Phantom Hitch-hiker at Asthall
29 May 2021 (Updated 20 September 2022)
The phantom hitch-hiker has become an urban legend the world over, but the village of Asthall has a particularly interesting variant of the story.
In Oxfordshire Stories of the Supernatural Betty Puttick relates accounts from two people who both encountered a 'gypsy-like' girl on the road near Asthall Manor.
'It's too late, 'he's gone'
The first encounter took place on a damp October evening. The driver in question reported seeing a girl with 'dark shoulder-length hair, olive skin and a gypsy-like appearance' who flagged him down and climbed into the passenger seat without speaking.
The driver noticed that the girl was not just damp but wet to the skin, and made a comment about getting her home before she became ill when the girl suddenly said 'It's too late, he's gone' and disappeared.
'You got my message then?'
The second encounter happened on an afternoon in March. A driver was driving through Asthall on her way to Burford to collect her son from school when she was flagged down by a girl with a similar appearance to the previous encounter.
As before, she was described as being soaking wet and looking distressed but greeted the driver by saying 'You got my message then?' before climbing into the passenger seat. The confused driver asked the girl what she meant, but the girl responded 'The water, the river - he's gone,' before vanishing into thin air.
It's unusual that nobody has suggested an explanation for these two very similar encounters. The girl's wet appearance and references to the river suggest some tragedy in the nearly Evenlode river, but as far as I'm aware nobody has managed to connect Asthall's 'phantom hitch-hiker' to any real-world events.
- 'Oxfordshire Stories of the Supernatural' by Betty Puttick (Countryside Books, 2003, ISBN: 9781853068119)
- 'Oxfordshire Ghosts' by Joe Robinson (2000, Wharncliffe Books, ISBN: 9781871647761)