Contemporary Legend – Oxford, Ohio

Ali’s Oxford Legend

“Ok, so the story goes that there was this girl who lived on Oxford-Milford Road and she had a boyfriend who her father didn’t really approve of because he rode a motorcycle…picture James Dean. So, the forbidden couple devised a system where he would ride his motorcycle down her road at night and she would flash a flashlight three times to let him know her dad was asleep and it was okay for him to come over.

So here’s where the story gets a little hazy, but I’ll tell you my favorite version. So, one night

he comes down the road and can’t wait to see her. Maybe he was coming home from WW2…I don’t know…and pays no heed that she hasn’t given him her usual signal. Throwing caution to the wind…”Fuck her conservative father; I’m in love!”…he thrusts open the door only to find his love in bed with another man! Crushed by her deception, he tears off through the night on his motorcycle, ending his life by crashing into a tree on the road.

So now the legend goes that if you park where the road makes a 90 degree turn and flash your headlight three times, a lone headlight will appear in the distance, presumably the heart-broken ghost of our James Dean-ish hero, making another ride for his sweetheart. I’ve had some success with it and a lot of people I know have as well.” –Ali Smith


I have found that some of the most interesting folklore comes from college campuses. I remember being on the tour at USC and learning just as many legends and myths about the school (ie: Tommy Trojan) as facts and statistics. This was during my junior year of high school when I visited over ten schools and had a hard time distinguishing them from one another (most tours showcased the same kinds of information). However, I distinctly remember USC having some of the most interesting folklore, whether it be the story of the legendary Tommy Trojan or rumored pranks UCLA had played on us in the past. My decision to come to USC did not ultimately depend on my interest in the school’s folklore; however, it made the school that much more appealing to me when evaluating its pros and cons and in judging my overall experience during my visit.

I was talking to my best friend at home about our school’s folklore and the one that stuck out in her mind was this urban legend. My friend is originally from New York and learned about this legend during her freshman year at school. Since she couldn’t remember the full details of the story, she referred me to her friend at school, who is a resident of Oxford, Ohio where this folklore originated. Oxford is the college town of Miami University. I called her friend, Ali, who learned about it in high school (it’s pretty well known in both the town of Oxford and Hamilton, the town next over). Ali told me that she has seen the light before and heard the mysterious engine sound at 3 am at the site. While she believes the story is true, she worries that increased traffic in the area may have scared the ghost off.