Phantom vehicles from around the globe

2013-07-19 12:31

From jumping cars to haunted u-boats, the world is full of vehicles that seem to have a mind of their own. We take a look at ten of the most famous and find out where you're bound to see them.

Eastern Airlines flight 401

In December 1972 an Eastern Airlines flight aboard a Tri-Star jetliner crashed into a Florida swamp killing 101 people, including pilot Bob Loft and flight engineer Don Repo. Even though the plane was smashed to pieces, a few working parts were salvaged and recycled for use on other aircraft.

It wasn't long before the crews of these various aircraft reported eerie sightings of Bob Loft and Don Repo sitting among the passengers, sometimes even engaging in conversation. It was only when they disappeared into thin air that they seemed non-human. The creepy ghost crew usually appeared in or near parts of planes that had been salvaged from 401.

Eastern Airlines has never officially commented on the occurrences, however these guardian ghosts are said to be something of a legend within the company.

The Black Volga

(IgorGolovniov /

As if Eastern Europe wasn't a bad enough place during the 1960s and 70s, a certain black Volga limousine that seemed to appear out of nowhere to abduct unsuspecting people, mostly children, added to the widespread tension.

Nobody knew who drove the Black Volga. Some said it was priests, some said nuns, some swore it was Satan worshipers - some even claimed the devil himself was behind the steering wheel. The reason behind the abduction of children was also unknown, but people suspected that their organs and blood were harvested to cure rich foreigners of diseases. According to legend, the driver would typically ask passers-by for the time and kill them when they approached the car to answer.

The rumours of the feared Black Volga were widespread trhoughout Poland, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Mongolia.



Featuring in many-a-spine-chilling Swedish urban legend, the Stockholm Metro train nicknamed Silverpilen (Silver Arrow) is not so much a haunted or ghost vehicle as a strangely unsettling alternative version of the usual metro trains.

The shiny silver bullet was manufactured in the mid-1960s as a test unit, only consists of eight cars and stands out like a sore thumb in a fleet of hundreds of green metro trains. Up until 1996, Silverpilen was sometimes used as a backup train, particularly during rush hour, leaving those boarding it with an eerie feeling, as it is completely devoid of colour and advertising that characterizes other trains on this line.

Some stories connect the ghost train with the abandoned Kymlinge metro station on Line 11, the blue line. Kymlinge also has a reputation of being a ghost station, with people saying that "Bara de döda stiger av i Kymlinge" ("Only the dead get off at Kymlinge").

The Phantom Bus of London


The Phantom Bus first came to public attention in 1934 when early one morning a motorist driving along Cambridge Gardens for no apparent reason suddenly swerved his car and hit a wall, causing the car to burst into flames. The man died of his injuries.

An inquest into his death was undertaken and it didn't take very long for witnesses to come forward to testify about the existence of a phantom bus that many had seen at the exact spot where the fatal crash had happened.

They told how a bus would be sighted in the early hours of the morning, the time that the crash had occurred, and spoke of their terror as it came racing along the centre of the road towards them. No driver was ever visible, and no lights were ever seen.

Pippo, the ghost plane


In a similar vein to the Russian Volga, if maybe a little more extreme, WWII brought with it an extra terror for the people of northern Italy, as a mysterious plane nicknamed Pippo (recognized by the distinctive "pip-pip" sound of its engines) would come from nowhere and fire its machine guns at anyone foolish enough to get in its way.

While the north Italians were never quite sure where the plane came from or who it was aligned with, historians have good reason to believe that it was probably a series of British reconnaissance planes of the de Havilland Mosquito type that flew over the countryside at night.

Jumping car of Cape Town

(Pierre-Jean Durieu /

The Cape of Good Hope is full of weird and wonderful ghost stories, like that of the Flying Dutchman ship said to spotted just off-shore of the Mother City by sailors every once in a while.

However, it doesn't seem like the weird occurrences have ceased with modernity, as a Cape Town family and their guests were woken one night by a loud crash, only to find the guests' Renault jerkily jumping around the yard. Suspicions that someone had tried to steal the car were soon proven impossible as there were no signs of breaking and entering. The car was also locked and all the windows intact.

After investigating, Renault offered the explanation that the events were caused by a rusty starter cable. However, they could not explain the roaring sounds the car supposedly made.

Abraham Lincoln's phantom train


A phantom steam train, thought to be the funeral coach of American president Abraham Lincoln, is said to run through some 180 cities between Washington DC and Springfield Illinois round the anniversary of the state man's death on 15 April every year.

The train is said to emerge from a cloud of thick, black fog, towing its dark cars. Its arrival makes the air noticeably heavier and colder to all living souls present. It also causes all the clocks and watches in the vicinity to stop.

Cursed car of Franz Ferdinand


The assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand is thought by many to have been the catalyst that finally set the long-brewing WWI in motion.

However, what many people do not know is that the Gräf & Stift open car he was in during the assassination turned out to carry a creepy curse. During the following 12 years, Franz Ferdinand's car saw 15 different owners. During the same time, it was involved in several accidents that led to 13 deaths.

The circumstances varied from one owner becoming insane and dying in an asylum to a Serbian farmer being crushed when the car fell over during the towing process. These days it's just a broken-down artifact in an Austrian museum.

James Dean's Porsche Spyder

(Radoslaw Lecyk /

A similar sort of curse seems to have come to rest on the sleek little sports car, a Porsche Spyder, in which legendary Hollywood hero, James Dean tragically died after an accident. He fondly referred to the vehicle as Little Bastard and the remains were purchased by George Harris, the car customizer whose shop would later build the Batmobile.

In his possession, the restored Porsche (now divided in two: a Lotus husk powered by the Porsche's restored engine, and the totaled remains of the actual Porsche) soon gained a fearsome reputation, as it was involved in a number of mysterious accidents, at least one of them fatal. There were also a few mysterious occurrences that happened off-road - once the car caught fire in a storage room and another time it disappeared out of a sealed box car.

Haunted German U-boat

As it stands submarines are a particularly mysterious form of transport, susceptible to a lot of yarn spinning and myth forming.

There was, however, one specific German u-boat that was particularly dangerous, both to its enemies and its crew - the U-65. It started during the building process already as three builders suffocated on diesel fumes, and two more were crushed by a falling girder. During its testing stage, one crew member was swept overboard and was never seen again. During its early missions, a freak torpedo explosion killed eight crewmen and an officer. The officer was soon reported to be haunting the ship, after which the captain was decapitated by rogue shrapnel.

This was about the time when the entire U-65 crew requested a transfer. The German navy couldn't find a replacement crew, however, until they agreed to perform a exorcism on board. That didn't help much, as the ship was blown to pieces by an American torpedo a couple of months later. Or was it?

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