Hitchhiking is a wonderful way to see the world. Walking from place to place and accepting rides from strangers allows you to experience things you’d never encounter if you were traveling by plane or car. Plus, you hear new stories and meet all sorts of interesting people. There are just as many creepy situations waiting for hitchhikers as there are exciting adventures, though.
Many a hitchhiker has experienced their fair share of creepy stories from road trips, or at least one-time incidents where they get stuck on the road. These stories of possible serial slayers, sinister truckers, and disturbed motorists aren’t meant to make you shy away from hitching forever, they’re just here to make sure you think twice about sticking your thumb out and looking for a ride.
The Driver Who Wouldn't Say Where He Was Going
From Redditor /u/smellypants:
My mom was separating with her husband at the time (before my father) and was basically on her own to get back to where her family lived. She has good memories of some of the people she rode with - and even uses those encounters to convince me that people are generally good (which I often disagree with while stuck in traffic).
One particular occasion is what caused her to stop hitchhiking. She was in a car with someone who happened to turn down a road that raised my mom's suspicions. You know, the dark, isolated, dirt road in the middle of the woods type? As he's driving down the road, my mom asks, "Where are we going?"
"Where are we going?"
Guy pulls the car to a stop and gets out. As he's walking around the car to her side of the car, she puts her backpack between herself and her door. As he opens the car door she pushes the backpack into his chest and jumps out through the driver's side door.
She explained that she basically ran out into the woods and hid behind a tree. The guy kind of walked around aimlessly through the woods for what she explains as an eternity. Eventually, he got back into his car and left.
She told me this story when I was about 10 to 11 years old. We had just went to a "Stranger Danger"-type event where a police officer talks to kids to explain to them how not to put oneself in a situation where they might be abducted... She cried when she told me her story. While people usually are fearful of the crazy hitchhikers, she explained the side most people tend to overlook.
A Chance Encounter With A Serial Slayer
From Redditor /u/thatsapaddlin:
In the late '70s, my uncle was studying medicine at the University of Chicago. After a morning class, he decided that he would hitchhike back home to Lincoln Park on the north side instead of paying for a taxi. A man drove up in a Plymouth Satellite and offered my uncle a ride. The man looked normal and seemed friendly... lighthearted even, so my uncle got in the car and they started driving towards Lake Shore Drive.
However, once they got there, the man drove south on Lake Shore instead of north, towards Lincoln Park. My uncle told the man he was going the wrong way and to turn around and head north. The man looked at my uncle, put his hand on his knee, and said, "No son, you are coming with me," and smiled darkly at him. My uncle froze in panic, and when they hit traffic near the south shore, he quickly unlocked the passenger door and ran away without looking back.
A year or two later on a cold December day, my uncle was having coffee in a cafe with my future aunt when he caught something on the TV that made his blood run cold. He saw the man that had picked him up from school that day the year before. He had been arrested for the suspected rape and killing of over 20 young men and boys.
The man on the television was John Wayne Gacy. And he had removed the door handle off the passenger side door to prevent the men he picked up from escaping.
A Hitchhiker Is Ordered To 'Pay The Toll'
From Redditor /u/Sagemanx:
I was hitchhiking from Seattle to LA in 1994. I was 24 and just got out of college and was going to visit a friend. It was not my first time hitching - I had already gone from FL to WA and up and down the east coast. I caught a ride outside of Salem, OR, with a guy who was headed to CA, and he seemed pretty nice.
That was until we got just outside of Santa Cruz where he was heading east and I needed to keep going south. I ask the guy to let me out and he says, "Not till you pay the toll."
I looked over, and he taken his d*ck out of his pants. I was like, "What the f*ck, dude, that's not happening."
He looked at me, and the nice guy I had been driving with had disappeared, and some f*cking freaky dude with evil desperate eyes was looking back at me. "There are no free rides. I can drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you there if that's what you want."
Well, when traveling I always carry a knife. It's for cooking and stuff but that time, I pulled it out and told him if he didn't let me out of the car, I would kill him. He quickly pulled the car over all the while telling me I was a psycho.
I was pretty shaken so I walked to a local store and told some guy there what had happened, and he drove me to the bus station and bought me a ticket for the rest of the way to LA and told me to not hitchhike anymore. Of course, I kept hitchhiking for years after that but that was the worst thing that happened.
I took the guy's license plate down, and once I arrived safely in LA, I called the state troopers and gave them an anonymous tip telling them what the guy did. I don't know if anything ever came of it but it was a sobering event. From that point on, I was much more careful about who I rode with.
The scariest thing I remember about the car was he had unscrewed all the door locks off the car so you couldn't unlock them once he autolocked them...
Don't Scream At Your Driver
From Redditor /u/sweetmercy:
When I was 17, I didn't have a driver's license. I walked most places, occasionally catching rides with friends, and less occasionally, hitchhiking. The night in question was one of those seldom seen occasions when I'd decided to hitchhike, having worked late and being too exhausted to walk. Now, most of the time when I'd hitch a ride, I wouldn't get in the car with a lone man. Only women or (rarely) men with a wife/girlfriend and/or kids in the car.
This night, though, cars were few and far between, and it was cold. If I'm being perfectly frank, when he pulled over I took a good look and figured I could take him if he tried anything. He was on the slender side and had a strange frailness about him, even though he looked healthy enough.
I got into the car after we agreed on a destination. We exchanged names, and I warmed my fingers in front of the heating vent. He spoke quietly, asking a few questions along the lines of was I a local and how did I like living there. He said he'd only been there a couple of months, but found it beautiful and hoped he could find happiness there. That comment struck me as a little odd, but I brushed it off.
It began to snow, and the road quickly got slippery, so he slowed and kept his eyes straight out the windshield, driving silently. I was okay with that, as small talk was never my forte. About 10 minutes later, I noticed a car near the intersection we were approaching seemed to be sliding, so I said, "Watch out!" He immediately hit the gas, shooting through the intersection and burst out with, "Don't EVER scream at me!"
Needless to say, I was taken aback. I said, "Look, this is close enough. Just pull over here, and I can get there." He didn't seem to hear me. "Um, Richard? Did you hear me? I said you can pull over here and let me out."
No response. He just stared straight ahead, driving faster now than he had been since it began to snow. To say I was scared doesn't begin to cover the depth of the fear that arose in me. I didn't know if I should stay quiet or speak, but I was damn sure not going to yell after his outburst.
After about a mile, he began to mumble under his breath. I couldn't quite make out what he was saying, but I assumed he was speaking to me, so I said, "Hmm? I couldn't hear you."
He began to speak quietly and rapidly, saying things like, "You're always yelling at me. I've told you time and again I do not appreciate being yelled at, but do you listen? Nooooo. Well, I'm done listening to YOU now, do you hear that?"
I was at a complete loss. I didn't know what to say in response or if I should say anything at all. I contemplated just jumping out of the car, but nixed that idea when I realized the door lock was missing; there was just a silver-lined hole where it should have been.
I'd started to cry and debate with myself about causing an accident by grabbing the wheel and hoping for the best when he suddenly, looked at me for the first time since I had gotten into the car. He blinked several times, rapidly, then slowed the car, pulling into a gas station.
I waited to see if he'd unlock the doors, not wanting to say anything to set him off again. After a minute or two, he quietly said, "I think I better let you out here," and hit the button to open the locks. I wasn't about to hesitate. I jumped out of the car as if it were on fire.
I was about to turn and walk into the gas station when he called my name. He looked so damned sad I hesitated. He apologized, said he was sorry if he'd frightened me, that he never would have harmed me, and asked if I'd be able to get home okay. I said I would, and I closed the door. He began to pull out of the gas station lot, but stopped suddenly. He just sat there for a couple of moments, his head down.
I froze, wondering what the hell he was up to. I was about to run into the station, but he opened his window and yelled to me, waving something in his hand. My hat. I'd left it on his seat. I warily approached his side of the car, and he handed it to me, apologizing again. I didn't know what else to say, so I just said, "Thanks."
I watched as he drove off, making sure he was out of sight before moving on so he wouldn't know which direction I was heading (I'd decided to go to a friend's instead of home). As I walked, I went to put my hat back on, and out fell a piece of paper. Folded into the paper was a $100 bill. The paper said, "I'm sorry. Please take a cab and don't hitchhike anymore tonight." I didn't. In fact, it was the last time I ever hitched a ride alone.