Mortified motorist burst into tears after hitting creepy top hat-wearing ghost

A motorist "burst into tears" after a hitting a man who stepped out in front of his car, only to discover it "must have been" a ghost.

Pals Tom and Peter had the shock of their lives when driving down a country lane in Devon when a smartly-dressed bloke wearing a black top hat and carrying a bag appeared on the road.

Fortunately for the pair, they had no blood on their hands as no body was found after the collision, and instead they had encountered a local spirit.

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Dr Rob Gandy is a Visiting Professor at the Liverpool Business School at Liverpool John Moores University, as well as a former NHS manager.

But away from his university commitments, Dr Gandy has spent years documenting eye-witness accounts of high strangeness on Britain’s highways and byways.

A recent survey by Select Car Leasing found that many Brits had endured their own road-based hauntings – with roughly one in seven respondents answering ‘yes’ to the question ‘do you believe you have seen a ghost while driving?’

Dr Gandy, a prolific writer for the magazine Fortean Times, has teamed up with Select Car Leasing to reveal some of the most compelling cases he’s ever come across.

One of them involves Tom and Peter who were driving north across Woodbury Common in Devon on the B3180 towards Ottery St Mary in 1989.

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As they approached a pub on their left, the Halfway Inn, they watched in horror as a man stepped into the road, right into the path of their car travelling at around 25mph.

Dr Gandy told The Ghost Club’s Journal: “He was clear in the headlights and both Tom and Peter could see that he was wearing a black top hat and black frock coat, and he was carrying a Gladstone bag.

"The man turned his head to look straight at them, although his normal-looking face seemed blank and unaware of the presence of the car. Tom slammed on the brakes, but there was too much momentum and the car simply went through the man.

"Both Tom and Peter were convinced they had killed someone and got out of the car as soon as it came to a halt. Tom burst into tears; he was that shocked."

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Dr Gandy continued: "Tentatively they looked behind the car but there was nothing to be found. A week later Peter decided to pay a visit to the Halfway Inn to talk to the landlord about the episode; his friend Tom point blank refused to go with him.

"The landlord confirmed several other people had had similar experiences over the years. He believed that what had been seen was the ghost of a doctor who had attended a birth at the inn, and upon leaving had stepped out into the road only to be run over and killed by a horse and carriage.”

Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, said: “Running out of fuel, or having a dead battery in an electric car, is scary enough, but these accounts are sure to signpost the route to a nightmare.”


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