A motorist picking up a strange hitchhiker on a dark, deserted road is the classic beginning of many ghost stories, but the real dangers of giving and getting free rides have nearly ended the practice, and with it, the hitchhiker ghost stories. That’s why a new one from Argentina is interesting, and the burnt footprints in the driver’s rubber floor mat make it even better. Wait, what?
La Nuerva and other local media sources recount the alleged ghost encounter of Pedro Peirone. A worker in the oil field drilling business, he was driving his truck home via Provincial Route 92 from Arteaga to San Jose de la Esquina in Santa Fe on February 26th when he saw a young man who looked to be about 17 with his thumb out. Hitchhiking must still be common in this area because Peirone said he had picked up similar young men before and thought nothing of pulling over. That may change after what happened next.
“The kid had a garment similar to those that go to the Industrial School. He asked me to take him down at the cemetery crossing. As soon as he gets out of the truck, I feel an awful burned smell, that I went down to see if there was something on fire. At that moment I look and I do not see the guy anymore”.
However, Peirone says the young man left something behind on the floor of his truck.
“I see the rubber mat of the van melted with the shape of the guy’s feet.”
Peirone immediately reported the incident to the local police, but no footprints were found where he let the young man off. A check of security cameras in Arteaga where he claimed to pick him up show no one getting into the truck. Was it a ghost, a hallucination or is Pedro pulling a prank?
Neighbors told reporters that they have no reason to doubt Peirone’s story because he’s a good member of the community, a hard worker and good Catholic. However, Pedro himself is at a loss to explain it. (See for yourself in this video.) None of the reports indicate that the floor mats were analyzed to determine what might have caused the unusual footprint burns.
Is this a new variation on the “vanishing hitchhiker” ghost story? Many classic tales have the hitchhiker disappearing, sometimes into a cemetery, but leaving behind an object or clothing in the vehicle, but the young man in this one only left the melted footprints. Pedro doesn’t say that the young man talked much – some ghost hitchhikers give warnings of disasters ahead. No one came forth with stories of accidental deaths or other causes for a ghost to be seen along that stretch of road.
And yet, no one has another explanation. Do you believe Pedro?
Hoax or real, Pedro Peirone may have given the world a new kind of hitchhiker ghost story. All we need now is a title for the movie based on the incident.
The Hot-Footed Haunted Hitchhiker
The Ghost Who Melted Away
Pedro and the Poltergeist
If it’s a musical, maybe the role of Pedro will be attractive to Lin-Manuel Miranda.