By Thomas D’Agostino
As you travel along Route 182 between Cherryfield and Franklin, Maine, you cannot help but enjoy the natural vistas nature has provided. Mountains, fields, ponds, and foliage, when in season, all join together to make for one beautiful ride, but if you are in search for something a bit more supernatural, this is also the stretch of road that will take you there. This stretch of the highway called Black’s Woods Road takes you over a mountain called Catherine’s Hill. It is on that crag of rock the spirit of Catherine roams, seeking a ride from the unwary traveler.
There are several accounts as to who Catherine was and how she came to haunt the section of road that is named after her but they all end the same way. The oldest version dates to the 1860s, where she was killed when the carriage she and her fiancé were riding in lost control and overturned. Other versions take place in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, where she was killed when her date lost control of the automobile, crashing into a tree. Each account tells of how Catherine was decapitated after crashing through the windshield. One special version takes Catherine back to the 1920s, where she worked at a private club as a waitress. During her break, she decided to take a ride with a gentleman in his Model-T automobile. As they rounded the corner near Fox Pond, the car lost control and flew over an embankment into the water. Catherine was of course, beheaded by the windshield. This version is interesting as the hill was named for her long before the latter stories emerged and there is, at the bottom of Fox Pond, a fully intact Model-T that was discovered by divers several years ago.
Motorists traveling that section of road have seen a woman in a white dress walking, seemingly in need of a ride. Legend states that those who refuse to stop and offer her a ride are met with the most unfortunate circumstance. A motorist once stopped when he saw the young woman standing on the side of the road. He asked if she needed assistance and she told him she was heading back to Bar Harbor. He was sure she got into the back seat of the car but when he looked in his rear view mirror, she had vanished. He pulled over and opened the back door. To his amazement, the seat was not only empty, but soaking wet as well.
Another witness once encountered Catherine in a more frightful event. As she came to the top of the hill, the woman suddenly appeared directly in front of her automobile. She quickly slammed on the brakes but the car passed through the apparition. She quickly pulled over but there was no one around at all. At that point the woman realized she just ran into a ghost and sped away in haste.
Not everyone stops to help the phantom hitcher. Those who do not heed the legend fall prey to the vengeful ghost. There have been many accidents on that section of highway. All attributed to Catherine. Another man once stopped to give Catherine a ride. When he rolled down his window to ask where she was heading, he was overcome with fright as he could see right through her. He drove off but then thought his eyes may have been playing tricks with him and the girl was actually real and needed assistance. He turned around and headed back to where she was. As he approached the area where she was, he noticed flashing lights. A van had overturned in the very spot where he had witnessed the ghost of Catherine.
The people who have reported an encounter with the hitchhiking ghost are numerous. Those who have refused to stop for her have ended up in an accident not far from the scene. Catherine’s ghost still roams the mountainside in search of a ride home, or perhaps the loved one that she was with on that fateful night she passed from this side of the veil. If you decide to take a trip out to Black’s Woods Road, look for the girl in need of a ride. If you see her it would be well advised to stop and offer her a lift.