Between the towns of Uniondale and Willowmore in the Western Cape, drivers and motorcycle riders have reported encounters with one of South Africa’s most famous ghosts.
With many of our stories this season, we pick out the unique details and see where they fit with local history.
We scour old newspapers, historical records and genealogical information to see if the legend is based on fact.
This story is different.
With this story, the identity of the victim is well-known to locals.
Witnesses have been interviewed by police and newspaper reporters. In one case, one of the policemen involved even witnessed it himself.
And, what has resulted is one of the most enduring and well-documented versions of an otherwise familiar urban legend: the Uniondale Hitchhiker.
Photo: The road between Willowmore and Uniondale (Source: My Cradock | Wikimedia Commons).
Maria Roux, a student nurse, was travelling to Riversdale with her fiancee, Michiel “Giel” Pretorius.
In the early morning hours of Good Friday (April 12), 1968, Giel lost control of the vehicle and Maria, who was asleep in the passenger seat, was killed instantly.
But, some say she is still trying to get home.
- Uniondale Phantom Hitchhiker by Ian at Mysterious Britain and Ireland
- The Ghost of Unionale by Elaina J. Davidson at Bards and Tales.
- 10 of my Favorite Haunted Places in South Africa by Mariza at Caffeine and Fairy Dust
If you’re enjoying Epitaph, please consider becoming a Patreon patron.