Everybody has likely heard some variation of phantom hitchhiker story. It is likely one of the most well-known and most universal so-called urban legends. Here’s a recap to help set the mood for today’s episode.
A salesman or some college student is driving down a lonely country road late one rainy evening when he is surprised to see a lovely young woman walking down the shoulder. He pulls over, leans over to open the passenger seat door, and asks if she needs a ride. She seems dazed and soaked to the bone. With a mumbled thanks, she gets inside. The man reaches behind the seat and pulls out a sweater, and offers it to the hitchhiker. In the glow of the dashboard lights, he can see that she is quite lovely. She smiles her thanks and puts the sweater around her shoulders, letting him know that she has to get home to her parents. For the first time, the driver sees that her face and hands are scratched and bleeding. He asks what happened. She tells him her car slid off the road and into a ditch. She had been standing at the side of the road for what seemed like hours, hoping for help, before she decided to walk the rest of the way.
He lets her know that he will gladly take her right to her parents’. She thanks him and gestures ahead and says that the house is just a few miles away. As he is trying to find the nerve to ask her name, she points to the lights of a house down a short lane. She asks him to stop, and she gets out. He protests, saying he would be happy to take her the rest of the way, but she is already rushing into the night. As he drives on, he berates himself for not having asked her name, but then he remembers that she still has his sweater. That’ll be the excuse he uses to head back to her parents and formally introduce himself.
Two days later, the student drives back to the house and knocks. He is surprised when an elderly woman opens the doors and invites him in As he looks the house over, he sees a picture of a pretty young girl, and he asks the old woman if her granddaughter is home. Following the man’s gaze, the woman starts to cry. Her darling daughter, she explains, is still trying to make her way home. The man listens as he is told that her daughter had been killed in a car accident on a dark and rainy night nearly 40 years ago.