Not far from where I live, there is a stretch of Ohio State Route 125 that has been dubbed Dead Man’s Curve.
The spot is just a few miles from my house, in fact. I’ve been by there many times.
According to the urban legend, if you drive this section of rural highway a little after 1 a.m., you might see the faceless hitchhiker. From a distance, this male figure may look relatively normal. Once you get close, though, you’ll see that he has no face.
Sometimes the hitchhiker isn’t content to stand there by the side of the road and watch you. There have been reports of the phantom actually attacking cars.
Yeah, I think so, too….
Dead Man’s Curve on Ohio State Route 125 has a long and macabre history. Route 125 is the main road that connects the suburbs and small towns east of Cincinnati with the city. But much of the road (including Dead Man’s Curve) was originally part of the Ohio Turnpike, which was built in 1831. (Andrew Jackson was president in 1831, just to put that date in perspective.)
That section of the Ohio Turnpike was the scene of many accidents (some of them fatal), even in the horse-and-buggy days. The downward sloping curve became particularly treacherous when rain turned the road to mud. Horses and carriages would sometimes loose their footing, sending them over the adjacent hillside.
In the twentieth century, the Ohio Turnpike was paved and reconfigured into State Route 125. In 1968 the road was expanded into four lanes.
As part of the expansion, the spot known as Dead Man’s Curve was leveled and straightened. (As a result, the curve doesn’t look so daunting today…unless you know its history.) This was supposed to be the end of “Dead Man’s Curve”.
But it wasn’t.
In 1969, there was a horrible accident at the spot. The driver of a green Roadrunner—traveling at a speed of 100 mph—slammed into an Impala carrying five teenagers. There was only one survivor of the tragic accident.
Shortly after that, witnesses began to report sightings of the faceless hitchhiker during the wee hours. (The hitchhiker is said to be most active during the twenty-minutes between 1:20 and 1:40 a.m.) There have also been reports of a ghostly green Roadrunner that will chase drivers late at night.
Oh, and Dead Man’s Curve remains deadly, despite the leveling and straightening done in 1968. In the five decades since the accident involving the Roadrunner and the Impala, around seventy people have been killed there.
Is there any truth to the legend of Dead Man’s Curve?
I can’t say for sure. What I can tell you is that I’ve heard many eyewitness accounts from local residents who claim to have seen the hitchhiker. (Keep in mind, I live very close to Dead Man’s Curve, and it’s a local topic of discussion and speculation.) Almost none of these eyewitnesses have struck me as mentally imbalanced or deceitful.
I know what your last question is going to be: Have I ever driven Dead Man’s Curve between 1:20 and 1:40 a.m. myself?
Uh, no. But perhaps I’ll get around to it someday, and I’ll let you know in a subsequent blog post!
Hey!…While you’re here: I wrote a novel about a haunted road in Ohio. It’s called Eleven Miles of Night. You can start reading the book for FREE here on my website, or check out the reviews on Amazon.
Check out my FREE short stories, too….many of them have macabre elements.
And stop back soon! I add content to this website every day!