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The Phantom Hitchhiker
by Leah J. Utas

Posted: 15:00 July 10, 2008

The Phantom Hitchhiker
Would you know a ghost if you saw one?

We think of ghosts as showing up under obvious circumstances like in old, deserted homes, derelict buildings, or the foot of the bed at night.

We don't expect them during the normal course of the day and in the full shine of a spring sun, but it happened.

My husband and I were on an unfamiliar highway in eastern Alberta on clear spring afternoon a few years ago. The pavement was smooth and the road was wide. It was prairie land so you could see for miles in every direction and it was a hot, sunny day.

It was a weekday and traffic was light on that stretch of Highway 41. My husband was driving and I was watching the rolling prairie scenery when my eyes caught a movement ahead on the highway.

The road dipped a bit, crossed a coulee (A deep gulch or ravine with sloping sides, often dry in summer) then went up a hill and around a curve. There, on the coulee crossing by the guardrail was a tall, lean man who was maybe in his early 20s.

He was standing on the right shoulder by a guardrail, half turned toward the oncoming traffic, and he had a small, reddish-brown suitcase in front of him on the road. I also saw a small object on the centre line and watched as he went out to get it.

As he bent over to pick it up I turned to my husband and told him to be careful of this guy.

Just then a three ton truck came around the hill and down over the bridge toward us. As it passed us I turned my gaze back to the young man on the highway.

He was gone. No man. No suitcase. And no other traffic on the highway.

I was at a loss for a few moments. I looked back at the spot. I tried to scan the coulee. I tried to reason out a logical explanation for what I'd seen.

My husband saw him, too, so this was no illusion; it was an apparition in the middle of the day.

I saw the shade of a young man who went to retrieve something from the middle of the highway and who is probably still trying to thumb a ride.


Leah J. Utas is a freelance writer and hypnotherapist. She can be contacted at or visit The Goat's Lunch Pail at

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