Is it possible that a spirit could haunt a car? Is it possible a car could be jinxed? Is it possible that residual could imprint itself on the individual parts to screw with future owners who picked a part and reuse it?
The most famous case of a reportedly haunted car was the one in which James Dean died. This silver Porche Spyder was one of only 90 made in 1955. On September 30, 1955, James Dean crashed in the car and died.
George Barris, a car customizer, bought the wreck for $2500. When they were bringing it in, it slipped and fell on a mechanic, breaking both his legs. After parting out the vehicle, two physicians were in a race, both of their cars having parts from the James Dean car. One died when the engine failed and careened into a tree. The other physician’s car supposedly suddenly locked up and flipped, giving him serious injuries. Later, a kid tried to steal the steering wheel and slipped and cut his arm. Two tires were sold to a young man who later got two flats at the same time and crashed.
From this helpful site: “Feeling that the Porsche could be put to good use, Barris loaned the wrecked car to the California Highway Patrol for a touring display to illustrate the importance of automobile safety. Within days, the garage housing the Spyder burnt to the ground. With the exception of the "Little Bastard," every vehicle parked inside the garage was destroyed. When the car was put on exhibit in Sacramento, it fell from its display and broke a teenager's hip. George Barkuis, who was hauling the Spyder on a flatbed truck, was killed instantly when the Porsche fell on him after he was thrown from his truck in an accident. The mishaps surrounding the car continued until 1960, when the Porsche was loaned out for a safety exhibit in Miami, Florida. When the exhibit was over, the wreckage, en route to Los Angeles on a truck, mysteriously vanished. To this day, the "Little Bastard's" whereabouts are unknown.”
There’s a syndrome called “Phantom Car” Wikipedia has some examples
“In 1982 two people in Hawaii reported seeing a mysterious black car which disappeared a second later and reappear again. In 1995, an eyewitness saw a brown 1960s car that had bumper stickers, the witness passed the car but it mysteriously reappeared ahead of the witness's car at several stoplights. Also the witness noticed that the driver was a man in his teens and that he never turned his head and he never moved the steering wheel when the man drove around the "dead man's curve" the witness said. In 2004, In Cape Town, South Africa, a Renault sedan mysteriously rolled up an embankment and hit a fence, despite the fact that the handbrake was engaged and the engine was off. Some say the car was "jumping". In the mid 1980s, three people in a sedan reported seeing a gray van heading straight towards them. Then suddenly the van vanished.”
Let’s break down the legend of the James Dean car: Should we take any pieced out car and follows it’s history, we’re likely to find a good deal of wreckage. The rate of car wrecks is ridiculously high in our country (thank you crowded roads and cell phones). However, the parts for this particular car were a sports model and used on other sports cars by people who buy from a customizer. In other words, these are likely going to be raced. What are the incidents of race cars finding bad ends? I’m not skeptical about the Spyder curse, but I’m not sure it would ever qualify as a haunting. Anyone who knew James Dean would say that it’s extremely unlikely he would personally wish harm on anyone using his car parts. And the only curse that day was poor judgment.
The concept of a curse isn’t a particularly logical one. Who cursed it? When was it cursed? How did they curse every part of the car? Was it cursed because a young actor died in it? Then, someone should chase after Princess Diana and Princess Grace’s cars. Was there someone who had a curse against the person who crashed? Well, then wouldn't the curse be contained within the person, not the car? And, just because someone died somewhere, that doesn't have to mean it's cursed. People die in hospitals every day but more people survive and thrive.
The last option is residual, that somehow the parts of the car have a memory of the crash. In the way that residual is spoken of in the spirit world, it would have had to be the steering wheel and perhaps the seat upon which James Dean sat. The other parts of the car were minor players and not making actual contact with the injured and suffering man. As well, Dean was not at fault for the head-on collision and so curses and hauntings seem unlikely. The reason we know about the history of the parts is because they had a cult following for their origins. Should we follow your Buick that crashed in 75, we might find the parts later ended up in miserable situations, we just don't keep records of it.
What about the phantom cars that seem to have no driver? That is a very intriguing concept. Perhaps it’s because we understand the deadly ability of these machines that can run faster than us, kill quicker than us? Do natives in Africa have such legends about elephants being possessed and killing them? Perhaps. It’s bad enough having present drivers on the roadway who aren’t “all there” but to have them absolutely not there at all—chilling. If you look up Phantom Cars, you’ll find plenty of legends. I'd plug this into the "robots take over the world" concept. Something capable of doing so much intricate and precision work without human guidance seems like a deadly encounter waiting to happen. A sort of fear of technology concept.
I'm not really into the idea of hauntings in cars or even curses, but I am cool with the concept that bad things can be imprinted onto the parts depending on the type of person handling it and leaving the car with a kind of "jinx" about it. It's entirely possible that the way the people handling the parts to Dean's car felt about his loss might have added some heavy bad feelings to the parts and subsequently resulted in distracting people working on their cars and therefore missing details while working on them. I also think it's possible that should something happen to them while driving, they would not blame themselves or shoddy work or using parts from an accident, but the origin of one part that went into their car, even if that part had nothing to do with the accident they had. For example, the guy who bought the bumper might blame it when his brakes give way because he knows it has a dark history, when it was his own fault for not attending to his brake maintenance.
This supposed driverless car (below) was picked up by a police dashboard cam appearing to drive through a fence. It made the circuit big time in this viral video. "Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files" did a great job of debunking the car's supposed ability to "go through a fence." Phantom cars are an exciting concept. I don't know if I believe a car could ever drive itself, but I also know enough about the field of paranormal to never close a door or I won't see who's coming up my front walkway.
Here's a very popular viral video case of a junkyard that had this ghost figure show up over a woman's car who had died in an accident. Family members said, it seemed to be her - This was a chilling film. Some critics worked to debunk it by swaying a doll on a string from a pole in front of the camera. Interesting, but not it. I'm not sure I would buy that she hovers around her car not knowing she's dead because since that car was junked, her body had been handled at the hospital. Wouldn't she follow her body, not her car? She didn't die in the junkyard lot. I know, I'm very logical.
Let's talk about this possibility of a car being haunted. The insight I can give you is as someone who reads objects psychically. I do not believe that the souls of the dead attach themselves to objects, BUT the energies that they imparted to these items, traumatic moments, dark mental energy, can corrupt the object. Whether people believe they can read objects or not, the truth is they sense all kinds of things every time they touch stuff. They shake hands with someone and feel uneasy about them, they try a seat in a theater, and get up and move to another, they pick a box off the shelf in a store and set it back up and pick another one. No real reason for these decisions that they are aware of.
In a home, a couple can argue in the bedroom and leave a permanent emotional energy residue. Imagine a car that has seen bad dealings, death, evil people, riding on a roadway on tires, running an energy, in a compact area, creating a kind of battery to hold all the energy. Now, you have a car and its parts that leave memories, feelings, and "bad stuff" that when placed into another vehicle could affect the driver unknowingly, a kind of melancholy, paranoia, anger, distraction or other emotions.
That a car possesses the souls of the dead, no freaking way. Believe me, when we get released from this physical plane, we take off like nobody's business and that does not mean malingering around the physical realm. We do not relate to that anymore. It's kind of like if you were suddenly wealthy and lived in a mansion. You don't choose to just walk away and go back to the ghetto and crawl into your old rat-infested apartment and sleep, no matter what memories you made there.
I talk about "scapeghosts" a term I made for families that blame internal issues on ghosts. Instead of realizing a teenaged kids is rebelling, they believe the child is being affected by a ghost. The family comes together to blame the "outsider" for "making" their child act that way. Or, they have issues going on and feel uneasy, guilty, angry, and focus on blaming it on something other than the true cause. I think the same could be said for haunted cars. I hear a lot of haunted car stories and they follow similar scenarios. If you believe a car can be cursed, then it can be at fault. But, remember more people die in car accidents than any other vehicles and a rate of about 117 a day in the US.
Hell, since March of this year, my car was involved in a hit and run, was vandalized repeatedly by a stalker, and someone backed into it and drove off just the other day. That's in six months! Is it cursed? No, it's parked in apartment building parking lots.
These are some movies with phantom car driver themes you might enjoy -
"Duel" A cranky businessman is tormented by an 18-wheeler with no driver???
"The Car" A southwest town is tormented by a black car with no driver.
"Maximum Overdrive" A southwest diner is held hostage by vehicles that have come to life and circle them.
"Christine" A young man gets a car that takes over his personality into something dark. (now this might be more along the lines of a haunted car from my viewpoint of the parts affecting the person)