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Weird Road Tales/ Open Lines

Date Friday - February 26, 2016
Host George Noory
Guests R.S. BelcherOpen Lines

Trained as forensic law enforcement investigator, author R.S. Belcher has had a life-long fascination with the strange and mysterious. In the first half, he discussed his research into the weird side of the trucking industry and the mythology of the highway. Belcher covered the FBI's Highway Serial Killings Initiative—a program which correlates specific highway systems with unsolved murders. "At any given time they were looking at about 200 operating serial killers," he disclosed.

Belcher shared one of the trucker culture's cornerstone myths—the black dog. The legend usually involves a canine-like entity, sometimes resembling a blur, appearing on the road in sight of the trucker. The black dog shows up as a warning to tired truckers who are in danger of wrecking, Belcher explained. He reported on an entity drivers call Smokey Joe, who according to legend died in a fiery crash. Some truckers have claimed to see Smokey Joe's burned out black 18 wheeler chase after them, he said. If Smokey Joe catches someone, he or she gets locked in his truck and starves to death, Belcher added.

Belcher related a story from a trucker who followed an unmapped road to a ghost town that also could not be located on any maps. "There were gas stations, there were houses, restaurants. Lights were on. No people, no cars, nothing," he revealed, noting how other drivers have reported the same experience. Belcher also spoke about lost time, tales of black-eyed children seeking car rides, and one trucker's daylight sighting of a shadow person. He saw someone standing under a grove of trees who was matte black, had no discernible features, and was wearing a hat, Belcher said.

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During Open Lines, a caller named Bobby told George about the time he picked up a hitchhiker in Lubbock, Texas. Curiously, the hitchhiker needed to get to the location where Bobby was already going. According to Bobby, they stopped for gas, the hitchhiker bought him his favorite soda and cigarettes, and was dropped off in front of a rather pristine building. Bobby said he and his girlfriend drove past the building where he dropped the hitchhiker only to find it condemned.

Justin, a truck driver in Ohio, recalled encountering the black dog when he first started driving and was not used to the night shift. Justin credited the phantom canine with saving his life because he pulled over to rest after the sighting instead of continuing down the road where he would have wrecked with two fast-moving trucks that had passed him earlier. Debra from South Lake Tahoe, California, remembered the time she was hitchhiking, got picked up by a creepy man, and immediately got out and ran to the woods. Debra said a black dog followed several feet behind her until she was safely home.

The last half hour featured a tribute to the late Ed Grimsley, a ufologist who popularized the use of night vision goggles to search for UFOs.

News segment guests: Peter Breggin / Gary Ridenour / Peter Davenport

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Bumper music from Friday February 26, 2016

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