If you’re ever taking a nighttime drive along New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway, keep your eyes peeled as you approach Exit 82, and with any luck — or maybe lack of it — you’ll see one of New Jersey’s most often seen ghosts, the “Parkway Phantom.”
According to Asbury Park Press, many of New Jersey’s “most notable ghosts,” such as the Parkway Phantom, are said to haunt the realms of New Jersey’s roads and highways, likely because that’s where the human vessel the ghost once occupied experienced some dire trauma, leaving its body no longer working or, in other words, dead.
New Jersey motorists have been reporting roadside apparitions and highway ghosts like the Parkway Phantom for decades, the ghosts apparently having no choice but to wander the area of road where their death occurred. Perhaps they don’t realize, or understand, that their turn at life has come to a traumatic halt, and no matter how much they wave and try to flag down the help of passing New Jersey motorists, their transition to ghost has put hope out of reach.
Such is the seeming situation for the Parkway Phantom, a roadside apparition that witnesses describe as being “very tall with a long topcoat belted at the waist.”
New Jersey motorists that witness the Parkway Phantom all generally report a particular characteristic of the ghost, that he waves his arms “synchronously,” that is he holds them up and bends them both at the elbow, in a display that some describe as “looking like a strange football cheer.”
Any feedback on the Parkway Phantom from New Jersey State Police is pretty much non-existent, but according to Asbury Park Press, one former New Jersey state trooper did go so far as to say that the area where the Parkway Phantom is seen has also been the site of countless car accidents and automobile-related deaths over the years.
Some of those who have witnessed the Parkway Phantom personally, and other New Jersey highway ghosts, shared their stories with Weird NJ.
Among those with bizarre ghost stories about the Parkway Phantom, or another apparition very much like him, is a paramedic who has had the grim task of responding to fatal car wrecks along the New Jersey highway that the Parkway Phantom is said to haunt.
The paramedic reports that he and his team responded on a rainy night to a man being hit while he was walking down the highway, after his car broke down. The man was hit so hard that he was thrown off into the woods, and it was so dark and rainy that the paramedics couldn’t find him right away when they arrived.
Ultimately, the man was found, but unfortunately he died, and when the same paramedic crew was passing the same spot weeks later, suddenly there appeared a man waving them down. When they turned around and went back to the spot, the man was gone, but the whole paramedic crew took note that it was the exact same place where the man had just been hit and killed a few weeks before.
Is this proof of the Parkway Phantom? Perhaps not by itself, but three other paramedic crews have experienced the same exact scenario, with the ghostly man waving them down in the same area before disappearing, making the Parkway Phantom, at the least, a pretty eerie and consistent coincidence.
But the Parkway Phantom isn’t just a recent ghost phenomenon in New Jersey. In fact people have been reporting a Parkway Phantom attempting to cross the road while waving his arms, near exit 82 on Route 37 in Toms River since the New Jersey Garden State Parkway opened in 1955.
A female version of the Parkway Phantom was reported in ’59 or ’60 according to another Weird NJ contributor. This female ghost wasn’t wearing any coat though, like the Parkway Phantom, but was instead floating around over the Garden State Parkway naked. A huge crowd showed up to see the nude, female version of the Parkway Phantom, but as usual, highway ghosts don’t tend to hang around waiting for the rubber-neckers.
So again, if you’re ever passing through the area and see the Parkway Phantom waving you down, it’s probably best not to stop, but you at least might wave back.
[Image by Mark Moran, Weird NJ]