Monday, April 06, 2009

The Vanishing Hitchhiker

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A friend of a friend tells me he saw a cow orker looking troubled in the break room. This cow orker (we'll call him Stan) talked to my friend of a friend ("Dave").

"Dave, you know I'm not religious but I had the strangest experience. I picked up a hitchhiker over the weekend. He got in the car, we were talking and then he said the weirdest thing: 'Jesus is returning soon.'

"I looked back thinking he's a religious nut, but he vanished into thin air! I swear to you he was in the car, he said his thing, and then he was gone!"

This story is very compelling to many people, and this story of the Vanishing Hitchhiker is so popular that folklorist Jan Harol Brunvand made it the title of his very first book on modern American folklore and mythology.

The Vanishing Hitchhiker story has been around for at least 400 years and probably longer. In February 1602, some Swedish men were riding home from a fair stopped to give a ride to a young girl by the roadside. The girl told the men, "There will be good crops this year. There will be enough fruits of the trees. There will also be many wars and plagues." And then she vanished.

In the 1970s, the Vanishing Hitchhiker stories morphed into prophecies of Christ's Advent which continue to this day.

You can read more here if you're interested.

In other news: Those reports about Gioacchino Giuliani earthquake predictions in Italy are completely meaningless without knowing how often and accurage Giuliani's previous earthquake predictions have been. With 6 billion people on the planet, it's likely to find somebody who 'predicted' any single event, and you might even get lucky and run across somebody who apparently has some sort of qualification. The news media are calling him a "scientist" though I haven't seen any reports of what his actual qualifications are. Maybe he's genuine, maybe not, but it's impossible to tell with the news reports I read.


Captain Kickstand said...

Cool story. Urban legends are a little bit of a hobby of mine; thanks for posting. By the way, thanks also for linking to that tilt-shift site; it's a lot of fun.

SiouxGeonz said...

I tried to stop you, but I couldn't!