Phantoms of the Pocahontas Parkway Jul 27, 2014 13:54:25 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Jul 27, 2014 13:54:25 GMT -5
Spectral Horsemen of Route 895
One of the quickest ways to get in and out of Richmond, Virginia, is via Route 895, an 8.8-mile toll expressway also known as Pocahontas Parkway. Opened in stages between May and September 2002, it seemed to be a big hit with the commuting public. But judging from the events that followed, not everyone who lives – or, more accurately, lived – in the area was all that thrilled about it and they weren’t the least bit shy about making their feelings – and presence – known.
The strangeness began just days after the highway commenced operations. In short order, police, commuters and toll booth workers began seeing and hearing strange things – really strange things. One of the most chilling encounters occurred on the night of July 15, 2002, when a dumbfounded trucker pulled into a toll plaza and told the attendant – who duly filed a report – that he’d encountered three torch-carrying Indians in loincloths standing by the road. Even more unsettling, two more were on the road itself directly in front of his rig and only a quick blast from his air horn had prevented a collision.
The trucker, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, thought they might be protesters of some sort upset about the highway – and perhaps they were. But as the attendant probably already knew, these particular protesters weren’t of the human variety. On July 1 and 3, some two weeks prior, toll plaza workers themselves had called the Virginia State Police and reported a “trespasser” prowling about the place – a trespasser described as having “a cloudy-looking body” and only the vaguest outline of a head.
Law enforcement officers never found the almost-headless interloper, but they were soon busy checking out other such encounters. An engineer working late one night putting the finishing touches on the expressway bridge reported seeing a mounted Indian warrior galloping across the span. Unaware of the recent rash of paranormal sightings, he assumed the rider was merely a trespasser in a bizarre getup. He attempted to approach the individual and warm him “because you’re not allowed to have a horse on the interstate,” but the oddly-dressed horseman seemed to vanish into thin air.
The tales of ghostly encounters multiplied when accounts of the strange sightings began appearing in newspapers and on TV. Motorists passing the eastbound Pocahontas Parkway toll booth reported being chased by an Indian on horseback in full traditional dress, and, as if the job of night shift toll booth attendant wasn’t bad enough already, suddenly, employees had to endure a seemingly endless barrage of whoops and hollers from the nearby woods. The unsettling noises even gave the police the creeps. “Three separate times during our watch, I heard high-pitched howls and screams,” Corinne Geller of the Virginia State Police told the Times-Dispatch. “Not the kind of screams of a person in trouble, but whooping. There were at least a dozen to 15. I would say every hair on my body was standing up when we heard those noises.”
Not surprisingly, such tales quickly attracted a throng of sightseers, ghost-hunters and thrill-seeking teenagers, all of them trying to catch a glimpse of something unusual or hear the strange noises from the woods. “Actually, the ghost is so popular, the troopers are warning ghost-hunters not to get out of their cars,” said Sara Cross of the Virginia Department of Transportation. “It’s hazardous.”
Finally, the numerous visitors parking along 895’s shoulders late at night became too large and unruly for comfort and after a brief grace period, police started writing tickets and making arrests. But by the this time, the supernatural encounters had dwindled to almost nothing. Strangely, the more people who gathered at the highway, the fewer the visitations. Perhaps the ghost groupies inadvertently hit upon something the local spirits liked even less than the expressways – crowds of nosy people.
Sources: Suburban Legends: True Tales of Murder, Mayhem and Minivans by Sam Stall and The Richmond Times-Dispatch.