"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

This unusual "ghost" story appeared in the "Birmingham Gazette," June 16, 1934:
A brilliantly-lighted motor-bus roaring through the streets of Kensington without driver or passengers; a bus which stops for passengers and suddenly vanishes when one tries to board it. Residents in the North Kensington district were excitedly discussing these remarkable "phenomena" last night following a reference to a ghost bus at a London inquest on lan James Steven Beaton, metallurgical engineer, of Dollis Hilt, who died following a collision at the corner of St. Mark's-road and Cambridge-gardens.

Replying to a question whether this was a place where a ghost bus was stated to have been seen, one of the witnesses replied, "So some of them say."

A Birmingham Gazelle representative discovered last night that the legend of the phantom bus is well-established in the neighbourhood.

"The legend of the phantom bus has been going strong for years," said a woman resident in Cambridge-gardens. "I have never seen it and I have never met anybody who has, but the version I heard was that on certain nights, long after the regular bus service has stopped. people have been awakened by the roar of a bus coming down the street.

"When they have gone to their windows they have seen a brilliantly. lighted double-decker bus approaching with neither driver nor passengers.

"According to this story, the bus goes careening to the corner of Cambridge-gardens and St. Mark's-road, and then vanishes.

A number of accidents have happened at this corner, and it has been suggested that the phantom bus has been the cause."

Quite another version was told by Mr. William Hampton, a motor mechanic, of St. Mark's road.

"The story of a ghost bus," he said, "seems to have originated in an experience related by a woman more than two years ago.

"According to her account she was alighting from a bus at the corner of the road, intending to catch another bus to her destination. She asked the conductor which bus she ought to take and he pointed to a bus which was standing a few yards away.

"She approached the bus and was about to board it when it vanished into thin air.

"Ever since then, this story of a ghost bus has been prevalent in the neighbourhood."
Local authorities eventually had the road repaired and straightened, after which the "ghost bus" was seen no more.


  1. "The legend of the phantom bus has been going strong for years,"

    ""The story of a ghost bus," he said, "seems to have originated in an experience related by a woman more than two years ago."

    One of those at least has to be wrong unless two years was a lot longer then than now.

  2. It seems like a good example of an urban legend: something many have heard about but no one has experienced first-hand. And it's suspicious that, though "well-established in the neighbourhood", the story is reported in a Birmingham newspaper, rather than a London journal.

    Mind you, a bus that vanishes just when you try to catch it sounds like pretty much every transit service...


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