Friday August 1st 2008

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Friday August 1st 2008

Post by AutumnSims on 1st August 2008, 9:29 pm

A 1602 manuscript held by Linköping library in Sweden, describes a recognisable account of the vanishing hitchhiker. Titled Om the tekn och widunder som föregingo thet liturgiske owäsendet (On the Signs and Wonders Preceding the Liturgic Broil), it is the work of a scholar named Joan Petri Klint (d 1608). Klint's work is a quasi-journalistic collection of strange events and portents, which to his apocalyptic mind presage the triumph of Protestant reform (the 'liturgic broil' of the title).
One account dates from February 1602 and was collected from an unnamed vicar of Klint's acquaintance who was travelling back from a Candlemas fair at Västergötland to the town of Vadstena by sleigh. The three men stopped to give a ride to a young girl by the roadside. When they stopped to draw in at an inn for refreshment, the girl requested a drink and was given a jug of beer. She did not drink from it, and the surprised vicar observed that the beer had changed into malt. A second jug was brought and this was handed to the child, whereupon, to general consternation, it mysteriously changed into acorns. This was too much for the vicar to bear and he closely supervised the fetching of a third jug, only to see its contents transmute into blood in the young girl's grasp. At this point, the passenger announced: "There will be good crops this year. There will be enough fruits of the trees. There will also be many wars and plagues." Having delivered this information, she vanished.
Klint's account contains all the characteristic hallmarks of a classic vanishing hitchhiker, fitting Beardsley and Hankey's Versions 'B' (prophetic) and 'C' (vanishing). The beer-transforming waif also fits Baughman's 3.3.1(b) (by virtue of leaving behind the malt, acorns and blood), 3.3.1(d) (prophesying, although Klint does not record whether the forecasts were correct), 3.3.1(e) (wanting refreshment) and 3.3.1(g) (homeward bound).
[edit]Old English Ballad
An English ballad, found in a 1723 anthology, relates the story of A Suffolk Wonder, which mysterious appellation is explained in a somewhat lengthy subtitle: Or, a Relation of a Young Man, who, a month after his death, appeared to his Sweetheart, and carried her on horseback behind him for forty miles in two hours, and was never seen after but in his grave.
The similarities with the modern vanishing hitchhiker are striking. The titular girl is given a lift on horseback -- presumably a solid horse, not least since the girl recognises it as belonging to her parents -- by her recently-deceased lover. The lover had previously been separated from the girl by her disapproving parents, during which time he had (unbeknown to his beloved) expired through unrequited love.
Forty miles distant she was sent,
Unto his brother's, with intent
That she should there so long remain
Till she had chang'd her mind again.
The ghostly lover is also a token-leaver (cf, Beardsley and Hankey's Version 'C', Baughman's E332.3.3.1(b)). He borrows his former love's handkerchief to knot around his aching head, and this becomes the means through which the girl's disbelieving parents ascertain the truth of their daughter's account:
A handkerchief she said she tyed
About his head, and that they tryed;
The sexton they did speak unto,
That he the grave would then undo.
Affrighted then they did behold
His body turning into mould,
And though he had a month been dead,
This kerchief was about his head.
Nor is this the climax of the tale. In true melodramatic style, the shock of this double-blow -- the death of her love, and his ghostly reappearance -- results in horrid tragedy for all concerned:
This thing unto her then they told,
And the whole truth they did unfold;
She was thereat so terrified
And grievd, she quickly after dyed.
There is a conclusion to be drawn:
Part not true love, you rich men, then;
But, if they be right honest men
Your daughters love, give them their way,
For force oft breeds their lives' decay.
This ballad has itself been traced to far older sources, [2] although because of the apparently recurrent nature of the vanishing hitchhiker phenomenon, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction.
phantom hitchhikers
There have been reports of some roads being the location where odd travelers can be seen hitching a ride to nowhere in particular and disappearing during their journey. It is said that these hitchhikers are actually phantoms wandering about a haunted stretch of road.

When looking at a phantom hitchhiker case, the documentation can be sorted into four different categories. The first category deals with hitchhiker encounters that involve a passenger who has left behind an address to the person who was nice enough to pick them up. They then disappear shortly after. Shaken by this experience, some drivers look into the whereabouts of their mysterious passenger and find that they had died before their meeting, sometimes years and years beforehand. Some cases involve the meeting of the same hitchhiker phantom on the same road by an array of different drivers.

Truck drivers who have picked up either an older woman or a young female on their travels often tell tales which fall into a different category. Some of these phantom hitchhikers were said to have borrowed an article of clothing before disappearing. A twist to these encounters is that the piece of clothing is sometimes recovered at the gravesite of the phantom. Some reports have dealt with older female hitchhikers who give predictions of the future before vanishing. Usually, these predictions hint to negative occurrences and events to come.

The last category that involves a phantom hitchhiker deals with the folklore and religious beliefs that gods and goddesses sometime descend upon the earth under the guise of a mortal, with hopes of testing humans. For example, in Hawaii, there is the goddess, Pelee, who is said to appear as a hitchhiker to the locals. It is said that bad luck is in the future if you refuse to pick her up and take her where she needs to go.

An example of a case involving a phantom hitchhiker deals with the ghost of a young female by the name of Maria Roux, who has been sighted on Barandas-Willowmore Road, which can be located close to Uniondale, South Africa. This road is also the site where Roux died from a car accident in 1968. It was 1978 and an Army corporal by the last name of van Jaarsveld stopped his motorcycle to give a female hitchhiker a lift. Ten miles after picking Roux up, he felt a jolt from his motorcycle and turned to see if she was all right. She was nowhere to be seen. His first thought was that she had fallen off of his motorcycle and he began to revisit his route. Then he noticed that the helmet he had let her borrow had been fastened to his luggage rack.

Van Jaarsveld was not the only person to encounter the phantom of Miss. Roux. In 1976, Anton Le Grange picked up a female who fit the description of Roux. While traveling, he realized that he never asked where she wanted to go and when he turned to inquire, he found that she was no longer sitting beside him. Frightened, Le Grange reported the incident to the local police and later identified the woman as Maria Roux.

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