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Are phantom vehicles that occur at night real, or is it just a myth?

I have always been fascinated by phantom vehicles, be they cars, buses, ships, planes or old-fashioned Hansom cabs. The traditional view of ghosts being the returning spirits of those who have lived does not seem to apply to the ghosts of inanimate objects, because how, for example, can a ghost ship like the legendary Flying Dutchman exist if it doesn’t possess a soul?

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People used to say the same about animals, that there simply can’t be ghostly horses, cats and dogs because they don’t possess a soul (and how anyone could think that animals do not possess a soul is beyond me).

The ghosts of some inanimate objects such as motor vehicles may in fact be the product of a timeslip. A case in point is the double bus crash with resulting carnage that was reported to the police by several people in December 1978.

People saw the overturned bus on New Chester Road, New Ferry, and some bystanders were left in shock when a second bus ran into it.

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Police and ambulance were alerted by dozens of traumatised people but when the emergency services arrived there was no trace of any double bus crash, and one man would have been charged with wasting police time only for the testimony of other people present who swore something very strange was going on and that they too had seen the horrific crash.

I later discovered that a double bus crash did occur at the spot at New Ferry in December 1938 which left three dead and over forty injured.

That then, might have had more to do with the mysterious workings of time and space than a ‘ghostly’ replay of a past tragedy. But how do we explain the following strange case?

In 2010 a 22-year-old lady named Jenny was staying with a friend on Coastal Drive, Wallasey. She’d fallen out with her parents because she’d dated a much older man (and former friend of the family) named William, but had recently split up from him.

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A friend of Jennifer bumped into her on Coastal Drive in March 2010 and told her that her former lover was seriously ill and had been asking for her a few days back.

Jenny had to go and see William but the only trouble was that she was stony-broke and she did not possess a car, and no one would even loan Jenny the money to get a train to see William, who lived down in Heswall.

Jenny’s friend told her to forget William, who was old enough to be her father, and move on, but Jenny decided she would try and hitch-hike down to Heswall, and she sneaked out of her friend’s Wallasey home at 9:30pm and she walked to Bayswater Road and stood at the kerb, close to St Nicholas’ Church.

Some cars stopped and a few solitary drivers asked, ‘How much?’ and Jenny stepped back after uttering a few profanities, but around 9:40pm, a brown Jaguar pulled up by Jenny and the driver, a long-haired man with a moustache in his late twenties or early thirties leaned across the front passenger seat and shouted through the nearside window, ‘Are you looking for a lift?’ to which Jenny replied, ‘Yes, I desperately have to get to Heswall!’

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The door of the Jag was thrown open and Jenny climbed in.

Before she even had time to put on her seat belt the Jag was tearing down Bayswater Road and the inertial forces pressed the girl back into the seat.

The car radio was playing Time of the Season by The Zombies and the driver was singing along with the song in a slightly tone-deaf voice, and throughout the journey, which must have lasted about thirty minutes, the man talked in a type of slang that sounded like a combination of an Austin Powers script and words Jenny had heard the Beatles use in interviews she’d seen on YouTube (as she was a big Fab Four fan).

When Jenny had asked the driver where he was from he had quickly changed the subject. Jenny started to suspect something about the man and his car was not quite right when she heard the presenter on the car radio remark that Apollo 12 had landed in Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms) on the moon before linking this statement to the rock band Procul Harum. Apollo 12 landed on the moon in November 1969.

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The unknown man dropped Jenny off at Tower Road South in Heswall and she thanked him profusely and he grabbed her hand and kissed her knuckles before she left, then wrote down a telephone number on the back of Woodbine cigarette packet.

‘Please call me if you ever get lonely,’ he said, and tore off.

The roar of the Jaguar’s engine stopped dead at the junction of Pensby Road because that car was suddenly not there – it had literally vanished. Jenny looked up and down Pensby Road but there was no Jag to be seen.

She later called the jotted down phone number out of curiosity and a man living on Hill Bark Road, Frankby said the man who had given her a lift had been the ghost of his older brother, Paul, who had died in a car crash in 1970.

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He also said this was not an isolated incident – his late brother’s ghost had given other people lifts as well, and he asked to see the telephone number Paul had written down, just to keep as a memento, but Jenny hung up and threw the number away, as the whole thing had creeped her out.

One of the strangest cases of a phantom vehicle was the futuristic 24-wheel Heavy Goods Vehicle of some sort that four men found on Raby Mere Road in July 1982.

A 68-year-old man named Patrick was walking with his three work friends, Richard, Roy and Sid, all in their thirties, along Raby Mere Road (not far from the Wheatsheaf Inn) to visit a man who was selling a car that Patrick was interested in.

Patrick noticed the huge silvery grey juggernaut parked up on the lane adjacent to a field where horses were grazing.

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The four men went to the mammoth vehicle and inspected it. At one point a door in the driver’s cab hissed open – and stayed open for some minutes.

His curiosity piqued, Patrick climbed into the vehicle and saw the interior was lit up with monitors and multicoloured lights with three padded seats.

The set-up looked more like a plane cockpit than a HGV cab. The four men were looking around the interior when the vehicle started up on its own.

Patrick got behind the wheel and steered the vehicle and noted it was an automatic. He saw there were no dials to read – the speedometer was on a screen and its limit was 300mph.

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‘What the blazes is this thing?’ Patrick asked, and suggested pulling over and leaving it before he got into trouble but his three friends seemed excited and told him to ‘drive on for a bit’.

One of the men – Roy – opened a door that led into the back of the immense vehicle and saw it contained a long control room of some sort with more banks of screens and he found a plastic folder with rows of figures and unintelligible words written in it, and one of them read: Sunday, 12 June 2044.

Another entry in the folder described an attack on ‘a group of robots’.

Roy thought it might be all some sci-fi film script and went back to the cab. By now the vehicle was being pulled over by two police cars.

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Patrick got out with his friends, and a policeman asked him what type of vehicle it was.

Patrick said he didn’t know and that he’d been silly trying to drive it. He told them where he had found the ‘truck’. There was an argument with Patrick and an overzealous policeman who doubted his story when someone noticed that the futuristic vehicle had gone.

One shocked policeman said the vehicle had slowly faded away.

Unable to think outside the box and to get their heads around something that was inexplicable, the police eventually left, and Patrick looked at the huge tyre tracks in the soil that came to an abrupt end. He was as baffled as the police as to what that vehicle was.

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Tom Slemen

Tom Slemen is a Liverpool writer, known foremostly as the author of the best-selling Haunted Liverpool series of books which document paranormal incidents and unsolved or unusual crimes. Check his Books on Amazon here.

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