MJ STEEL COLLINS takes a spooky trip down memory lane through the haunted stretch A75 in southern Scotland
The A75, which stretches 93 miles through Dumfries and Galloway, from Gretna to Stranraer via Annan and Castle Douglas, is one I’m very familiar with having travelled on it often as a teenager when I lived in the area. What I didn’t know, and is probably a blessing in disguise, is that it’s regarded as the most haunted road in the country. It has a horrendous record for car accidents, and hoaching with ghosts to the extent that many locals won’t travel on it at night.
The Road To Hell
Reports date back to 1957, but the most eventful comes from 1962, when two brothers were returning home to Annan after a week spent touring Scotland in their father’s car. Having topped up the petrol tank at midnight in Dumfries, the Ferguson brothers had only 15 miles to go before they were home. But it’s dubious either of them got any sleep that night. The last half hour before they reached Annan was fraught and terrifying. On the road before them was a plethora of strange creatures and figures, which Derek, the eldest tried to avoid hitting whilst Norman, his 14 year old brother sat plastered in terror to the passenger seat. Strange screams and cackles rent the air, whilst a strange wind buffeted the car and shook it so badly, both brothers were ill. Derek attempted to control the car against a strange force trying to take over the steering wheel, when he saw with a relief, a furniture van on the road ahead. But it was short-lived relief as it was a ghost van, which it appeared the boy were about to crash into. Luckily, they escaped.
Later on, Derek discovered from a family friend who served outside Annan during the Second World War that the road was long associated with witchcraft. Make of that what you will…
Ghostly Figures on the A75
Strange phantom figures have also been reported on the A75. In 1957, a truck driver thought he had collided with a couple walking arm in arm along the road, but they had vanished when he stopped to check. A few people have reported seeing the couple, sometimes dressed in Victorian clothing and the man missing his eyes. During the 1970s, two women reported seeing a strange figure out on the road. There were numerous experiences reported during the 1990s, when I just happened to travel the road; often in the dark!
In 1995 Garston and Monica Miller were driving home along the A75, when a strange figure appeared on the road before them. It was a man in hessian sack, holding a rag out towards the couple’s car as they came towards him. They thought they had struck the man, but couldn’t find anything. Nonetheless, they reported the incident to the Annan police. Donna Maxwell was driving on the road near Swordwelling in 1997 with her two children in the car when she thought she had run someone over. A man in his mid-thirties wearing red top and dark trousers stepped out in front of her car as she drove past. Fearing impact, Donna instinctively shut her eyes and hit the brakes – but hit nothing. Police made a search of the area and a report appeared in the local press about a week later.
Other spirits said to haunt the A75 include a screaming old woman, and elderly lady in Victorian clothing, and an eyeless screaming old man.