Ever picked up a hitchhiker? If the answer is yes, chances are you like to walk (or drive) a little on the wild side. How about this:
Ever pick up a hitchhiker, and then realize partway through the ride that she's a ghost?
Now that is a walk on the wild side.
And if rumors are to be believed, it's a walk that you can take if you drive down Dogwood Road in El Centro, California after midnight.
In El Centro? Beware The Hitchhiking Ghost
Locals say that she is the victim of an automobile accident, and she wanders Dogwood road in search of a ride almost every night.
If you drive by her, they say, she will simply disappear before your eyes.
If you pick her up, she will disappear once you've gone a little ways down the road.
If she sees that you refuse to pick her up, however...
The man before me has the unfortunate name of Elwood.
He is lean and young, tan in that California way and an all-around good-looking fellow. All this despite the fact that he has no legs.
"We was in El Centro and drivin' pretty fast that night," Elwood says, his thick patois rings of the Arkansas home from which he originally hails, "and we seen her walkin' up the road.
"At first, we went to stop, 'cause she looked like she might need help or somethin'.
"But when we pulled up near and we could see her face, Max - that was my buddy with me that night - he says, 'Dude, she's dead!' And I looked, and sure enough, she's got some kinda somethin' stickin' out the front of her forehead, like it was planted there during an accident.
"And she was turnin' and lookin' at us as if nothing was wrong at all; I swear, it was like she didn't know she had a part of a car stickin' out of her brain.
"Hell, I guess maybe she didn't.
"Anyways, I floored it; I'm a charitable sort, but that don't include no ghosts.
"I was just thinkin' that we was gonna get away from her, when her ass all of a sudden lands on my hood!
"And I do mean her ass! That ghost chickie was sittin' on the hood of my car, just as pissed at me as could be, and she made herself just solid enough so that I couldn't see through her all of a sudden.
"She was gettin' revenge on us, you see, for us not pickin' her up.
"That's how come I ended up with this," he says, pointing down to where his legs used to be. "Dirty bitch held on with her butt cheeks long enough for us to come around a curve and slam into a tree at ninety-seven miles an hour.
"It's amazin' we got out alive at all."
He smiles, and I ask him what's amusing about this situation.
"Aw hell," he says, "I don't give up that easy. Once I get me some prosthetic legs here pretty soon, I'm findin' me a priest with some holy water. We gonna find that bitch and give her a damn bath!"