Someone's in the Backseat

Some urban legends came from a real-life experience of a true person. When somebody started to spread it, those people who usually hear it will change the original either intentional or unintentional. Unintentional in a way that they may had forgotten some of the details. Intentional because the tale teller added something to make it much more interesting. Obviously, that's how gossips circulate too.

The 'natural crime' themed urban legends, compared to others, have a great possibility that they might had originated from a fact. Stories of how a serial killer slay someone or when they usually attack becomes urban legend, well as a warning to everyone. If you had read the article here entitled The White Van and Green Van, you will notice how it greatly affects the mind of the public. That's one notable example of an urban legend that might had derived from a real-life story.

Anyway, the urban legend were about to confer is a story which is comparable to a foreign urban legend with a title, Killer in the Backseat.


[Brunvand Version (1981):[1]]

A woman living in the city [Salt Lake] was visiting some friends in Ogden. When she got into her car in front of this friend's house, she noticed that a car started up right behind her car. It was about 2:00 in the morning, and there weren't any other cars on the road. After she had driven to the highway, she began to think that this car was following her. Some of the time he would drive up real close to her car, but he wouldn't ever pass. She was really scared to death and kept speeding to try to get away from him.

When she got to Salt Lake, she started running stop lights to get away from him, but he would run right through them too. So when she got to her driveway she pulled in really fast, and this guy pulled in right behind her. She just laid on the horn, and her husband came running out. Just then, the guy jumped out of the car, and her husband ran over and said, "What the hell's goin' on here?" So he grabbed the guy, and his wife said, "This man's followed me all the way from Ogden." The man said, "I followed your wife because I was going to work, and as I got into my car, I noticed when I turned my lights on, a man's head bob down in her back seat." So the husband went over to her backseat, opened the door, and pulled this guy from out of the backseat.

Here's the Philippine version of the urban legend.

[Taken from Internet:[2]]

A man was driving alone along a dark road in the middle of the night (some say it is Balete, others do not specify). He noticed another car behind him. Nothing strange there. But after a while, he noticed that the car was still there and seemed to be following him. To be sure, he took a series of turns. But the car was on his tail, what more he kept on flashing the headlights. The guy decided to stop the car and confront the driver. The driver of the car that was following him immediately got off his car white-faced.

"Pare, kanina pa kita pinatatabi kasi merong babae sa likuran ng kotse mo na may dalang kutsilyo na tinututok sayo. Pero nung nag-flash ako ng headlight biglang nawala."
Pare, I've been trying to tell you to stop because I saw a girl at your back pointing a knife at you. But I flashed my headlights, then it vanished suddenly.

Note: Pare - buddy; pal


I included a version of Jan Brunvand's because it's one of the oldest and most original recount of the legend.

The killer in the backseat urban legend is actually one of the common legends in United States and United Kingdom. Carlos Drake, a folklorist, is the first one who noted it in 1968.

All the versions of it have one similar flow of story. The enumerated the variation.

According to the said website, the story might originally been prompted by a real news. In 1964, in New York, one murderer escaped from the jail. He hid in the backseat of a car which belongs to a police detective. The police then shot the escaped murderer.

The story always have three main characters: the car driver who is supposed to be the victim; the hero/heroine who warns the car driver; and the killer/madman in the backseat. Versions just differ in settings (E.g. gas station and in the road).

Actually, I don't know how it came here in the Philippines. One story of it even includes the name of Ms. Korina Sanchez. Fortunately, someone debunk the story and now people accepted it as false.

I entitled the article Someone's in the Backseat, because here in the Philippines, its not only killers who hides or intrudes the backseat but also the ghosts. Funny, but I found stories like that.

Back Seat Passenger[3]
By: DarK_eYes_Mikko

This happened to me when I was working as a salesman covering the South Luzon area during October of 1996.

After a full day's work with my distributor, I was driving alone around 11 p.m. from Batangas City to Manila. I had the radio on and was cruising over the part of the highway right after the Bauan shortcut. I usually get goose bumps when I pass that area and that night was no different.

I suddenly smelled sampaguita and burning candle wax in the car. I don't have a car freshener because my wife's allergic to them. The hair on the back of my neck stood and my head felt like it was getting bigger. I tried not to mind it but when I glanced at the rear view mirror, I caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure in the back seat. I looked at the road in front before glancing again at the rear view mirror to make sure there was really someone (or something) there.

Knowing that I could get into an accident if I panic, I calmed myself. I don't scare easily but I am cautious. I told the being to spare me and to not startle me because I feared getting into an accident. I told it that my kids were waiting for me at home. I then recited the Our Father and Hail Mary prayers. After the Amen, the figure vanished. The heaviness in my head went away.

I stopped at the nearest 24-hour gas station to collect my wits. There,the night manager and several gas boys asked why I was so pale and shaken. I told them what happened.

They revealed to me that that dark stretch of road I just passed was the scene of many accidents - from people ran over by big trucks and speeding cars to collisions between cars. Several motorists have reported to have had shadowy passengers in their vehicles. Some survivors of accidents even said that the ghostly back seat passenger started them, causing them to get into their accidents. The store manager and the gas boys advised me to stay a couple of minutes before resuming my journey. I waited for an hour before driving off.

Nowadays, I avoid going home alone late from Batangas.

[3]True Philippine Ghost Stories Book 8. 2004. PSICOM Publishing Inc. ISBN 971-0372-06-8. Quezon City, Philippines.

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