The Hitch-Hikers Ghost Case

A Famous urban legend?

There’s a commonly heard urban legend that has been told among locals in Barnesville.  It’s even mentioned in a book, “Memories of a Linthead,” by Ruben Arnold Ware Sr.  Could the ghost of a girl hitchhiker home?  This one will be different; this time, we present the story before the history.

First, we want to thank the late and great Jim Miles for bringing us this story in “Haunted Central Georgia.” Please visit Amazon to see a list of his books. They are a marvelous collection of true civil war history and all things “weird” in Georgia.

Moving on, the tale goes that in the early 1900s, a teenage girl named Sarah Chapman died in a car accident on Cemetery Road in Barnesville.  That road is, of course, Zebulon Road (or Street if you GPS it), which borders a cemetery.

The crash happened, according to legend, in the graveyard and struck a light pole.   It killed Chapman and injured her “lover,” known as Mr.  Whit.  He was a married man, while Sarah was only fifteen years old. 

We must pause here and note that these were different times.  It’s 100 percent plausible that an event like this would have been the talk of the entire county when it happened.  Barnesville is still a small town to this day.

Here’s where it gets, well, strange.  So the story goes, one year after her death, a passerby noticed a young girl on the road late at night and asked her if she needed a ride home.  She answered “yes” and climbed into the stranger’s car.  Noticing that she didn’t talk much, the good Samaritan knocked on the door of the address that she provided, only to have a widowed man answer the door and tell him that his daughter had died the year before.  The driver described Sarah accordingly.

Also, according to the legend, this occurrence became an annual event for her father.  He wouldn’t go to bed the night of her death until an unknown driver would knock on the door and tell him about his daughter, only to find that she disappeared from the back seat.

We confirmed that this story is known among some of the older locals in the area.  We recognize that this story is a universal urban legend heard all over the United States.  This one, however, had real names.  Here’s what we found:

Although some people still claim to see her, there is no record of her death happening at all.  This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen; it just means it could have been lost in time.  What is interesting, however, is that many Chapmans live in the area and have been since the late 1800s. 

We scoured birth and death records.  We checked local newspapers. Obituaries.  Nothing was found. Unless the names were made up, or there is something we don’t know yet, it’s looking like just another urban legend. We never speculate whether something is “haunted” or not, but we do want to get down to the root of this history.  In this case, there’s nothing to support the claim that we found.

If you are a local and think you have more information on this, we would love to follow up with you and revisit this story. Send us an email at

Hey!  We hope you enjoyed this tale from Barnesville!  It was our first story to cover from our northern counties.  We encourage you to check out the cemeteries in this town (and yours) during the day and do your part to keep up the landscaping, flowers, and cleaning of monuments as needed.

Taken from the public road. Never enter a cemetery at night. Also, no, this is not the cemetery in the story. Courtesy of MGHH


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