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Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Strange Tale

When I taught first grade in a NJ public school, the teachers were given a few days off in November, allowing them to attend the teachers' convention in Atlantic City. It was a two-hour drive from where I lived at the time. I had stayed in a hotel with other teachers several times over the years, but one year I decided just to drive down for the day and come home in the evening.

I got into my trusty six-cylinder 1971 Chevy Nova (no air-conditioning, plastic upholstery, and a stick shift) and headed south. However, it began to rain--a lot. It became a deluge and turned out to be a horrible day for driving. The rain came down in sheets. For safety, I drove slower. New Jersey was a lot less developed in those days. Once I passed the Asbury Park tolls there wasn't much to see. Besides, the dismal weather kept most people home.

As I rounded a curve, I saw a man on the side of the road. He was rather tall and wore a trench coat. He did not have an umbrella or even a hat on his head--despite the flood pouring from the sky. He also did not have a car. He was waving his arms in a strange manner, but he wasn't looking at me. He seemed to be looking at the opposite side of the road--where there wasn't anything to see.

It was very, very odd. I had mixed feelings about stopping--so I didn't. But my conscience bothered me, so I slowed down further and glanced in the rear-view mirror.

He wasn't there anymore. That was chilling.

It wasn't until years later I figured out I must have seen the Parkway Phantom. Yipes!


Anonymous said...

Creepy, Pen!! Glad you didn't stop.


jenny milchman said...

Ooh, I didn't even know there was such a thing. You told this story so chillingly, Penelope! I love it.

Mannouchka said...

woo very Creepy, and chilli is like lady white.

MarkD60 said...

Way cool! Glad you told us!

Leann said...

And did you ever fine out what he was waving at? What is the story of the Parkway Phantom?? I'll have to google it.

Well told story. I was paying attention :-)

Penelope Marzec said...

For the record, there are varying accounts of this phantom. However, I saw what I saw. He was wearing the trench coat typical of the sighting, but he did not have a hat. He was waving in the odd manner others have reported. Some people say he's on the north side--but I saw him on the right hand side of the southbound lanes. Some say the sightings are only at night. I saw him during the day, but it was rather dark due to the inclement weather.

At any rate, it was a weird experience. I haven't seen him since then though I have driven past that point innumerable times.

Lita Harris said...

I worked with someone who saw this man sitting on the toll booth barricade. My co-worker had called me the next day to tell me about it and like you said, he saw what he saw.

Tricia P. said...

I was born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey and have lived here for almost my entire life except for a short stint in the Florida Keys. My mother and I have both driven on the Garden State Parkway quite often and I have never heard of the Parkway Phantom. How interesting, but creepy. Where can I find out more about it?

Penelope Marzec said...


You can do a simple search on Google. Type in Parkway Phantom, NJ. There are also references in several books about NJ. One book I own is Ghosts of the Garden State, by Lynda Lee Macken.

It has been many, many years since I saw the Phantom that one rainy day. I have not seen him since, which is okay by me. :^)