The Tale of the Ghostly Bride

Imagine for a moment that you are driving home on a dark night. As you round a corner, you see a woman on the side of the road. Not just any woman…..a woman in a white wedding dress. She is young, maybe in her early 20’s. As you get closer, she looks at you, pleading with her eyes. Filled with concern, you pull over. She comes to the car and asks if you can drive her to a nearby church. She is clearly in distress, so you tell her to hop in. With a smile and a look of relief, she gets in the car. As you pull back onto the road, she asks you to drive faster. She says she is late for her wedding. While it seems odd to have a wedding that late at night, you realize stranger things have happened. You pick up the pace a little. As you drive, she chats pleasantly though she still seems anxious. Finally, you arrive at the church she had mentioned. You pull over, shocked to see the church shrouded in darkness. As you strain to see through the windows, you hear the woman say goodbye. You turn to bid her farewell, but she is already gone. Gone? It happened so quickly. Where is she? She is not beside the car, and she is not in the churchyard. Suddenly chills run down your spine as you notice the passenger door is still locked…..and had not been opened. She somehow disappeared into thin air.

Growing up in the Gray area, I remember hearing stories like this. Tales of a woman wearing either a wedding or prom dress walking along Route 26 at night, begging for a ride. I loved hearing the stories. Untimely death, a broken heart, a ghost that appears as real as you or I…..really, what more could you want in a good ghost story? But was it just a story – a legend – or was it something more?

Lewiston Sun Journal writer Mark LaFlamme wrote about an encounter in 2009 that really put this story in the record books – police records to be exact. On July 11th, a 16-year old boy named David frantically chased down a police officer to tell a chilling tale. Driving on Route 26 in Poland at 2:00 in the morning, he came upon a woman in a wedding dress on the side of the road. She asked him if he could drive her to the church on Route 11. Feeling sorry for her, he stopped to let her in. She told him she was late for her wedding and asked him to drive faster. When he pulled up at the church, he asked her if it was the right place. She looked directly at him and told him, “There is a cop coming.” Confused, he looked out the window. He saw a car approaching, and, as it passed, he was startled to see it was a police car. Watching the cop disappear down the road, he heard the woman say goodbye. He turned toward her, but she was nowhere in sight. According to David, the car door was never opened. She simply vanished. Scared out of his wits, he put the car in drive and chased after the police officer, flashing his lights until the cop pulled over. According to this account, when asked, the cop said he had not seen anyone in the passenger seat or anywhere near the car. He had only seen David, sitting alone in his car.

So who is this mysterious bride? There are several theories regarding the ghostly hitchhiker. The most common belief is that the ghost is that of Mary Knight, a bride brutally murdered in a farmhouse on Route 11 in 1856. However, David, the teenager who filed the police report, believes she is the ghost of a woman who was killed on her way to her wedding in the 1930’s.

Is she the unrested soul of a bride slashed to death more than 150 years ago? Or is she the broken-hearted spirit of an accident victim still desperately trying to get to the church to marry her true love? We may never know her true identity, but I hope and pray that one day she finally finds the happiness and peace tragically stolen from her in life. Until then, keep your eyes peeled on Route 26. You just never know who might be looking for a ride……

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