Image credit: Christine
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.  

With Halloween right around the corner, I think this a great time to tell some creepy or mysterious car stories. Like, weird and odd Twilight Zone-shit.

Maybe it was a weird story involving a car, or a ghost problem you could never fix. Or something even creepier than that. Tell us what you saw but could never quite explain.

Our own Jason has a story of his own:

Okay, I’ve got an unexplained bit of car behavior that has evaded my ability to rationally explain it for years. Of course, it involves my Beetle.

It started with the last leg of a long road trip up I-40 from, I think, Atlanta to North Carolina. This was in the mid ‘90s, so cell phones were mostly in cars and bags owned by people who weren’t me.

It was late at night, I think after midnight, when I pulled into a rest stop with a bladder that was as full and tight as a snare drum. With the urine audibly sloshing in my lower abdomen, I bolted from the car and into the rest stop, where I peed like a keg with a bullet hole.

Relieved and finally able to think clearly, I went back to my Beetle, only to realize that in my have-to-pee mania, I locked my keys in the in the car. I saw them there, dangling from the ignition.

Normally, this was no big deal; a Beetle isn’t exactly hard to break into, but to do so you need at least some kind of tool – a length of coat hanger, for example, was the most common way.

At that rest stop, though, there was nothing. I mean nothing. Trash cans had been emptied, and North Carolinians must have been sufficiently brainwashed by heavy-handed ‘90s-era cartoons like Captian Planet to the point that there was no litter, anywhere.

I tried everything I had… shoelaces, credit cards, chunks of hair, fingers, tongues, sheaves of weeds, anything I could find, but I couldn’t manage to fashion anything capable of popping that lock open.

I could have broken the vent window, or at least smashed the locking lever, but I really, really didn’t want to do that. So much so that after a couple hours, I broke down and called my then tenuous girlfriend from a payphone.

She wasn’t delighted to hear from me. She also wasn’t delighted to have to drive over an hour to a dark-ass rest stop with a coat hanger so I could drive home. We were on pretty thin ice as it was, and that hour of fuming could easily have spelled the end of it.

Defeated, I walked back to my car, prepared to spend a night waiting for a ride, and then likely dealing with the repercussions of the ride for at least a week. Out of grim, frustrated resignation, I tried the door handle yet again, expecting nothing.

It opened.

I have no idea why, or how, to this day. That door was locked. But then, it wasn’t. I pulled that little chrome trigger for what must have been the hundreth time, and just then, the little mechanism flipped it’s little spring-loaded guts from locked to freedom.

I wasn’t tugging hard on it; I just sort of gently held it, and pop! That was it. I know you’ll think that maybe in all my attempts I jostled something, somehow that made this possible, but I have yet to figure out what that could have been – and I’ve tried to replicate this, many, many times since.

What I like to believe is that, somehow, in the little rudimentary, unknowable object-spirit that lurks deep within my Bug, it sensed my peril and dismay just enough. It knew we had a bond, a mutual partnership in life and transportation, and I think it somehow knew that I could have taken a destructive route, but didn’t.

I think, for one tiny fleeting moment, my Beetle violated the unwritten rules of the World Of Objects, and gave the smallest possible direct interaction it could: a little working of a door lock mechanism, unseen, subtle, quiet.

A tiny act by a trusted inanimate partner, perhaps feeding off the affection I had for the car, and using the bit of my own soul I project into the car, like so many of us do for our cars.

Who the fuck knows. All I know is that I was able to call my girlfriend back tell her to go back to bed, and happily putter back off in my car, ready to ignore that girlfriend situation as long as I could.

Thanks for that, little Beetle.

– Torch

Likewise, I’m careful not to complain about my car when she’s within earshot. Because I’m afraid that she’ll act up in retaliation. Cars, they know, man. It could just be electronic gremlins. Or it could be the s p i r i t s.


I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do spook very easily. Do your worst.