While driving down a dark, empty road in the dead of night may produce feelings of unease, one creepy urban legend makes the experience all the more unnerving.
Legend has it that if you drive along University Boulevard toward Point Grey you may encounter a spirit. According to the story, a woman, famously known as the “UBC hitchhiker,” will ask a man for a ride. Once she’s inside the car, she hands the driver a handwritten note. Following this, however, she is said to vanish into thin air.
Of course, this type of story isn’t exactly unique. According to Ghosts of Vancouver, these “ghost hitchhiker” stories are common urban myths. They usually involve a woman, typically wearing a white dress, who asks a stranger for a ride on a lonely road. Afterwards, the woman will disappear, often without saying a word throughout the duration of the encounter.
The UBC myth has multiple variations, but they all involve a disappearing hitchhiker. Some people claim that she was soaking wet from the rain and acts extremely distressed, while others report that she is quiet and mysterious.
UBC film students created a dramatization of the tale in UBC’s Legend of the Vanishing Hitchhiker. The short film was created in 1986, and tells the story of a couple who get into a heated argument on their way to the library. The woman leaves the car while they argue and is struck by oncoming traffic. Consequently, she becomes the infamous hitchhiking spirit.
Many people also believe that the university’s campus is haunted by more than one spirit. For example, UBC reports that the library may be haunted, as staff say that they’ve seen books fly off the shelves by themselves. What’s more, one of the librarians swore that she could hear someone typing when she was the only one in the library.
Although it’s impossible to know if any of these accounts are true, they might make you think twice the next time you visit campus.