In 1965 a bride-to-be on the eve of her wedding day, lost her life and since then the stretch of road has been the scene of reports of a phantom hitchhiker.
On November 19, 1965, the 22-year-old was returning from her hen night when her Ford Cortina spun out of control on the A229, colliding with a Jaguar heading the other way.
Susan was due to marry RAF technician Brian Wetton the following day.
One of the group - Patricia Ferguson - was killed at the scene, but Miss Browne and Judith Lingham died a few days later in a Maidstone hospital.
The tragic fatality led to a mysterious legacy where spooky happenings were reported throughout the 1960s and 70s, although ghostly sightings are said to date back to the 1930s.
Spiritual believers usually gather at the Lower Bell Pub, situated close to the crash site on the anniversary of the accident.
Sonya Roseman, a film maker, released The Ghost of Blue Bell Hill in 2014, to document the eerie sightings on this road. She said, "I feel a kinship to those girls in that car. I wanted to tell their story, not to cash in on tragedy, just to make a film about it. It’s an evil road – but that goes back way before the crash".
In 1962 Bob Vandepeer said he gave a lift to a girl on the hill only to later turn around and discover the hitchhiker had vanished in the back of the car.
In 1971 James Skene was driving home from work when a girl in her early 20s suddenly appeared in front of his car. He gave her a lift to Chatham, but when she got out she disappeared.
Unsuspecting motorists have witnessed a woman running out in front of their cars late at night, often locking eyes with them before being hit and vanishing. No evidence of a collision has ever been found, nor has there ever been a victim found either.
As well as the reports of the ghost jumping in front of cars, there have also been four reported experiences of a female hitch-hiker on Bluebell Hill. Motorists pull over to pick her up, only for her to disappear from the back seat shortly after setting off.
Four years after the accident, a man on his way home to Rochester late at night, saw two pedestrians walking towards him, then suddenly disappear. On another occasion he witnessed the pedestrians again, walking across the road, however this time a car drove straight through them!
In the early of hours of July 13, 1974, Maurice Goodenough, a bricklayer from Rochester was driving through Blue Bell Hill, when a “young girl” jumped in front of his car. “The girl just walked out in front of me from the edge of the road,” he said. “My car hit her with a hell of a bang.”
He jumped out of his car to tend to the girl, who he found lying in the road, with a cut to her forehead and grazes on her knees. He covered her with a blanket and tried to wave down passers by, but no-one would stop. He thought it would be unwise to try and move her into his car, so he rushed off to Rochester Police Station to report what had happened. They returned to the scene to find nothing but the blanket Goodenough had placed over her.
A search was called in the nearby area, but there was no success. The search resumed at dawn, with tracker dogs, but no scent, tracks, or blood could be found. A check on hospital admissions as well as a newspaper appeal for the missing child were carried out, but nobody stepped forward. Goodenough was interviewed by the News of the World that Saturday night, and was obviously still shaken and adamant that he had in fact hit a girl. “I’m not going mad”, he said. “But where did she vanish? I’m still shaking from the experience.”
The Press jumped to the assumption that the girl must have been a ghost. Their research about the incident in 1965, as well as the legend of the hitch-hiking ghost, resulted in the conclusion that the girl must have been a ghost. The fact that it was a girl, her appearance in the vicinity of the 1965 crash, her vanishing after the incident, and the fact Goodenough’s car wasn’t damaged, all point to this conclusion.
It was late one Sunday evening in November 1992, when a Ian Sharpe, a 54-year-old coach driver was on his way home to Maidstone, when a young woman appeared directly in front of his vehicle near the Aylesford southbound turn-off of the A229 at Blue Bell Hill. The woman strangely stared right into his eyes, before he hit her, with the body going under the bonnet. Mortified, he slammed on his brakes, and jumped out to help the woman.
“I honestly thought I had killed her”, he said. “You can’t imagine how it felt. I was so scared to look underneath, but I knelt down and looked straight through – there was nothing there”. He then looked around the vehicle and at the side of the road, but found no-one. So sure he was of hitting the woman, he went to the police station at Rochester to tell them about the incident. Aware of the area and its reports, the police went on to explain the legend that surrounds the area.
Nevertheless, the police returned with him to the scene, and sure enough, the search proved fruitless. Ian Sharpe later described it as the most terrifying experience of his life.
Also, later that month and year, two motorists reported hitting a woman wearing a red scarf, near the Robin Hood Lane junction at Bluebell Hill. They searched and informed police, but yet again, no body was ever found.
The question begs to be asked if this phantom is the unfortunate Susan Browne, or is there another lady who haunts Blue Bell Hill?
Source - KentOnline HauntedRooms
Marlene at Miami Ghost Chronicles is a freelance writer and paranormal researcher.
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