“There is a cemetery near my hometown where a woman died in a car crash in front of it. And people who drive past the cemetery at night will see a woman there. They will pick her up because they think she is a hitchhiker, but when the car drives to the edge of the cemetery, she disappears. The graveyard is a rural cemetery right outside Chicago.”
Ghost stories of a female hitchhiker who needs assistance are common, and have even appeared several times in pop culture. Although it is not known when the urban legend of a “vanishing hitchhiker” was created, Jan Harold Brunvand’s book The Vanishing Hitchhiker further popularized it in 1981. Variations of the tale are many, with some hitchhikers being female, while others male. Furthermore, some variations are more complex and involve left behind objects or specific directions for the driver.
Caitlin’s version of the “phantom hitchhiker” seems like a direct storytelling, but it is interesting that she specifies the exact area the ghost siting occurs in. This suggests that townspeople (to some degree) believe the story, or at least believe the story enough to keep telling it to future generations.