Residence: Salinas CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 23, 2020
Primary Language: English
Here is a transcription of my (CB) interview with my informant (CH).
CH: “And so it is a very long old sort of dark road. And it’s kinda windy. And it is super quiet out there, it is creepy quiet. But I sorta always thought that it was peaceful, so I don’t know why they always get freaked out by it. And a lot of kids actually used to go out on this road and drink and party because you just couldn’t hear it and there’s nobody around to call the cops. So there’s tons and tons and tons of stories of this thing that actually seems to occur and happen there. So there’s this woman who walks along the road there, and its supposed to be if you’re out there between 1am and 3am in the morning. And you will see her in a nightgown or just a billowing white dress and her hair is sort of hanging down and flowing, but yeah it was basically the classic tale. But almost everyone says that she’s looking down. And uh… uh.. She will literally appear out of nowhere, and if you pull up next to her she will either disappear, or she will turn and look at you with these sort of sunken eyes. And others have said that if you’re driving she will just all of the sudden appear next to the car, like going as fast as the car. And then she turns and looks at you and disappears. Other people say that their radio gets staticy, and they hear someone just screaming, this blood curdling screaming. Sometimes even over the music, it was just so loud in the car and outside the car at the same time. And they’d see this woman in the middle of the road, you know just right in front of the car, and they’d literally just drive right through her, and she’d disappear. And so the story goes that its a woman who had accepted a ride from a stranger, and he had raped and murdered her brutally and just left her in the field. So, um, yeah.”
CB: “Why do you think people tell the story?”
CH: “I think they tell it to keep young women from walking the streets at night or sneaking out of the house. Because that very well could happen, it has happened, and, uh, it will probably happen again. I think it’s just to keep kids inside their houses at night, instead of going out and walking the roads, you know. It keeps them from partying”
My informant grew up in Salinas, and was raised by her mother and grandmother who grew up in the area as well. As a kid and teenager she spent a large amount of her time at or around Old Stage Road. The ghost stories surrounding the road are so notorious that I’ve heard many of them without having lived in Salinas, or ever even been to the road. Old Stage Road was a very popular teenage hangout spot, particularly in the 80’s for cruising.
I interviewed my informant over the phone, and we had a light and casual conversation. I had heard of the road and that it was haunted many times before, but this was the first time I heard the details of some of the stories associated with the road.
I think that it’s most interesting that the stories surrounding Old Stage Road are often associated with a car. I think this association reflects the importance of teenage car culture as my informant was growing up. This ghost story in particular places a heavy emphasis on proper ways to behave within car culture. It acts as a warning for young women against getting into the car with strangers. My informant cites the story as acting as a warning for all kids against going out. However, I think that ghost stories often encourage young people to go exploring. I think it’s more likely that this story was spread as a warning to women about accepting rides from strangers, and gained popularity through its appeal and connection to the younger generation.
For another variation of Old Stage Road haunting see Reddit post “Old Stage Road” posted by u/moonriver7811. https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/2op9ed/old_stage_road/