Have you ever wondered if cars can become haunted? I have done some research on some real haunted cars. Let’s get to those stories and then it is up to you to decide for yourself.
The story of a haunted car has been around long enough to be given the Hollywood treatment. The two movies that come to mind first are Christine which was based on the novel by Stephen King and The Car which starred James Brolin.
What are other “haunted car” movies are out there? There must be more. Let me know what they are in the comment section.
Real Haunted Cars
Before starting the research to write this post I was aware of some of the stories involving the Porsche 550 Spyder that the legendary actor, James Dean, had died in. I was surprised to learn just how many stories there are out there about the car Dean called, “Little Bastard.”
Little Bastard was the Porsche 550 Spyder that James Dean purchased shortly before his death. James Dean loved to drive fast, he raced cars when not acting in movies, and that is reportedly what he was doing when his car crashed into a Ford sedan driven by a young man named Donald Turnupseed. James Dean had a broken neck and massive internal injuries and passed away at the age of 24 on September 30, 1955.
The stories of Little Bastard being a cursed car began shortly after the accident. A man named George Barris sold some of the parts, including the engine, to various people. Two doctors bought the engine and used it in a race car they owned. That race car soon crashed killing one of the doctors. The car also did not seem to like being hauled around as it has been reported that it broke free at least three times while being transported and the results were everything from crushing a man, to causing accidents. The remains of the car were reportedly given to the California Highway Patrol to use as a cautionary tale at high schools around the state. The car apparently fell from a pedestal at a high school and broke the hip bone of a student. The car eventually disappeared while being transported and has not been heard of since. I would not consider the Little Bastard to be haunted per se but definitely cursed if the stories are in fact true.
Graf and Stift Double Phaeton Limo
Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were both assassinated on June 28, 1914, while they were in the open-air Graf & Stift Double Phaeton Limo by a Serbian student and anarchist. (2017, Smithsonianmag.com)
The assassination occurred after a bomb failed to kill its intended target earlier in the day. The Archduke hastily decided to visit the hospital where the victims of the bombing had been taken. This fateful decision would cost him his life. The assassin happened to be across the street from the hospital when the limo turned the corner and stopped. This put the limo and its passengers a mere ten feet from the assassin named Gavrilo Princip. Mr. Princip shot both the Archduke and his wife fatally.
The assassination led Austria-Hungary (AKA the Austro-Hungarian Empire) to declare war on Serbia. This is where things get a bit more complicated and well then all Hell breaks loose.
So Serbians were angry with the Austro-Hungarian Empire for annexing Bosnia. Russia was also angry with the Austro-Hungarian Empire as Russia wanted the Baltics for themselves. When the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia the Russians ended up deciding to mobilize their troops. This mobilization caused Germany (allies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) to declare war on Russia and its ally France.
German troops had to cross Belgium to enter France. The British used the crossing of Belgium as a reason to join the war as well. (2016, cliffnotes.com) Eventually, this turned into World War I, it started in 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. So what does this history lesson have to do with haunted cars? I am glad you asked. Not only was the Graf and Stift Limo present when the shots that started World War I occurred (a war that killed an estimated 37 million military and civilians around the world) it has been reported to have led to the death of a further 13 people through a variety of accidents before 1926. If the stories are true then I am very happy that the car was removed from the streets and placed in the War History Museum of Vienna.
Lincoln 74A Convertible Limousine
The 1961 Lincoln 74A Convertible Limousine was the car that President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. I was surprised to learn that the car was still used in active service for many years after that tragic day. The car was Navy Blue in colour back in 1963. President Lyndon B. Johnson requested that the car was painted black in an attempt to change its appearance and erase the memories of November 22, 1963.
The 1961 Lincoln 74A is currently on display in The Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, Michigan. As Erin Marquis wrote in her 2017 article called Five Cursed and Haunted Cars for autoblog.com the Kennedy car is haunted. A docent told her during one of her many grade school tours of the Henry Ford Museum that many museum staff members have reported seeing a grey presence or apparition in the passenger side of the back seat.
Back on December 11, 2002, the police in Surrey, England received calls that the headlights of a car were seen going over the edge and into a ravine off the A3 highway. The police went to the reported area but did not immediately find any wreckage. But they did not give up and eventually, they discovered a maroon coloured Vauxhall Astra. Inside the car, they found the decomposing body of a man. It was later determined that the man had perished about five months earlier. The story goes that the headlights were those of a ghost car that wanted the wreckage containing the man to be found. Whether that was the case or not it certainly is a spooky tale. I am sure that the discovery of the decomposing man answered as many questions as it created.
Whether you believe that a car can be haunted or not, or cursed or not, I do hope that you have at least learned something and been entertained by this post. Please let us know if you enjoyed this article and if you have anything to add to these tales.
The Other Half