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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Decemystery (2023) 12: The Phantom Honda Civic


Disclaimer: the car in the header image is a 2001 Honda Civic, which wasn’t available for purchase at the time this story took place. I’m using it because it’s the best Honda Civic, and you can’t change my mind. :) This story is also dedicated to a friend of mine who goes by 2001 Honda Civic. There is absolutely no connection there whatsoever.

In this blog’s life, I’ve discussed a fair number of odd paranormal happenings. Whether it be ghost ships, Pokémon acting like an Incubus, or ghost moose, I’ve covered an array of wild ghostly tales. Yet, despite all of those stories, there’s one topic I’ve avoided: ghost cars; they’re cars that appear from seemingly nowhere, only to disappear in one way or another. It’s like they went out to buy the car equivalent of milk and cigarettes.

I remember having plans to cover a ghost car mystery—a famous one at that—all the way back in 2019. As is plainly evident, I never got around to it because of time constraints. I made plans to cover it every subsequent year at some point, but for one reason or another, I didn’t get to it. Today, however, I will rectify not having covered a ghost car story; it’s not that previously-mentioned famous case (which, for those curious, is the Garden City Ghost Car), but it’s still a ghost car story—and it’s one that I think is pretty dang interesting.

Our story today is a short, simple, and sweet one; I found it while browsing the gold mine that is the archives of About. It’s known as The Phantom Honda Civic. So come along, dear reader; let’s go ghost car hunting!

The Power of Dreams

As stated above, I found this story in About’s archives; it was in a compilation of Paranormal stories from May 2000 under the title “The Phantom Honda.” Yes, I did copy the title but added “Civic.” Totally original title; do not steal.

Okay, enough joking around; let’s get to the story. Where this incident took place isn’t said. It’s a real shame since I like knowing where these experiences happened; it helps to envision the setting, but oh well. Although we may not know the “where” in this story, we do know the “when.” Right at the beginning, our eyewitness—Dana—said that it happened three weeks prior to whenever this account was submitted. Given this experience was in the May archives, that would mean this happened in either April or May 2000.

Regardless of the date, Dana was in the car with a friend; this friend was driving while Dana was in the passenger’s seat. It was midday, and the two were going to get a bite to eat. Where they planned on getting what I’m guessing was lunch, I don’t know, so let’s pretend it was an Arby’s. So, at one point during the trip to this Arby’s, Dana and her friend found themselves at the unholy abomination known as a “stoplight.” They were in a left turn lane, waiting for the arrow to appear. Anyone who’s ever been at a stoplight while hungry will know that it takes considerably longer for the arrow to appear or for the light to turn green.

To make matters even more frustrating for the duo, the vehicles in the next lane were given the go-ahead by their stoplight; not only that, but the car directly next to Dana and her friend was a police car. I have no idea if the cruiser was also in the next lane or if I lack even the slightest bit of understanding when it comes to driving; I wouldn’t know because I’m terrified of driving. Regardless, the police cruiser also accelerated. This exhilarating display of casual commerce was suddenly interrupted by a rude, uncouth, and unwelcome visitor, a person who watched one too many Fast & Furious movies.

According to Dana, a car “just appeared” and proceeded to zig-zag “in front of the police car at a high rate of speed.” She likened it to the car being on a videotape that was being fast-forwarded. I get what she meant, but the manner in which it’s written is weird. At least, it was to me. Anyway, while this vehicle was going fast, everything around it was going at “normal speed.” I don’t understand this detail since that’s objectively true regardless of how fast a car is going. If I were to partake in a NASCAR race, the people in the stands wouldn’t be going 200 miles per hour (321 kilometers per hour). They aren’t in motion. The car is. I’m likely overthinking things, though, so let’s move on.

This next part is incredible; I wish I could have it framed on my wall. Unfortunately, there isn’t a frame that could hold the majesty that is this claim made by Dana. According to her, after the car sped by, it “disappeared.” As stupid as it sounds, I was initially stumped as to whether or not the car literally vanished into thin air or if it disappeared down the road; like, the driver just sped by and metaphorically disappeared. That likely sounds dumb, but given how close we are to the end of this story, I think you’ll understand why in a bit.

Although the clarity of how the car disappeared is murky in my eyes, one thing isn’t, and that is its appearance. Dana said that it was a blue Honda Civic that resembled a low rider. It had a tailfin and tinted windows. The tinted windows may explain why Dana didn’t notice if the car had a driver, a detail that, for anyone who was wondering, wasn’t given earlier.

That leads us to the end of Dana’s report. She said that she couldn’t “explain the appearance and disappearance of the car,” nor could she explain why the whole event occurred so quickly. And with that, the story’s done; I’m inclined to believe that the Honda Civic did pull a Jimmy Hoffa and vanished, but I’m still not 100% sure since Dana never said how anyone reacted.

With that, I want to jump right into the theories because, as it stands, I desperately want to give my own take on this story more than any other write-up I’ve done this month (which, as of this writing, it’s December 1, so I’ve done nearly all of the other Decemystery entries at this point). So, without further ado, let’s dig into the theories.


1. A ghost car

I considered going over how this story compares to other ghost car stories, but I figured the first theory would be a better place. There are many, many legends of haunted and cursed roads around the world, places where those who died in car accidents still walk—or, in some cases, drive. A few of these areas are even said to be where Satan himself will walk.

Haunted roads are by no means a novelty, and depending on where Dana and her friend were driving, it’s possible that they were on one such road. Judging by the reckless nature of the car, it’s possible that it was some sort of “echo” of a horrific wreck that happened. And normally, as a staunch believer in the paranormal, I’d be inclined to agree. However, there’s one major issue with this theory that makes it incredibly difficult to put an iota of confidence in. You see, dear reader, Dana never addressed how anyone else reacted or if they even saw the car at all.

We’re told that this car zig-zagged in front of the police car that was next to the vehicle Dana was in. I don’t know how many of you know this, but if someone speeds by a police officer, they usually pursue the speeder. That’s something cops tend to do. However, despite Dana saying that this car pulled a move that’d rival what I do whenever I play any game involving driving mechanics, we don’t know how this cop reacted. We also don’t know if her friend or any other drivers reacted. As a result, it’s like Dana was the only eyewitness to this ghost car.

That, on its own, wouldn’t be an issue; I’ve read stories of people who’ve been the only ones to see a ghost. However, if that were the case, it would have been nice if we were told that. If that is what happened, then I’d hazard a guess and say that Dana didn’t want to come across as mentally unwell, which would be understandable, but I don’t see why she wouldn’t have used a fake name if she was so worried.

Of course, it’s possible Dana didn’t ask her friend if she saw the car. While that would be a little odd in my eyes, it’s not unheard of for people to not talk about something weird they saw while driving. Many stories—be they fictional or real—have featured a sentence along the lines of, “We drove the rest of the way in silence.” So, that could have been the case.

It’s also possible that Dana really was the only one to have seen it, and I’m overthinking things. Whatever the case, this theory is—on its own—not unlikely. But, for me, the lack of details really renders it frustrating to buy into. However, this is not the time for my personal take; no, that will come later. For now, we have some other theories to go over, and the next one is one that I briefly mentioned during the main story.

2. A person who was speeding

When I was much younger, my mom and I were going to meet my dad for dinner; he was working the night shift that night. While we were driving there, some guy in a red sports car sped by us; he must have been going around 95 miles per hour (152 kilometers per hour), which would have been about 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour) over the speed limit. If I’m not mistaken, the man was later pulled over for doing the exact same thing.

I mention this because, when I first skimmed this story, my immediate thought was that Dana saw someone who was speeding; they may have lost control of their car momentarily. The claim that she had no idea where the vehicle came from reminded me of the man who sped by my mother and me; I remember him appearing from nowhere and subsequently disappearing off in the distance. It’s not a miraculous feat when you’re going twice as fast as you’re supposed to go.

This theory is, to me, a rather sound one, but it succumbs to the same problems as the one before it. We weren’t told if anybody reacted to the driver’s sudden appearance. That’s an even bigger problem with this idea because you’re not dealing with Caspar’s first family sedan. The appearance of this Honda Civic should have seen the police officer turn on his sirens and begin a scene straight out of The Blues Brothers.

Now, it’s possible that did happen, but Dana didn’t tell us. Personally, I think that would be an absurd detail to omit, but it’s possible. However, I’d rather not make too many assumptions because I’ll inevitably go in circles. So, on that note, let’s get into the next theory.

3. A hoax

This theory is a mess for reasons that I’ll get into in a bit. If I had to be honest, there’s only one thing that really works in its favor, and it’s the thing that I’ve repeated countless times: that being the lack of any apparent reaction by anybody. Even Dana, for her part, didn’t react to this clearly out-of-control vehicle or when it disappeared. If I saw a car zig-zag in front of another car at a high rate of speed, I’d probably scream and tell whoever was driving the car I was in to watch out. If every action has a reaction, then Dana’s story pokes a massive hole in that because, as it turned out, there are some people who will not react to reckless drivers and instead go about their business.

Aside from that, however, there isn’t much else that works in this theory’s favor. Everything more or less circles back to it; the lack of detail really screws with the theory as a whole. In fact, it’s so bad that I actually think it does more damage to it than my usual excuse of “why would someone make this up if they had nothing to gain from it?”

As I’ve said in other write-ups this month and will say in future ones (since I wrote these out of order like the galaxy-brained individual that I am), I often prefer to label things as hoaxes if there’s a reason to have perpetrated one. While I sometimes go against that rule if a story lacks any other plausible explanation, it’s what I try to abide by.

In this case, while I don’t know why Dana would have made this up (aside from maybe wanting to have fun, but I digress), the story is so barebones that it honestly feels like it wraps around to potentially being true, but it was written by someone who didn’t include all the necessary information for one reason or another. However, I’ll get back to this when I get to my personal take.

Despite that issue, this is arguably the only theory that has any reasonable ground to stand upon. If you’re willing to look over the possible missing details in favor of going with what’s provided (which I think is a perfectly acceptable stance to take), then take the theory and run. It’s what the Steve Miller Band would want you to do.

4. Yoda

Yoda’s doing Ketamine again, guys! Be careful on the road!

My Take

At first glance, I figured this may have been a simple case of someone who was being reckless and speeding. However, the more I thought about it, the more that didn’t sit right with me. Why, exactly? Well, as I’ve said numerous times by now, Dana never addressed whether or not her friend saw the other car, nor did she say if the police officer reacted to the car’s sudden appearance (and subsequent disappearance).

It’s that missing detail that renders this story incredibly difficult to believe. Without it, I’m left to wonder how in the world this could have happened. It’d be one thing if she saw the ghost of a pedestrian; only Dana saw this person walk, get near a car, and then vanish. That’s something I can easily see almost everyone missing; there are numerous stories of only one person who saw a ghost. Heck, there are videos that people take when in abandoned locations or are on tours that catch the vague spirit of someone, but they don’t notice it until reviewing the footage or somebody else points the ghost out.

However, this wasn’t the ghost of a pedestrian or some other poor soul who died on—or near—the road. This was, as Dana said, a speeding car; it was a “phantom Honda Civic” that appeared from nowhere and then disappeared to who-knows-where. That’s going to be noticed by someone, especially when it zig-zags in front of your own vehicle. That’s something that will surely, at the very least, get the other person to jump, lean on the horn, or—in the case of a police officer who was trained to react at a moment’s notice—turn on the sirens. Yet, it would seem that nobody really paid much mind to this car.

Now, I won’t claim to be the smartest man alive—or even smart in general. However, I’d like to think I can at least extrapolate information that, while not given upfront, was implied in some capacity. If I missed something in the original text that alluded to the police officer reacting, let me know because I clearly missed it.

Alternatively, this could be a regular occurrence on that road. If that were the case, I would once again have appreciated being told that. However, I’d still be dumbfounded that nobody would react to a car suddenly appearing. If I were, say, walking and saw a Honda Civic speed by me, I’d probably flinch because it’s a 2,330-pound (1,056-kilogram) hunk of metal that could turn me into food for vultures.

It’s because of those reasons that, as it stands, I think this story was a hoax. However—and this is a major “however”—I won’t completely dismiss the story. I’m adamant that there are a lot of missing details here. The story as it’s presented sounds implausible, but I’m certain there was a lot that wasn’t given, which would likely help make this considerably more believable. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll ever get those details because this was shared on the Internet 23 years ago, and I doubt Dana—whoever she may be—is going to stumble across this blog and give them to me. If she does, however, then that’s one of the wildest things I’ll have ever experienced.


This was a rather frustrating story to write because I kept worrying that I was repeating myself way too much once I got to the theories. A part of me wondered if I should change the format after a bit, but I didn’t want to make one exception for a write-up that, all things considered, came out quite well in my eyes. If you think it was too repetitious, do let me know, and I’ll do my best to amend that issue in the future.

With that said, there are a lot of ghost car stories that I want to get into down the road (pun intended). As I mentioned at the start, I really want to cover the Garden City Ghost Car; God willing, that will be done next year since it’s a really fun case. However, that’s for next year (maybe). As it stands, we aren’t even halfway done with December, and there are a ton of other incredibly weird tales just waiting to be shared. So, until tomorrow, stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!

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