A Gloucestershire Road Ghost? A CJ case from 1996
In late autumn 1969 a young couple were driving down the Cheltenham road through Longlevens (a suburb of Gloucester, UK), when a girl appeared in front of the windscreen. The time was approximately 11.30pm and they were coming from Oxstalls in Gloucester and heading to Churchdown were the young lady lived, a distance of less than 5 miles. The two were courting and he was driving her home. For the sake of this report we will call them Mr Black and Miss White.
As they drove the short distance to her home, a journey they had made many times before they appeared to run down a child of about 12 years old. They had passed Anderson’s garage (now the BP Garage) and at the same time as the Miss White screamed Mr Black slammed on the brakes. However, it was too late, and they felt themselves drive over the body.
Miss White continued to scream “you’ve killed her” and the poor Mr Black got out of the car to find the body, and call an ambulance. Both were extremely shaken and deeply upset about having run into this child and when they couldn’t find the body they panicked. Mr Black looked at the front of the car to examine whereabouts he had run into her, and yet there were no marks, broken lights or dents anywhere on the car. However both had seen her and both had felt as if they had driven over her. He went to look a second time for the body; perhaps she had ended up further away? Still he could not find her.
The couple eventually married but never satisfactorily resolved what had happened on that night.
Such experiences are of course not uncommonly reported; they are often described as “road-ghosts.” Recent investigations have shown that in February 1963 a woman was killed on the exact spot where the apparitional experience occurred, which is incidentally some 500m from the nearest surface fault line, too far for us to consider this as relevant. There is no particular reason to connect the two incidents at this time, though work continues.
Often “road-ghost” experiences occur to drivers who are severely fatigued or have driven long distances. In this case neither applies. Another common factor is that the anomalous experience occurs in a rural area; in this case it occurred in a busy suburb, with considerable traffic and in a residential area. There was no feeling of disruption of normal consciousness before or during the experience.
The length of road in question is straight (unlike many road ghosts which appear after a sharp bend), and was in 1969 as today well lit. The modern garage has moved about 20m along the road towards Cheltenham, but the original site of Anderson’s Garage is apparent if the area is inspected.
There is one last factor which may be relevant. While researching we spoke with local children who claimed to have seen a “ghost lady wearing blue” walk through the wall of a burnt out building situated in an alley immediately opposite where the experience occurred. On walking around to the other side of this wall we found an electricity sub-station, which presumably emits a powerful electrical field. We have not been able to trace if this was here in 1969, but it is about 10 meters from the spot where the road ghost appeared.
The children who witnessed the apparition of the “blue lady” were habitual substance abusers, sniffing glue and lighter fluid. We did not pursue their sighting further as their testimony is highly unreliable, but the original Mr & Mrs Black were as far as we could tell reliable witnesses.