• Kirk Gaw

Frightening Mystery Urban Legends 5

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

By Kirk Gaw

While growing up in Walkerton I heard my share of urban tales. I'm certain that many of us have learned our own. This is one scary story that will intrigue your minds! Here is one of several to be included for Walkerton Page readers before we arrive at Halloween 2021.

The Apparition Of Heidi The Hitchhiker

My Dad was always good at getting us scared with creepy stories when I was a boy. One of them he told when we drove by night towards home from South Bend on Highway 23. While en route to Walkerton we wanted to stop by the side of the road at Sousley Lake just before getting into North Liberty to pick cat tails.

My brothers and sister and I liked to pick the velvety fruit off the stem and use it for a toy cigar. This one particular 1970's night my Dad did not want us to make him stop the car after the long hours of shopping. He decided it was time to tell us about Heidi the teenager girl who waved him down one late night just before Sousley Lake on 23 before North Liberty. My Dad was working a late shift in South Bend. It was the mid 1960's (1965). He wanted to get to the safety of home because flashes of lightning were in the sky and the air was still. Looked like stormy weather!

Dad said, Out of the corner of my right eye I saw what looked like a man apparition trying to chase the car in a wooded area before he approached Sousley Lake? There was lightning so he wasn't sure what he saw. Then, southbound just at the start of the lake a woman stood between both lanes of 23. She had her right arm stretched out in the stop position and kept still. My Dad said he slowed down and brought the car to a halt just beside the woman who appeared about the age of a teenager. She said, "please mister!" "I just gotta get home on time!" "I promised my Mom and Dad in Walkerton that I would be home before The Ed Sullivan Show is over on TV!" My Father urged her to not worry he could take her there, but, added "It's way past midnight." "I just got off work the late shift in South Bend at 12am!" "I hope you are not in too much trouble?" Then he asked, "What is your name? I haven't ever seen you before?"

No cars had been out much this late at night in that area of Highway 23. Was she in trouble?

The lake was not foggy, the lightning of the sky kept flashing on with nearby thunder and there was a still in the air. She replied, "Don't tell anyone but, my name is Heidi." "I do not want to give you my last name." My Dad said, "Yeah, it's way past Ed Sullivan" or "The General Electric Theater?" My Dad asked, "how did you get here?" "Where is your car?" Heidi replied, "My boyfriend and I got into a fight up the road." She said, "My boyfriend did not respect me." She added, "I threw the door open and next thing I knew the car was upside down then landed back on its wheels." My Dad told her story as if she were with us. He said she yelled, "I ran from the car!" She forgot to describe how she pulled a knife on Neal who was visiting from Illinois after he picked her up earlier hitchhiking on Mayflower Rd. at 23? Is that what caused the car to crash? Did she really want money from her new boyfriend? Or was she just out looking for a good time that went sour? My Dad liked to give us life lessons in his stories so as not to lead us into trouble that other people may fall into. He said, "She looked like a lady whose picture I had seen before?" "Was she in the post office?" "Oh!" "Damn!" "That's right!" (My Dad just realized.)

He said he saw her likeness from an old newspaper clipping back in 1957 about a teenager who drowned after a car wreck not far from the lake. No one knew how she ended up in Lake Sousley? Was this lady her ghost? Did she run from the accident scene and kill herself? How did she appear here in 1965?

When my Dad went to get out of the car to help her at the side of the door she just vanished. She wasn't anywhere to be found as she was lit from the headlights of his beat up 1962 car. He didn't get her last name. Under the flashes of lightning in the motionless thundering sky is it any wonder he would find her? She literally vanished right before his eyes. He said he closed the car door and just went on his way as if what he had just experienced could not be explained. He had been a victim of Heidi The Hitchhiker, The phantom of Highway 23.

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