KILLARNEY URBAN MYTH #1
This type of urban myth is well documented on the web with examples of it to be found on both Wikipedia and www.snopes.com. It is commonly referred to as ‘the vanishing hitchhiker’ or alternatively, ‘the vanishing lady’. About 20 years ago I heard a good example of it from a man I knew in Killarney.
The man’s name was Benny and one day he set out in his car on a journey, heading out of town. Being a cautious driver he checked the rear view mirror quite often. It was one of those typical Kerry days where the sun is shining and there’s a bit of rain in the air.
As he approached a certain bend in the road (he never would tell where exactly) he slowed down and checked the rear view mirror. All was clear and there was no vehicle behind him. As he drove out of the bend and straightened the car he checked the rear view again and this time he saw a woman in the back of his car. She was sat on the left with her face turned slightly down and looking out of the window. He later described her as being in her early 20s, pale and with long dark hair.
Well Benny got quite a start! At first he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him but when he looked again she was still there. Then he thought he was going mad and that he must’ve been giving her a lift but had completely forgotten. So he concentrated on the road and tried to remember when he might have let her in. At this point he had recovered his composure and decided that he hadn’t given her a lift at all and so she had got into the car some other way.
Benny knew there was a garage not too far up the road from the tight bend he had taken when he first saw the woman so he decided to stop there and sort out what was going on. As he pulled into the garage he noticed the woman was still there, her face turned to the window. He stopped the car and jumped out, leaving the engine running. The garage owner was tidying up the forecourt so Benny called him over and asked him to take a look in the back of the car and tell him if there was someone there. The man took a look at Benny, then took a look in the car and looking back at Benny, said it was empty. So Benny took a look and saw that the woman was gone. Feeling embarrassed, Benny told the garage owner what had happened. The man was not surprised; he’d heard the same story from other drivers over the years and explained that a serious accident had occurred on that road at the point where the tight bend was. He claimed that most people thought the woman was a victim of that accident and her ghost sometimes travelled the road with unwary drivers.
Oddly enough, Benny claimed that he never felt in danger at any time, he was just worried that he was losing his mind.
by Shay Ryan