Twilight Zone in West Virginia
Laken Eubank, Jr., West Virginia, USA
I was hauling a load of lumber through eastern West Virginia, out of Virginia when I experienced something that I can only describe as a "Twilight Zone" event.
There are no ghosts in this story, but that only adds to the eerieness of it.
I have been a trucker for many years, and have put many miles behind me over the years.
I picked up a load of lumber in northern Virginia and was travelling route 55, a two lane road through West Virginia, on my way home for the weekend.
55 goes through Petersburg, Moorefield, and Seneca Rocks, West Virginia.
I remember crossing a covered steel bridge, over the Lost River. I knew that I would be in Baker is just a short time. I had planned on stopping in Baker for a soft drink and a short break. I was pretty tired, and that is probably why I was side tracked.
I don't remember making any turn offs, or exits from route 55. Once I reached Seneca Rocks, I was going to head west on 33 toward Elkins, and then there one and a half hours to home.
After I crossed the bridge, I noticed that I had been driving for an awful long time. The trip from Baker to Moorefield is only about thirty minutes. When I looked at my watch, I had been driving about three hours longer than it should have taken me. As I was driving along I noticed that I was on a strange road, not route 55 that I had driven time and time again.
I was having to pull hills that weren't there before. I was having to use the low side of the transmission, and it was taking me an excessive amount of time to drive this strange road. Up one side and down the other. Out of one curve, only to go into another. I got so mad, I started beating myself up. I couldn't believe that I allowed myself to get so tired driving that I would take a wrong turn, and end up lost on a wrong road. I quickly grabbed my road map, and in only a few minutes found that I must have been heading Back to Virginia via a different route, 258, I think. This was really going to put me behind schedule, and I was furious with myself. How stupid I was.
I looked at the map, and tried to find an alternate route back to Moorefield. The only roads on the map were dirt roads through the hills. There was no way I was going to try to drive a 60 foot tractor trailer through the woods. The only way to get back on track was to go on to Virginia, and pick up route 28 back to Seneca Rocks, or find a place to turn around and back track to where I made the wrong turn. This is where I realized that something was wrong.
As I drove along, I noticed that the road was unusually smooth, no potholes, no rough places at all. I looked for a wide place or a driveway, or someplace big enough to turn around. There wasn't a wide place or driveway anywhere. There were no guide rails, though this road was hilly and curvy. It was so curvy that my trailer was crossing way over the center of the road in every curve, and I was having to drive across the center of the road so my trailer didn't go off the road on the other side. This is when I noticed that there were no yellow painted center lines or white painted edge lines. Where in the world was I?
The longer I drove, the weirder it got.
There were no road signs, no mail boxes, no utility poles, no wildlife, and worst of all, for three hours of driving, I never met or saw one single other vehicle. I grabbed my map again, and tried to determine where I was. As I looked at my map, I notice that I would be coming to a small town called Mathias, and then just a few short miles more, I would go through another small town called Lost River. I finally saw a sign that read Mathias. I was relieved, I was no longer lost, for I was at least on the road to route 28, even though I would be late. As I entered Mathias, I expected to see houses, cars, and maybe some people, a post office, and a store or two. There was nothing. No driveways, homes, stores, people, cars, painted lines, road signs, mail boxes, nothing. I thought it was pretty strange, but a lot of places in West Virginia have just a sign designating a town, and a few miles later there would be all these things.
The next thing I saw was a sign that read Lost River. I pondered for a moment and wondered what happened to Mathias. As I continued to drive along, Lost River didn't have any homes, mail boxes, or anything, nothing, just this incredibly smooth paved road with no painted lines or guide rails. I grabbed my map again, and was relieved that in about thirty minutes or so, I would finally make it to the intersection of route 28. I had been driving on this road for at least three hours, and I was really getting tired.
About the time I expected to reach 28, I looked up ahead, and I finally reached a town with cars, people, homes, utility poles, and yes, even painted lines on the road. To my amazement, I was in Moorefield. I was flabbergasted. Why did it take me over six hours to drive a three hour trip through this stretch of road.
Before anyone thinks I went to sleep and miraculously made this drive half conscience, when I checked the mileage on the odometer, I had driven 70 miles and three hours out of my way, and when I entered Moorefield, I was on route 55.
I had never left route 55, I never made a wrong turn, but I was definitely on a road in the twilight zone, and I shudder to think what might have happened if I had stopped anywhere on this road, and got out of the truck. If I had stopped, It would have had to be in the middle of the road, because there wasn't even a wide enough place on this road to pull off.
An old trucker friend of mine had a blank look on his face when I told him about this strange drive. He looked like he saw a ghost. He told me that when he was driving truck years ago, he had heard stories that was similar to mine, that happened along this same stretch of road, but he didn't personally know any of these other drivers, so he dismissed it as an old trucker story.
I told my family that I just had to go back to this place to see where I was, so in July a couple years later, I took my wife to visit her family in Virginia. On the way back, I told my family I was going to take them through the twilight zone. As we went through the steel bridge, I described that this is the last thing I remembered seeing until I reached Moorefield. When we got to Baker, I made a left turn on 258, and told my family that I don't remember making this turn in the truck, but I must have. In about twenty minutes, we got to Mathias, and to my surprise, there were houses everywhere, cars, people, and 258 had painted lines all the way. I want to note that when I was in the truck, the road was smooth, but it was not freshly paved. About nine miles more, we made it to Lost River, and there were stores, a post office, homes, people, cars, I couldn't believe it. I said, "I swear, these things weren't here before."
I don't remember the name of the state park on down the road from Lost River, but I told my family that we would drive that road to Moorefield, it goes through the woods, and it must have been the road I was on.
When we got to the park, there is a gigantic sign that reads "no trucks". I knew that if I had seen that sign I would not have continued on it in a truck.
We drove several miles on this road, and it seemed eerily familiar, but there was wide places, mail boxes, and scattered homes. I told my family that I had to have been on this road in the truck, but I didn't know how. After we crested the last hill, I realized that there is no way I could have driven my truck on this road. About half way down this hill, there is a switchback and there is no way I could have pulled my trailer around it. No way. It would have taken dozers and wreckers to slide the trailer around this curve, and it probably would have done extreme damage to the truck, and trailer, so I determined that this is not the road I drove. To this day I do not know where I was.
When we reached the end of this road, it intersected with another road that leads into Moorefield from a different direction, then I knew that I did not drive my truck on that road through the woods. My old trucker friend told me that there is something weird about that area of West Virginia.He told me about his experience:
He was driving his pick up truck on route 28 towards Seneca Rocks. He knew he would be at Seneca Rocks in about fifteen minutes from where he was. He had driven this area time and time again, and had spent a large part of his life in Romney at a school for the deaf, so he was very familiar with the area. He said that in the time that you snap your fingers, he was from where he was to Seneca Rocks. It happened so fast, that he slammed on his brakes, and slid out of the road, and almost crashed.
Shaken up, he got out of his pick up, and walked over to the little store there to calm down, and get a soft drink. This is when he looked at the clock on the wall, and looked at his watch, and he had gotten to Seneca Rocks fifteen minutes early, for his watch was fifteen minutes slower than the clock on the wall.