A bloke has recalled how he picked up a spooky hitchhiker on the side of a road and had a full chat to them only to find out it was in fact a ghost.

The strange tale, which took place in near Liverpool in 1983, was recalled by Dr Rob Gandy.

The Visiting Professor at the Liverpool Business School at Liverpool John Moores University, who is also a former NHS manager, has been collating eye-witness accounts of strange encounters on British highways and byways.

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And the story of the “Talking Phantom Hitchhiker” has left him baffled.

The bloke who came across the soon-to-be-ghost person is only known as “Mr M”, and was 27 at the time.

He was driving along the Coastal Road between Ainsdale and Southport, Merseyside, which for anyone who has ever travelled on the scenic route will know that it is just miles of sandy hills and darkness.

However, Dr Gandy explained about the story he was told: “The man was wearing a parka-type coat and was soaking wet, and wasn’t carrying any bags.

“He had stubble on his face and dark eyes, and Mr M guessed that he was in his mid-30s.

“Although his behaviour was normal and calm, he had a troubled expression, which Mr M put down to him being out in such bad weather.

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“He was quietly spoken, with a local Southport accent, and asked if he could bring his girlfriend with him into the car, to which Mr M agreed.

“Staying on the passenger side of the car, the man then stepped to its rear without making a sound, although the heavy rain was making a lot of noise – Mr M then realised that the man was nowhere to be seen; he opened the driver’s window and saw that there was nobody there.

“He stepped out of the car for a couple of seconds and still could not see anybody.”
It took a while, but Mr M soon realised that the mysterious bloke – and apparently his girlfriend – had completely disappeared into thin air.

But given the landscape, which was edged with high sandhills, there was quite simply nowhere the man could have gone.

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Dr Gandy, a prolific writer for the magazine Fortean Times, has teamed-up with Select Car Leasing – one of the UK’s largest independent specialists for car and van leasing – to reveal some of the most compelling cases he’s ever come across, of which this story is one of them.

The legend of the vanishing hitchiker actually began in Sweden in 1602, when a priest and two farmers were on their way home from a market inn Vastergotland.

According to the ancient story, a maid asked if she could join them, and the trio went to a pub for a drink.

The first round of pints was filled with normal malt, but the second round was filled with acorns before the third round took a sinister turn as the pints were filled with blood.

The mysterious maid told them that this would mean the farmers would have great crops that year, but would soon be hit by “war and pestilence”, before vanishing into thin air.

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