Updated: Nov 24, 2021
My Dad and Uncle have a weird encounter with a Hitch Hiker.... Twice.
This is an Encounter from my Dad, and Uncle that takes place in the late 70’s. The best way to describe my Dad is kind of if you could make Steve McQueen a Mountain Man, but with a ridiculous sense of humor. Now he loved to talk, and comically mixed his terms for things up, “Like calling a sarcophagus an Esophagus, Or the Beef Taster Guards at Winchester Mansion, instead of Beef Eaters at Buckingham Palace” but he wasn’t known to “Make” up stories. In fact my dad was a great photographer, and amazing at documenting interesting things throughout his life. Sadly I lost my Dad about 2 years ago unexpectedly, so even though I had asked him about this story a few times, he isn’t around anymore to get a read through in person. I recently asked my uncle about this story and it was a carbon copy of what my dad said in the past.
My dad and his brother decided they wanted to go to Magic Mountain, and like I said this was the late 70’s so they were gonna go in style, in my dad’s custom 76 Dodge Tradesman 250. That’s right He was O.G. Vanlife, guys. And as part of my origin story, and his… His Van’s Name was UFO. It was an Orange van with an airbrushed Saucer in the clouds on the side, custom windows, and the rust orange shag carpet interior. But most of all he had 7 Old school K.C. Off-road lights on this thing. He raced dirt bikes in the 70’s and had was involved with the all the off-road races through out his life. He had all of these extra lights because of all night driving in the desert for the races and the dark roads we traveled on while camping and adventuring. He got the name UFO from his friends that were lost on the highway one night. They used the CB radio to contact him and ask how far back he was because he stopped to help another buddy who had broken Down. He told them “well I’ll start flashing my lights on and see if you can see me, then you will know how far I am back” The guys all joked and said it looked like a UFO was cresting the hill with all the lights. So that’s the theme he went with. Of course this was around the time of Close Encounters, and hanger 18, came out so the Van club guys had something fresh in they’re minds. Sorry about the long explanation. On with our Encounter.
On the way to L.A. From Las Vegas, there was an accident and tons on bumper to bumper traffic so they decided to adventure and take a more mountainous path to just get moving again, plus they didn’t have schedule and could sleep in the van if it took another day to accomplish they’re mission of Fun rides, Mexican food, and checking out the surf shops since Redondo Beach is only about another 1.5 hours further. It was dark at the time they started getting to some switch backs and tight turns going up this mountain. At the time there wasn’t 1.8 billion people living in California, so he was using those bright UFO lights to see if deer were going to jump out in front of them and to light up all those sketchy turns. As they rounded a corner in a not so safe to stop area they saw a guy in a Brown parka. Dressed like what a Cold War era Russian soldier would wear, with a green army duffle bag. He was thumbing for a ride, because of his location to the turn, they didn’t have time to slow down, or turn those lights off.
With the extreme brightness these lights put out they could make out this guy accurately. They said he had blue tinted John Lennon glasses on, down on the tip of his nose, and brown scraggly hair. This guy gave them the creeps, they both said he had that Charles Manson crazy ass look in his eyes. My Dad was 6’5 a Vietnam Era Vet, and my uncle was railroad worker. Needless to say not much scared them. But this guy gave them the creeps big time, maybe due to the fact not only he looked like a nutter, but the area he was standing in kind of startled them coming out of that corner on a sketch mountain road. My uncle remarked on how insane that guy looked, and couldn’t believe he would be standing in such an unsafe area of road hoping for a ride… Then he teased my Dad and said they should totally turn around and pick him up, he looks like a great guy, just imagine the place and people he would want to be taken too? Could be fun? Anyway they laughed it off and kept driving.
About 15 minutes later they crested the hill and began to go down the other side, They started getting in hairpin turns again. They started using the lights again and lit up the night. Five minutes into the decent they rounded a turn and couldn’t believe theyre eyes. The SAME guy in coming out of a hairpin was thumbing for a ride. Same Jacket, Same Army Duffle, Same Blue Glasses, and same demented stare in his eyes. My dad and uncle looked at each other and Spewed various expletives! How was this possible? My dad told my uncle to put a mark on the road map where they thought they were at after seeing the next mile marker. They first sped up from being freaked out, and finally getting out of the hairpin turns.
Both My Dad and I went over all the possibilities, but still have no definitive answer. He said he was never passed by another car Eliminating the Hitch Hiker being picked up and dropped off in front of them. He checked over the map and there were no marked roads or tunnels that would bypass the main highway, so no way to get in front of the Van that way. He thought maybe they were Twins? But how many late 20 early 30 year old Twins still wear the same outfits as each other, especially such a weird mix of Army Surplus, and Hippy style Clothing. Did he somehow get turned around at night and do a loop driving back the same way? But he ended up at his destination without extra miles or time, he didn’t end up back at the traffic jam on the highway. Plus unless the guy moved to the other side of the road, he would then be on the opposite side. Now we get into the interesting stuff. Could it be a time slip, did my Dad and uncle Drive through something causing a lapse in time and they Same guy WAS really in front of them. Could it be a Parallel Universe Situation with 2 of the same guy? Was he a Specter haunting the highway? My Dad felt the same way I do about my Personal Encounters. It was super weird, makes your hair stand up, which make it feel “Different than normal Startles” but there are many normal, rational, scientific, explanations it COULD be. I’ll always keep looking, but, I just haven't found Those logical answers yet...