Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Terrifying Tuesdays: Death Cars

Albert Edwin Roberts / Free Photos

In an attempt to make this blog a little more interesting, and since I am a horror writer, I've decided to start a new weekly post: Terrifying Tuesdays. Each Tuesday, I will post a blog concerning something spooky on my mind. Please comment on and discuss the topic because I want to hear your scary stories, too. To start, I've decided to write a post on cars.

In our culture, cars are extensions of their drivers. We care for them as we would our homes, and like houses, cars can become twisted and spooky. From Stephen King's story Christine to the infamous Truckasaurus Rex, cars easily become monsters. So, I want to hold a discussion on some personal terrifying cars that have haunted me.

I drive a Toyota Highlander and have received mail suggesting I could experience sudden acceleration. Though I'm prepared for such an occasion, I've never experienced it. The scariest driving experience I've ridden through took place one brisk October night years ago while I was driving my ex-wife's Pontiac Grand Prix. It was around 9 pm. Dark clouds filled the sky, and I was cruising at 60 miles per hour, heading north on Nebraska Highway 10 toward Kearney. I was supposed to be meeting up for a Halloween party. The stereo blared and the heater blasted, but when I hit the rear defroster to take care of some fogging, the the Grand Prix shut off.

Speeding along at 60 MPH, I was left in the dark. No traffic, no street light, just total darkness. The power steering abandoned me. I beat at the dash until I hit the emergency blinkers--they turned on giving me a strobing light to guide the car by. I pulled onto the shoulder and let the car slow to a stop.

The car started up fine after that, and it never gave any other problems. Still, I never forgave it for trying to kill me. I also didn't feel too nostalgic when some idiot turned in front of my ex-wife and totaled that Grand Prix--of course, my ex came away without a scratch.

It's my understanding that had I panicked, overcorrected, and wrecked, this problem would likely never be replicated, and I'd be left saying, "The car! The car did this!" So yeah, that car scared me.

I need to give an honorable mentioned to a hearse I saw one night in Pennsylvania. I had been picking up some groceries at Wegmans around eleven and came out to find a decked-out hearse parked next to me. The thing glimmered with a new coat and pristine hubcaps. Purple neon lights illuminated the undercarriage and interior. Decorative skull(I hope decorative, at least) dangled from the rearview mirror. If I'd seen the thing in broad day light, I'd probably shrug it off as some goth teen trying too hard, but being next to my car in an empty lot in the middle of the night got my skin tingling.

So, there's my car stories. What experiences have you had in cars that you'd like to terrify us with? What cars have you seen that gave you the willies?


  1. My car has issues that no mechanic has been able to diagnose. It starts out as a tick in the speedometer while I'm sitting at a red light (or stop sign). The needle will bounce up and down, as high as 40mph, even though I'm sitting still. Then (if it's dark) the lights flicker and pulse. Then the car stalls out, and has no electric power. Sometimes it will start right up, other's it takes a while.
    Recently, it's started doing this when I'm driving (except for the speedometer needle ticking).
    It also occasionally resets my presets on the radio and changes the time all by itself. I've watched it do it.
    I just wish someone could figure out what's actually wrong with it so that I could stop wondering about the people who owned the car before me.

  2. @ Lauren: It sounds like a wiring issue. Your electrical components sound like they're dying on you. ...That, or your car is haunted. Whichever.

    I drive a first gen Toyota Prius, so sometimes I idly wonder if my car will suddenly accelerate out of my control, careening straight through red intersections, and running people down in the crosswalk, leaving a ghastly trail behind me. But that's only once in a while. That I wonder, I mean.

    I don't know if I've ever been through something truly terrifying car-wise. I once got into a four car accident on a major freeway, totalling my vehicle. I was the only one hurt from the wreck. I spent a year with a misdiagnosed injury, but two surgeries later and a year-long stint in a wheelchair, I was right as rain. The accident itself wasn't particularly scary. It happened midday, on my way to a Christmas party. Most of the psychological scarring was accrued over time, as I dealt with the financial aftermath.