Phantom vehicle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Ghost car" redirects here. For usage referring to an unmarked police car, see Police car § Functional types. For custom car usage for a hypothetical model, see Custom car § Language. For navigation guide, see Automotive head-up display.

A phantom vehicle, for vehicle insurance purposes, is a vehicle that causes injury, death, or damage without making physical contact.[1] For example, a run-off-road accident can be caused by a car in the opposing direction drifting partly over the centre line of a highway, then veering away. The name refers to the fact that in most such cases, the driver of the phantom vehicle, much like a hit and run driver, leaves the scene, and thus in the subsequent accident investigation, the presence of the vehicle is known only through eye witness testimony, unless a dashcam records video evidence.

More popularly, a phantom vehicle is a supposed ghostly or haunted vehicle. No such phenomena have been scientifically verified and no research on this topic appears in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. However, many people find such stories fascinating and they are common in urban legends and entertainment.

Types of phantom vehicles[edit]

Cars and trucks[edit]

  • In 1982, two people in Lanikai, Hawaii reported seeing a mysterious black car which disappeared and reappeared again a second later.[2]
  • In 1995, an eyewitness saw a brown 1960s car that had bumper stickers, the witness passed the car but it mysteriously reappeared ahead of the witness's car at several stoplights. Also the witness noticed that the driver was a man in his teens and that he never turned his head and he never moved the steering wheel when the man drove around the "dead man's curve" the witness said.[3]
  • 2004, In Cape Town, South Africa, a Renault Mégane[4] sedan mysteriously rolled up an embankment and hit a fence, despite the fact that the handbrake was engaged and the engine was off. Some say the car was "jumping".[5]
  • In the mid-1980s, three people in a sedan reported seeing a gray van heading straight towards them. Then suddenly the van vanished.[6]
  • The Curse of "Little Bastard": the mid-1950s Porsche 550 Spyder in which James Dean died is said to be cursed after the accidents in which it has been later involved.[7]
  • In Australia, there is a story of the ghost truck of Kaniva where a driver was 'driven through' by a mysterious, 1940s' style big rig truck painted green.
  • In Germany, a car mysteriously started up by itself and rammed a wall.[8]
  • In 2000, an eyewitness claimed that an old truck started up by itself and blinked at him as he walked past an old house.[9]
  • Early 1980s - a British motorist crashed his car in order to avoid a truck that suddenly appeared coming straight towards him and then vanished.[10]
  • The curved road at the junction of St. Marks Road and Cambridge Gardens in Ladbroke Grove was reported to be haunted by a phantom bus with a route marker "7" which caused numerous accidents, one of which was fatal. The reports subsided when the area of road was straightened.[11]



  • Spirits of passengers and crew have allegedly been seen on planes containing parts from Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 which crashed in Florida in 1972.
  • In 1997, eyewitnesses from the eastern USA claimed they saw a single-engine plane crash. But when the coast guard searched the waters off Connecticut, they could not find any wreckage or bodies. Also none of the airports reported any planes missing.[15]

Boats and ships[edit]

Main article: List of ghost ships
  • The Flying Dutchman, a ship manned by a captain condemned to eternally sail the seas, has long been the main legend of ghost ships.
  • The Mary Celeste is perhaps the most historically famous derelict.

Popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ RCW 48.22.030: Underinsured, hit-and-run, phantom vehicle coverage to be provided — Purpose — Definitions
  2. ^ "Ghost Car In Lanikai". Castle of Spirits. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Ghost Car in Broad Daylight Afternoon". Castle of Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  4. ^ 'Ghost car' mystery revealed
  5. ^ Carin Smith (2004-11-21). "'Haunted' car goes haywire". News24. Somerset West. Archived from the original on Dec 8, 2004. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "The Ghost Car". Your True Tales. October 2003. p. 22. 
  7. ^ Curse of James Dean
  8. ^ "Wreck ignition for 'ghost car' that started on its own". Cape Times. Kempten, Germany. November 7, 2005. Archived from the original on Apr 27, 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  9. ^ The Old Rusty Ghost truck
  10. ^ "Coventry and Warwickshire - Places - Spooky tales to chill your spine". BBC Online. 2003-09-10. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Jeffrey, Martin. "The Ghost Bus of Ladbroke Grove". Haunted Britain. Mystery magazine. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  12. ^ af Klintberg, Bengt, Råttan i pizzan. Stockholm: Norstedts Förlag, 1992. ISBN 91-1-893831-0
  13. ^ Yanko, Dave. "Mystery Solved?". Virtual Saskatchewan. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "Abe Lincoln's Ghost Train". HallowFreaks. Archived from the original on Oct 5, 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  15. ^ Phantom Plane Crashes
  16. ^ Blades at the Internet Movie Database