January isn't usually the time of the year when I'm on a hunt for terrifying, haunted stories about Rockford, but today I happened to stumble across one that was too creepy not to share.

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash
Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Do You Know the Story of Rockford's 'Hitchhiking Wraith'?

When it comes to fascinating tales about Rockford's history, Kathi Kresol of Haunted Rockford is always my go-to for a major case of the scared goosies. She's written a whole book about our city's haunted past called 'Haunted Rockford Illinois', and she hosts several Haunted Rockford tours and events throughout the year. In summary, Kathi Kresel really knows her stuff. I've had the privilege of hearing Kathi Kresol tell her stories several times, but until today I had never heard the story about Rockford's 'Hitchhiking Wraith'.

You really need to read Haunted Rockford's full story for yourself, but I will highlight some of the juiciest bits that really gave me the goosies.

On July 15, 1933, a couple was traveling to Rockford from Chicago on Highway 20 when they picked up a hitchhiking woman. Here's where things start to get creepy according to the Haunted Rockford article;

They all spent some time chatting.  The couple noticed that the young woman was beautiful and dressed as if going to a party.  She spoke of friends and dancing the night away.  The woman told the couple her name was Mrs. Johnson and gave them her address in Rockford.


The conversation wound down after a while and the couple noticed that the woman had gone silent.  They figured that she had fallen asleep.  The wife leaned over the seat to check on the woman and was horrified to notice that the back seat was completely empty.

Yikes, right?!?

The article goes on to say that after returning home to Rockford and suffering through a terrible night of sleep, the couple decided to go to the address 'Mrs. Johnson' has given them. The man who answered the door confirmed that a woman named Mrs. Johnson had lived there but "she had been killed some time ago when she was struck while walking on the highway."

Historical records then proved that a woman who had pulled a vehicle off the US Grant Highway near Belvidere to take a walk with two friends had been struck by a vehicle and died in 1932.

Does she still roam the side of Highway 20? Only time will tell...

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