RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Haunted Highway: The Spirits of Route 66, by Ellen Robson & Dianne Halicki

Haunted Highway
Haunted Highway: The Spirits of Route 66 is full of tall tales and wild yarns of the ghostly variety. This 1999 trade paperback written by Ellen Robson and Dianne Halicki is a perfect anthology for a passenger to read out loud while traveling. The book includes sixty-six tales about ghosts who still reputedly occupy residences and businesses along Route 66 between Chicago and the Pacific coast.

The "truth" behind the ghost stories in this book is almost irrelevant if one just accepts these tales as good, old fashioned roadtrip entertainment. In fact, I have spent considerable time at some of the locations described in the book, and I have never noticed anything other-worldly or witnessed any supernatural events during my visits. But even though I have my doubts as to whether supernatural beings inhabit these places, it's fun to learn about the experiences other visitors claim to have had.

For roadtrippers considering a trip along historic Route 66 this book is great to read for fascinating background information. Beyond the tales of encounters with ethereal beings, the authors have provided interesting facts surrounding some of the legendary people who worked, lived and died along the "Mother Road." For each story, the authors have included the address of the location along with telephone numbers and driving directions. For instance, you can walk down the same alley where the assassination of John Dillinger took place outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. (And if you're sufficiently psychic, you may even notice a "cool spot.") At the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, you can look into a mirror that once belonged to Marilyn Monroe. (Again, if you're got the gift, you may see the Monroe-like image in the mirror that others have reported.)

I think my favorite ghost story is the one about the elevator run by an unseen operator at The Inn at 835 in Springfield, Missouri. This playful ghost is thought to be Bell Miller, who built some luxury apartments in the late 1890s and still manages to perform as an ethereal landlord by fixing torn wallpaper and rearranging the locks on the guest rooms.

Are the stories verifiably true? Probably not, but Haunted Highway will definitely keep you entertained and alert as you head down the road!

Mark Sedenquist

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