect because it had a little bit of cover. We didn’t bring a tent but we had a tarp to make a lean-to.

We set up the tarp, smoked a little weed, ate dinner – canned stuff. It was dusky and almost dark. We started to wind down. There’s traffic going by, but a noise stands out that is way more distinct. Me and my little brother, we grew up in a Southern Baptist household. You know the chattering of people coming out of church? Everyone’s high-pitched and friendly. It’s that sound becoming distinct over the sound of the traffic. All around us is tall grass – 3, 4 feet tall – and it sounds like a group of women are walking through the grass like – shhhh, shhhh, shhhh – of dresses against grass and that garbled church chatter.

I ask my little brother, ‘Do you hear this?’ He says, ‘Yeah, it sounds like a group of ladies out in the field.’ We were trying to scope it out but stay low. This is happening for half an hour. Then I happen to look up and there’s the shape of a little girl sitting in the tree but she’s in grayscale and she’s distorted. Almost Picasso-y. She’s wearing a bonnet and a pioneer dress. It was a scrawny tree and it was the only branch someone could manage to sit on without breaking. She looked like a settler’s daughter.

I lean to my little brother and ask, ‘Hey, do you see that little girl in the tree?’ He says, ‘Yeah, don’t talk about it.’

Eventually my little brother taps me and points, and the figure was no longer there. I think she was sitting there about 15 to 20 minutes. We were petrified. As soon as I asked him and he told me not to talk about it made it so much more real. Like, OK, now there is a presence and we both see it and if we vocalize it more, that gives it power. It felt uncomfortable but not evil, but if we talked about it, it would make the ghost firmer in our reality.

After she was gone, the noise stopped, and we went to bed. I tried to bring it up with my little brother in the morning and he wouldn’t talk about it, and we haven’t talked about it since.”

Alex VickGot a travel story worth telling? Write it in about 400 words and send it to [email protected]. If you’d rather tell your story, send a brief synopsis to the same address. Either way, your story should be true.


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