true stories Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66

Jacoby Bancroft
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Spanning a massive 2,451 miles across the United States, it's not surprising that dozens of creepy stories and urban legends have sprouted up along America's most legendary highway. Some are disgusting, some are creepy, and some you don't want to think about again while you're alone in your room. Check out the list below for the best creepy stories and legends based around Route 66. 

Don't Check in to the Hotel Monte Vista


Don't Check in to the Hote... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66
Photo:  Gerard Stolk/flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Hey, Route 66 is a long stretch of highway, meaning you can’t drive it all without making a few stops. But if you must stop, avoid the Hotel Monte Vista. According to Haunted Route 66: Ghosts of America's Legendary Highway, reports from that hotel indicate restless spirits like to roam the halls. Especially avoid the second floor, which is supposedly haunted by so many spirits, hotel management can’t put pets on that floor or they freak out. The scariest place might be the basement, where reports of a baby crying over and over again have been made quite a few times. 

Zombie Road Is Full of Ghosts from the Past


Zombie Road Is Full of Ghosts ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66
Photo:  Mike Mozart/flickr/CC-BY-20

In Missouri, there’s a stretch of road that’s officially called Lawler Ford Road, but people around that area have just come to call it Zombie Road. The road was paved at some point, but now has become almost impossible to pass using an automobile. A lot of stories have come from Zombie Road, whether it be the ghost of a man hit by a train in the 1970s, or the mysterious old woman who screams at people from a house at the end of the road, but what built up Zombie Road the most was the death of Della Hamilton McCullough way back in 1876, when she was hit by a railroad car. Reports of phantom glows with bluish-white light and a translucent figure wandering around have been said to be McCullough, still haunting the place where she died

An Empty Stretch of Highway Boasts a Flaming Car


An Empty Stretch of Highway Bo... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66
Photo:  burroblando/flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Route 666 (no surprise) is the sixth branch of Route 66 and its long stretch of road has been responsible for countless ghost stories and encounters. The scariest might come Linda Dunning, who wrote about an incident with her husband. Apparently the man was driving down Route 666 late at night and in the distance saw a burning truck flying toward him with no signs of stopping. He pulled off quickly to the side of the road and walked into the desert about 20 feet from his car in order to let the flaming truck pass. After it raced by him, he got back in his car and continued on like a smart person.

The Meramec Caverns: One-of-a-Kind Tourist Attraction, Frequent Ghost Hangout


The Meramec Caverns: One-of-a-... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66
Photo:  m01229/flickr/CC-BY-20

One of the many tourist attractions along Route 66, the Meramec Caverns get close to 150,000 visitors a year, not counting all the ghosts. Some of the more frequent sightings include a Native American woman who likes to stand in a distant pool of water, a woman in a formal dress most likely from one of the many galas older generations threw in the caverns, and a mysterious Man in Black, who many speculate might be the infamous Jesse James himself. 

A Murderous Rampage Brings a Restless Spirit


A Murderous Rampage Brings a R... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66
Photo:  Remi Raymond/flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

At the Peace Church Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri, an unmarked grave apart from everyone else holds the remains of one of the most notorious spree killers of the 1950s. Billy Cook, Jr. had a rough childhood. Abused by the system, one day he snapped and went on a desperate run to Oklahoma City, killing seven people before getting arrested and executed. His body was transported back to his hometown, but the cemetery only agreed to bury him if it was in an unmarked grave. Reports tells of strange lantern lights around his grave and sometimes, if you’re unlucky enough, you might see Billy standing at the tree line, eyes filled with hate.

Cheapskate Husband Doesn’t Bother to Bury His Wife Properly and Angers Her Spirit


Cheapskate Husband Doesn’t Bot... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66
Photo:  Crista Lohman/flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s always a good choice to honor your dead. In the Oak Hill Cemetery in Kansas (a state Route 66 passes through for only 13 miles),a man did not give his wife a proper funeral, burying her in the cheapest coffin possible and not spending anything for the service. A few days after she was buried, the gravestone cracked. The widower replaced the gravestone, but it cracked again. He replaced it a few more times, each time ending with a cracked gravestone. It forced the man to move away from the town - now there was his first good idea.

Oklahoma Has an Historic Move Theater Built on an Old Mortuary


Oklahoma Has an Historic Move ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66
Photo:  hans.emtenas/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)

The Coleman Theater in Miami, Oklahoma, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Once a thriving place for people to watch movies, now people can arrange tours of the restored old theater, but they might get a little more than they bargained for. According to local legend, the theater was built on a mortuary and underneath the main seating area is a crematorium. Visitors have reported extreme heat coming from that room, accompanied by unknown whistling sounds.

A Man Dies Watching His Own Execution Be Set Up, Comes Back to Haunt the Place


A Man Dies Watching His Own Ex... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Creepy Stories & Legends About Route 66
Photo:  Jaime Perez/flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

James Phillips was a prisoner in Guthrie, Oklahoma, when he died an unexpected death. He was sentenced to hanging, but the prison hadn’t hanged someone in quite some time, so a whole scaffold had to be built. Unfortunately, it took some time and Phillips could see it being built from his cell. Soon after, guards found him dead of heart failure, citing the stress of watching his own execution come together. To this day, guards can still hear footsteps and a face looking out the window to where the scaffold was being built.