Ghost Story in Bad Weather
on: December 04, 2006, 01:25:42 PM Quote Modify


It was February; we had driven from Fries, Virginia to Forest City, North Carolina to visit relatives. The weather was mild, but the radio spoke of an approaching storm. We decided to leave early and get ahead of it.

In 1959, there were no Interstates; all roads were ?back roads.? Maps were not very reliable either. We drove North on US 221. It was dark already, and it was only 7 o?clock in the evening. The farther North we drove the colder it got. There were few places to stop for food, so we had brought sandwiches and a thermos full of hot coffee with us. We will do just fine, I thought to myself.

As we started up Grandfather Mountain, just outside of Linnville, North Carolina, I shuddered with both a chill and an eerie feeling about the trip. Everywhere I looked it seemed so desolate. It was one of those nights that were so dark, even our headlights were swallowed up in the darkness. I had a surreal feeling, one of impending doom.

We started driving up the mountain and as we rounded a curve, we were suddenly submerged in snow. We were to later learn that the county line was at the point of the snowdrift, and one county had plowed and the other county had not. My traveling companion got out of the car to access the situation. He soon climbed back into the car and said, ?We are stuck. There is no way we can get out of this snow.? We could not even leave our engine running, because our tailpipe was impacted. Although we tried to dig the pipe clear, the wind would whip the snow right back over it.

I am the eternal optimist, so I said, ?We have lots of clothes in the car, and food to eat. We will be alright until we are found.? However, I silently mulled over the many stories I had read about people in similar situations, who were found later, frozen to death. Once again I shuddered and offered a prayer. ?Heavenly Father,? I prayed, ?if this be thy will for us, I pray for strength and peace of mind to endure.? I felt an instant sense of well being, as if we had been joined by a presence we could not see. I continued to pray, ?If this not be thy will, please send someone to rescue us.?

Almost immediately as I ended my prayer, a set of headlights came up behind us. We were giddy in our delight and both of us hopped out of the car and rushed back to our rescuers. Their car was free from the snow, and they could keep the engine of their car running. They offered to let us get into the back seat and warm up, while we decided what we should do about our situation. Our newfound friend?s name was Jay; but his wife?s name has long been forgotten. Jay told us that they lived in Linnville, but they never drove the Grandfather Mountain road any more, because it was farther. However, tonight he felt compelled to come this way. He told a few jokes to lighten our spirits and then lifted up a clear gallon-size mason jar, filled with White Lightning. It burned my throat as it went down, but soon I was feeling warm and cheerful.

Only a few minutes went by before another car pulled up behind Jay?s. We started to get out to talk with the third driver; but before we could the car went into reverse and started back down the mountain. Jay honked his horn, but the car did not stop. As we all stood on the roadside dumbfounded. Jay announced, ?If that car could make it down the hill, so could we.? There was no room to turn around, and the road was icy. Nevertheless, we all got back inside the car. Jay shifted into reverse and we too backed down the hill.

We never saw the other car again. There were no roads that he could have taken; there were no signs that he had slipped over the side of the mountain. No headlights flashing as the car snaked down the highway, and nowhere to turn around. That car just simply disappeared.

As we reached the bottom of the mountain and found a spot big enough to turn around in, we did so. As we started up a slight incline, the roadway was so slippery that we could not make it. Once again we were stuck and stranded. We were sitting there discussing what might have happened to the other car when a pickup truck came towards us and stopped. The young man driving the pickup told us that he owned a service station and we could stay there for the night. He said he would send a tow truck for our cars in the morning.

This young man in the pickup had to make two trips to get us to a safe place, as his pickup didn?t have enough room for all of us to go at once. While we drove, we told him what had happened to us on the mountain and about the car that seemed to have disappeared.

He told us this story: ?About 10 years ago, when I was just a boy, my father was out in a storm, he never made it home that night. When he was found, he was already dead. Since I was old enough to drive, on every stormy night I go looking for stranded motorists and take them to my service station. Many motorists have told me about the ghost car that led them to me. I believe that to be my father, preventing for many what had happened to him.?

When we got to the service station, it was full of people, all standing around a pot-belly stove. Some had melted snow in an enamel coffeepot to make coffee, and of course Jay brought in the White Lightning to share. We chatted, sang songs, and some slept sitting up on boxes.

The young man? He continued to look for distressed motorists all night long. When the morning came, so did the tow trucks. We all patiently waited for our cars to be brought in from wherever they had been left. We each hugged and said our good-byes, knowing that we all had greatly impacted each other?s lives that night, and yet would probably never see each other again.

Fast forward to Nashville, Tennessee 2005: I was telling a worker at a car wash this story, and she said, ?Oh, yes--everyone in that area knows about the Grandfather Mountain ghost that rescues people during stormy weather, his grandson now owns the gas station.

If anyone who was part of that night so long ago I would like to hear from you.

Do you have a story of your own to tell?