Many people are familiar with the urban myths involving phantom hitchhikers. One of the most famous in the United States is Chicago's Resurrection Mary. However hitchhiking ghosts have been around for a very long time, and have been scaring good samaritans for years, including when the mode of transportation was horseback. The following are a few of those stories.
The following stories were retold in 1943
Retold by Agnes Sullivan, aged fifty, American born of Irish family.
These stories of the elements of jealousy and a living corpse
Retold by Mr. and Mrs. Paul DerOhannesian, Sr., of Armenian stock. They knew this story in their birthplace, Marark, Turkey.
These stories originate in California
Retold by Elmer Hockel of Fort Hunter, sixty-five years old, broom maker, who heard it from his father about 1882 as having happened in Fort Hunter about 182o.
This story is out of New York.
Retold by Mrs. Henry G. Rebar, as told to her by her mother who lived in Belfort. It is in the Black River Valley country in the western foothills of the Adirondacks.
If you compare these stories to more modern and popularized ones, all you have to do is replace the horse or buggy for a vehicle. Not all of the hitchhikers were trying to make it home, others seem to have an otherworldly cast of doom. There is no doubt that phantom hitchhikers have been with us for a very long time.
SOURCE - Jones, L. (1944). Hitchhiking Ghosts in New York. California Folklore Quarterly, 3(4), 284-292. doi:10.2307/1495785
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer