[May 2002] - "Traffic is the biggest single killer of 12-16 year olds. Think!"



This is the message fronting the latest Think! campaign - the Government's broadcast initiative toward increasing road safety awareness.

Specifically targeting a teen audience, the 50 second cinema film, which was launched on 8 February 2002 and will run until mid May, utilises a road ghost theme to put its message across.

Almost 3000 young people aged between 12-16 were killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2000 - by far the biggest single cause of death for that age group.

The advert highlights the danger to young pedestrians by revisiting the scene of a fatal accident from the perspective of the dead young man - although this is not immediately apparent. 

Seeing his friends across the road, the boy's attention is on them as he starts to cross and not on the car that is bearing down on him. Expecting a collision, he braces himself for an impact that does not come. As the car passes through him, he notices that "it didn't hurt as much as last time." 

A dead son visits his distraught family. Think!   DTLR. Used with permission.The focus of the scene then shifts to the friends, standing by the flower-bedecked roadside railings, and to the boy's home, where his parents and sister are still lost in grief. Four lives shattered, not one.

For more on the Teenagers ad, click here, or here for the DTLR Think! homepage.

http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/  (Mar 2003)

http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/teenagers/index.htm (details of current campaign).

Similar road ghost themes were used earlier in the THINK! campaign history, with the following:

'Pedestrian'- 1.5 m TV campaign April 1994; 'Van' - 1.2m TV campaign Sept 1994

'The next two advertisements showed the consequences of driving too fast through accident reconstructions using 'ghosts'. A young female pedestrian and male van passenger are killed by drivers who are not able to stop in time. The 'ghosts' of the victims stand up at the scene and accuse the drivers of going too fast for the conditions. "Victims" speak for themselves rather than the government telling people to slow down. Drivers understand the 20/30/40 message of the previous campaigns but must now be persuaded to accept the message is directed at them personally, and their behaviour needs to change. "Van" extended message beyond pedestrian casualties to vehicle occupants themselves. The advertisements carried the new endline 'Speed Kills. Kill Your Speed'.'


[January 2002] - Landscape Spirits; Body & Soul

'Landscape Spirits' is my published reply in Fortean Times to Paul Devereux's 'The Ghost Road' article of issue 153 (see link below). Text (and original submission) here. (PDF Version). As previously mentioned, I will post a full review of Paul's book in due course.

In the same issue is an article by Patrick Harpur ('Body & Soul', pp.30-34) that finds relevance to this site's subject matter, and to Paul Devereux's work. Developing his ideas on Daimonic Reality, Harpur explores the nature of shamanic and paranormal experience, arguing that true reality is, in effect, a spectrum of states between the material world and the Otherworld, as represented by the supernatural and the realm of the unconscious. He points out that adepts of the past were free of the stifling concept of literal, material existence that predominates in modern western culture, and, as a result, were able to move between these seemingly separate worlds at will.

The natural inhabitants of this twilight cross-over realm - part-material/part-immaterial in form - and who could intrude into our own reality, Harpur refers to as daimons - after the ancient Greeks term for the mischievous and unpredictable beings that populate classical mythology. These same elemental creatures, of course, later became known in European traditions as the fair folk or fairies - who in turn - as argued by this site  - account for many of the 'ghosts' that terrorize the unwary travellers of today. 

Source(s): 'Landscape Spirits', by Sean Tudor, Fortean Times (Letters), issue 155 (February 2002, pp.54-55); 'Body & Soul', by Patrick Harpur, pp.30-34.


Road Ghosts in the News

'Nightmare: The man in grey literally came from nowhere', by C Johnston, Leicester Mercury, 03 January 2002.

'Folklore or fact? Gower ghostly goings-on', by Laura Phillips, South Wales Evening Post, 12 December 2001.

'So transparent', by David Gray, The Scotsman, 19 November 2001.

'Haunted Why one West town is the spookiest place in Britain', by Roger Tavener, Western Daily Press, 15 October 2001.


[November 2001] - Britain's Most Terrifying Ghost Stories

Aired in the UK on 23 November, London Weekend Television (LWT)'s Britain's Most Terrifying Ghost Stories - narrated by Ian McShane - featured a road ghost featured on this site - the Chew Valley ghost. Witnesses Chris Pugh, his daughter Samantha, and partner Wendy Gunning described their encounter with the girl of 5 June 1999 on the B3114 lakeside road; while Carol Gillen related her own sighting of the inappropriately dressed young woman she sighted one night in poor weather conditions.


[November 2001] - 'The ghost road' & Haunted Land

The December issue of Fortean Times [no. 153] carries an article by respected Earth Mysteries writer, researcher and broadcaster, Paul Devereux entitled 'The Ghost Road' (pp.36-40). The main thrust of Devereux's argument is that many road ghosts find better interpretation as archetypes: deep-seated and primordial patterns located in the unconscious, rather than spirits of the dead  - a conclusion I had long ago arrived at with my own previous published work [see Fortean Times 104:36-40 (November 1997)] and in the manuscript that provides the content for this website.

'The ghost road' itself promotes Devereux's latest book, Haunted Land (Piatkus, 2001. Hardback 17.99 (ISBN 0 7499 2207 9), both of which provide a valuable overview to the history, theory and range of landscape ghosts, including those non-human ghosts - Black Dogs and phantom vehicles - that have largely fallen outside the scope of my own work and this website (although recent accommodation has already been made to cover some of these strands (see Cases - Other)). Rather surprisingly, neither makes any mention of Blue Bell Hill, and Phantom Hitch-Hikers are passed over rather more cursorily than I would have expected.

However, I will save any further commentary until I have read the book, at which point I will post a review on this site.

Paul's website can be visited at Paul Devereux


[November 2001] - 'Welsh roads in haunted list'

On 17 November, the BBC news website, amongst others, carried a feature listing the UK's top ten haunted highways. The survey was attributed to Fortean Times, the Journal of Strange Phenomena, which it was claimed had compiled the report after 2,500 people contacted the magazine about ghostly roadside sightings over the last two years.

The UK's most haunted road is listed as the A23 between London and Brighton.

As a regular reader of (and sometime contributor to) 'FT' I contacted founder and co-Editor Bob Rickard to verify the survey (which had not appeared, I was sure, in any recent edition of the magazine), and more importantly, to seek permission to view what sounded like a substantial archive of new road ghost reports. 

Bob e-mailed back with an apologetic statement. The 'survey' had been a PR fabrication put out in a hurry, and without oversight by the Fortean Times team. just goes to prove once more you can't believe every you read, even on a 'trusted' source like the BBC.

Source(s): BBC News: 'Welsh roads in haunted list', Saturday 17 November 2001.