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Excerpt from Haunted Ohio IV: Restless Spirits
Copyright © 1997 Chris Woodyard
AND WE WERE DRIVING, DRIVING IN YOUR CAR
It was three a.m. Things were pretty quiet around Urbana: all the fights were over and there were few cars on the streets. As they drove their police cruiser by Urbana High School, Officer Brian Cordial and his partner Dave Reese noticed a car parked on the east side of the school. There didn't seem to be anyone in the car, but they pulled up behind it. Brian told Dave to radio dispatch their location and run a stolen-vehicle check.
"As I was talking to Dave, I could see in the passenger's side mirror, a young teenage girl with long, straight light-colored hair and a thing build ducking down as if attempting to hide from the cruiser. I knew she was looking at me because the two of us made direct eye contact.
"I told Dave there was a girl in the car and that I would go check the girl and send her on her way."
Brian got out of the cruiser slowly. Police officers know that routine traffic stops are one of the most dangerous parts of their job. Brian assumed the worst he was going to find was an entangled teenaged couple, but he walked carefully as he approached the passenger side of the car. "I figured the girl was just a local kid out with her boyfriend, ducking down in the driver's seat."
A few more steps and Brian shone his flashlight into the car. He couldn't believe what he saw: the car was empty.
"I did a double take. I knew I had seen somebody in that mirror. There wasn't anyone at all in the car. I stepped back, confused. I walked slowly around the back of the car and back to the passenger side. I still didn't see anyone in the car. But I could still see her in the mirror, looking right at me! Her expression was like, 'Oh, gosh, here come the police!' I shined my light in the car again. Nothing. It spooked me."
Dave radioed in the out-of-county license plate. There was no problem, the car wasn't stolen; there were no warrants out for the owner. Dave saw Brian walking slowly around the car and back to the passenger side and he wondered why Brian was acting so funny, why he wasn't talking to the girl.
Dave got out of the cruiser. "What are you doing, man?" he asked Brian who seemed extremely jittery.
"Stand right there," Brian told Dave. "Just tell me what you see in that car. Look at the passenger-side mirror." Brian could still see the girl in the mirror, looking at them. He wondered if Dave saw her too or were his eyes playing tricks on him?
Dave looked. "Brian, there's a girl in there! Go back to the car and tell her to get on her way."
"What does she look like?" Brian wanted to confirm that Dave was seeing what he was seeing.
"Thing, long blonde hair, just a kid."
"I see her too, but, man, there is nobody in that car," Brian said.
They went back to the cruiser. "There she was again," Dave recalled, "looking at us. It knocked me for a loop. She was young and had blonde hair. There was nothing real distinguished about her. All I could make out was a face."
Later Brian told me, "We got back in our cruiser and got out of there. Knowing that there was no one in the car, we sped away from the school and we never went back that night. The next day the car was gone."
Dave said, "I've often thought about it. We checked so many cars on that shift that it would be hard to find that particular one. But it wasn't stolen. There was nothing strange about it in the computer. "After that we went straight to my house and sat there for a long time. It spooked both of us. Brian said he thought we saw a ghost. It was real plain. I don't know what it was. I looked in there. The car was locked, but there were no blankets or anything that people could have been hiding under."
Traditional ghostlore says that ghosts are often visible in mirrors. Was the blonde girl a murdered runaway? An accident victim? Or, possibly, a phantom hitchhiker, just along for the ride.