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Monday, April 13, 2020

Haunted Cars That Changed the World

Cars are the ultimate modern convenience, but they have a deadly history. In 2018 alone, there were over 1.35 million traffic-related deaths globally, according to recent figures. Traditionally when the topic of hauntings is brought up, it is houses that first come to mind, but the automotive revolution of the 20th century has brought with it an unprecedented death toll. This has set the stage for many of the unexplainable phenomena reported over the last century.

JFK’s Convertible Limousine

SS-100-X was the code name given to the presidential limousine used by John F. Kennedy and the vehicle in which his life was taken in 1963. The car, a 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible, was heavily modified to secret service specifications to the tune of $200,000 (over $1 million today) but had no bulletproof additions. Convertibles, one of the many styles of motor vehicles embedded into popular culture by American motorists, were considered extremely stylish at the time.

Surprisingly, following the assassination the car was kept in service for four years after extensive modification. Titanium armor plating, bullet-resistant glass, and a bulletproof roof were all added in an effort to protect future passengers. After decommissioning, the car was placed on display within the Henry Ford Museum where a number of unsettling sightings have since occurred. Witnesses report seeing an apparition dressed in grey standing beside the car. Most sightings were reported in November, the month the late president’s assassination took place.

James Dean’s Porsche Spyder

James Dean’s beloved Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed his “Little Bastard”, has a number of disturbing stories attached to it beyond the young actor’s untimely demise. Eerily prescient, fellow actor Alec Guinness warned Dean that “if you get in that Porsche, you’ll be dead by next week”. One week to the day, Dean collided with a station wagon in a fatal accident while driving the potentially haunted car.

What remained of the ill-fated car was salvaged by Californian physician William Eschrich, who used the engine in his own Lotus racing car and lent parts to a friend known only as “Dr. McHenry.” Disturbingly, McHenry later lost his life when his car, in which parts of Dean’s Porsche were incorporated, went out of control. Eschrich himself also experienced a number of close calls while driving his modified Lotus.

The car that saw the start of WW1

In 1914, the Gräf & Stift touring car witnessed the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the act which sparked the First World War. While this event, world-changing as it was, does not seem supernatural in origin, according to motor1 the car played host to many deaths in the following years. The car changed hands 12 times after the Archduke’s death. Misfortune befell 11 of the 12 subsequent owners, each experiencing death or serious injury behind the wheel of the cursed car. While the twelfth owner escaped any physical injury, he fell insane shortly after the purchase, spending the rest of his life in an asylum.

These stories and many more like them highlight an explosion of unexplainable and disturbing happenings since the dawn of the automotive age. From disappearing buses to haunted cars that take the lives of those who drive them, there’s no shortage of potential hauntings. That these tales arguably outnumber those of haunted houses would put any driver on edge.


This is a contributed post by Jane Sandwood. Jane has been a freelance writer and editor for over 10 years. She writes for both digital and print across a wide variety of fields. Her main interest is exploring how people can improve their health and well-being in their everyday lives. When she isn't writing, Jane can often be found with her nose in a book, at the gym or just spending time with her family.

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