The road can be a dangerous, deadly place, with cars speeding and careening all over like big heavy missiles of metal, glass, and gasoline, and people often not paying attention to where these rolling projectiles are headed, all made even worse by poor road conditions or visibility, and automobile accidents take a major, tragic death toll on the roadways of our world. It can be a harrowing thought to realize that you are almost at the mercy of fate out there on the road, racing along essentially alone in a thin shell of metal that will likely not do much good to protect you if danger should come calling. Yet what if we are not alone out there on that stretch of road? What if there are benevolent forces watching over us, looking out for us, and guiding us safely to our destination? If some reports are to be believed then this might just be the case, and actual guardian angels may be patrolling the roads and highways just as surely as the specter of death.
One particularly odd type of report involving angels on the road is that of actual hitchhiking angels, which typically appear out of nowhere to picked up, go on to make prophetic statements or prevent some accident, and then vanish without a trace. Interestingly, there is a very early case of this sort of thing going back all the way to an era before cars were even a thing. This account can be found within a 1602 manuscript held by Linköping library in Sweden rather unwieldy titled Om the tekn och widunder som föregingo thet liturgiske owäsendet, or “On the Signs and Wonders Preceding the Liturgic Broil,” by a scholar named Joan Petri Klint, who wrote much of unexplained events and was sort of an early paranormal writer.
Among the many accounts of anomalies and strange occurrences held within the manuscript is a report supposedly given by a vicar of Klint’s acquaintance, who claimed that in February of 1602 he had been travelling to the town of Vadstena by sleigh along with three companions, when they came across a very young woman out in the frosty cold. Considering it was frigid outside and this girl seemed inadequately dressed and lost out in the middle of nowhere they offered her a ride on their sleigh, which she accepted with a nod. Things got very weird when they stopped at an inn for a rest and the mysterious young woman was offered a mug of beer. As soon as the drink was set in front of her it immediately turned to malt, and yet another beer placed there suddenly transformed into acorns. The third and final beer was grasped by this wondrous girl and turned to blood. The girl, who up to this point had not uttered a single word, then proclaimed “There will be good crops this year. There will be enough fruits of the trees. There will also be many wars and plagues,” before vanishing right before their eyes. True to her word, the year turned out to be exactly as she had prophesized.
It is hard to know if this was supposed to be an angel or not, but it certainly seems to fit, and remains a rather curious very early account of such roadside encounters. In a more modern day report we have a man who gave his experience on ThoughtCo. and says it was told to him by his parents, as he had been just a toddler when it happened. He says:
One late night when I was a toddler (20 now) my parents were just cruising around town while I stayed with my grandma. They were young parents and I was their first so I wouldn’t blame them for taking a break from me. And at some point they stopped at a gas station and while they were there, an old homeless man came up and politely asked for a ride. The man seemed harmless and they accepted his request. They were driving along and as they were crossing an intersection at a green light when they saw a car that had blown the red light coming at their side at full speed. But instead of getting t-boned, the incoming car went straight through them. They pulled to the side to make sure everything was okay. They looked in the back to check on the man. But he had vanished.
Another person told of a somewhat similar experience with a seemingly angelic hitchhiker on Reddit, saying it was an experience his father had had when he was a young man. The witness had apparently been stuck in heavy early morning traffic one day when he noticed a man standing by the side of the road, forlorn and hitchhiking, carrying a heavy looking bag. The father was kind enough to take pity on him, pull out of the traffic and even lose his place in order to pick the bedraggled looking man up, losing who knows how much time in doing so. Once in the car the stranger proved to be very friendly and kind, and the two chatted about life, family, and work, until the man without warning demanded the car be stopped and he be let out. The poster says of what happened next:
All of a sudden he asked my dad to drop him off. Dad was confused as this was right next to a field in the middle of nowhere. The guy said don’t worry about it and got out which weirded my dad out. My dad turned to leave and noticed the guy left his bag and went to let the guy know but he was gone. Nowhere to be seen. Dad says he searched for him but it made no sense where he went or how he could hide. Upon getting back in the car he looked in the bag to find it to be empty. Also weird. He decided to continue on his way and joined back in traffic. He came to the first set of lights eventually and noticed an accident had happened to the car that was behind him in the line of traffic originally and he realized had he not picked this guy up he would’ve been in that accident. That guy saved him. 2 weeks later his wife was pregnant with me. My dad still has the bag and carries it with him in his car at all times hoping to eventually run into the guy and thank him. Dad was saved by weird guardian angel hitchhiker guy. Still has memento from occasion. Doesn’t understand what happened to this day.
This is actually a very common theme in supposed roadside encounters with angels, that for whatever reasons they seem to be there to prevent some imminent catastrophe. One witness named Brandy McCall told of her experience with this on the site Medium. She relates how she was in a serious car accident when she was 16 years old while driving with a friend. The car they were in rolled several times before bouncing between a camper and a building and finally sliding to a halt leaving shards of metal and glass in its wake. Despite the rather harrowing incident, they were both surprisingly intact, except for the blood Brandy could feel flowing down her face. A neighbor told them she had called an ambulance, but there was not much they could do but wait, as they were trapped within the overturned vehicle. As they waited a series of unusual events would transpire that would change the admittedly not very religious witness. She says:
While we waited, an older gentleman in an old green pickup truck pulled off the road behind us. This man helped me out of the mangled car, took me over to sit at the edge of the road, and handed me a towel to hold to my bleeding face. He had the softest voice and smelled like Red Man tobacco — the same thing my pawpaw chewed. He told me help was coming, and checked over my friend.
I heard the firetrucks in the distance, and it was just a few moments before they came up the hill. The captain of the Fire Department was a man named Tony who I had known since birth. We went to the same church and his kids and I were around the same age. When I saw Tony get off the truck, I knew I was okay. An ambulance came and loaded us up. Tony rode with me, seeing that I was scared to death. He told me that if the car had gone a couple of inches further, the results would have been deadly. A piece of metal from the camper had cut through the windshield of the car, which is what had caused my head to bleed. It likely would have taken off the tops of our heads if we had gone any further. On top of that, we were two feet from a propane tank that had been filled earlier that week. I don’t know how we dodged both of those bullets.
Before we got to the hospital, I asked Tony about the old man. He just stared at me and told me there was no green truck, no old man. No one was around, except for the lady whose yard we had crashed in. The road we were on was a dead end. The gentleman I saw couldn’t have gotten around the firetrucks and ambulances to go the one way out without being seen. But I still had the towel in my hand that he had given me. Even though I was raised in church — Southern Baptist — I’ve never been overly religious. But I’m telling y’all, I think I saw an angel that day. I don’t know why, and it has never happened again. But I know what I saw.
In some reports like this the angel is not physically seen, but it’s presence it certainly felt. One witness from Ohio tells on ThoughtCatalog of how she was driving with her husband home from a horse stable when another vehicle made a sudden turn right in front of them, causing them to lose control of their car and crash. The victim found that her door on the passenger side was jammed and that she was hopelessly trapped within the totaled vehicle. The witness explains the miraculous things that happened next:
I was sitting there in deep shock, helpless, unable to exit the vehicle. But the next thing I remember, I was somehow transported and found myself standing on the road next to the car. I saw a dark shadow at the front of the car. It looked like the front part of a man from the side view. Sometime later the driver’s husband said to me, “I don’t know how you got out of that car.” I thought about it some more and realized I must have been moved through the car door with some supernatural help. This has given me a new perspective on a lot of things, including angelic protection.
It is hard to say whether this was “angelic protection” or not, but it certainly seems a rather amazing occurrence, whatever it was. In another account, an unnamed witness tells of how he and his wife were driving on the interstate on a hot summer day in North Carolina when a truck suddenly smashed into them from behind as they were crossing a bridge over a river. Their car was violently jolted up into the air and towards the rail and a steep, yawning drop below. That most certainly would have been their fate if a strange sequence of fortunate events didn’t unfold next, of which the witness says:
I realized we could be going over the rail and plunging into the river far below—a fall that would have meant certain death. But before I could even react, my car came back into the driving lane and steadied itself. The truck screamed past us only inches from my door. I managed to get off the bridge and pull over on the shoulder of the road to inspect my car. The driver of the truck had also stopped and rushed up to me. “I thought I had pushed you over the bridge when I hit your rear bumper!” he said. My wife and I were shaken but relieved.
It was a very close call. The driver had been tired and momentarily dozed off at the wheel of his speeding truck when he veered into my lane and caught the left rear of my car, sending it toward the side of the bridge. He thought we had gone over. I thought we were going over. But we didn’t. My wife says she felt the car move back to the left. I know that I didn’t turn the wheel to make it happen. We both feel that on that day, at that moment, we had the hand of an angel move our car back into the driving lane—keeping it from going off the bridge. I didn’t see an angel, but to this day we strongly feel there was a bit of extra help—an angel who rescued us from disaster.
In other instances, angels are reported as not stopping accidents so much as lending a much needed, often life-saving helping hand in times of need. One such miraculous experience happened to a Pastor John Boston, who one day was driving along with his 4-year-old daughter in the backseat when a truck swerved over the center line and came roaring towards them. In an attempt to avoid the inevitable collision, Boston veered to the side, and ended up smashing into a utility pole. This wasn’t even the worst of it, as a live transformer crackling with electricity came plunging down atop them, searing the metal and bubbling the paint with its intense heat. On top of all of this, Boston realized that not only was his daughter’s seatbelt jammed, but that the door wouldn’t open either.
It was during this seemingly inescapable situation, with the hissing transformer threatening to engulf their car in flames, that Boston says a stranger approached from the freedom of the street that remained out of his reach. The man was described as somewhat “scruffy,” but he was amazingly able to effortlessly open the car’s jammed door, unlatch the seatbelt that had moments before been completely stuck, and then carry the two of them 20 feet away to safety, just as the car caught fire to spew smoke everywhere. When the witness and his daughter were out of harm’s way, the man simply said, “My name is Johnny, the police are almost here and I can’t be here when they get here but you’re gonna be okay,” before standing up and just vanishing. Since that day Pastor Boston has been convinced that it was an angel who pulled them from certain doom.
Next we have the story of a witness calling herself “Deb,” who says in 1980 she was a single mother with two babies living in San Bernardino County, California. She usually dropped the young kids off at her parents’ house, which was only around 30 miles away, in the city of Alta Loma, and then picked them up in the evening on her way home from work. On this evening she picked them up as usual, but on the way home she was shocked to realize that she was almost out of gas and the car was sputtering, an oversight due to the fact that the old vehicle had a broken gas gauge. She says:
Halfway home, the car started to putter, and I realized I was on empty. I pulled off the first off ramp I could, and it just happened to be one that was slightly uphill. Almost at the top of the exit, my car died and there was absolutely nothing around except empty fields and distant lights at a truck stop about a quarter of a mile down the road. With no cars in sight, I didn’t know what to do. The kids were asleep and walking miles while carrying two kids in the middle of the night was not a good option. I put my head on the steering wheel while saying a short and panicky prayer. I hadn’t even finished when I heard a few taps on my window.
The source of the tapping was a young man of around 21 years of age, well-kept, neatly dressed, and lightly smelling of soap. He seemed to almost emanate an aura of calm and reassurance, as Deb remembers that she didn’t feel any fear at all, even though this stranger was rapping on her window out in the middle of nowhere at night on this secluded road. Indeed, she felt a sense of safety, that she could trust this man even though she had never met him before, and he somehow eased her panicked state just by looking at her. This mysterious man then told her to put her car into neutral and then proceeded to push it over the hill to where she could get gas. She says:
I thanked him and followed his instructions. The car started moving. I steered it toward the lights of the truck stop and turned around to yell ‘thank you’ again to him. He was so nice! My car kept moving, but the young man was nowhere in sight. I mean, this area was completely remote. There was absolutely nowhere he could have gone that quickly, even if there was somewhere to go. I don’t even know where he came from to begin with.
I’ve always trusted in God to take care of us, but in relating that story many times to my children, who are now 30 and 32, they know for a fact that angels do exist and are sent to us if we just believe. I always thought it was so amazing that we were sent someone who I would trust instinctively without question. Since that incident, I’ve come to believe that we probably encounter angels all the time, and take for granted who they really are. I think they come in all shapes and sizes, young and old … and sometimes when we least expect them.
Similarly helped by a mysteriously vanishing stranger, and perhaps an even more bizarre case, comes from a man who says this experience happened to his wife’s mother back in the 1960s, when she was driving with her family with her husband and the wife and her brothers when they were just very young children. They were involved in a serious accident, which sent the mother’s head smacking through a broken windshield and getting quite viciously cut up. Again, a rather curious benevolent stranger appeared, and the man says of this all:
They got out of the car, and other drivers stopped to give assistance. Soon, a man carrying an old-fashioned doctor’s bag walked up and told everyone, “Step aside; I can take care of this.” He proceeded to quickly bandage the mother’s face, putting her at ease, and stopping the bleeding. Dad was distracted for a bit speaking to the police, but he says that it was not long before he got back to his wife. The man who helped her was gone. He asked people there where he went, and none of them had any recollection of ever having seen any man there at all. Not long afterward, though, at the hospital emergency room, doctors examined her and declared that whoever bandaged her must have been an expert, because a highly trained doctor could not possibly have done a better job.
She healed so well—from what could easily have been a fatal accident —that she has only one very small scar on her face. It’s only noticeable to someone who knows to look for it. The family has long been convinced that God sent an angel to give them assistance when they needed it the most, but that the angel—like many times in Scripture—instantly vanished once the job was done.
Is that what these people have experienced? Were these angels that came to them in times of need to help out? Or were they perhaps something else? Why did these benevolent entities choose these particular people when there are so many others who also face accidents, woes, and tragedy on the road? There is no way for us to really know the answers to these questions, and perhaps we are not even meant to know, their intentions, nature, and goals inscrutable mysteries beyond the human mind. Whatever the answers to these questions may be, and whether one even believes in actual literal angels or not, it sure is a comforting notion to think that as one is out on the road, maybe, just maybe there is someone or something looking out for us, watching us and waiting to snatch us from danger if it should come looking for us.
This article is dedicated to Jessica Saenz Farias, who is going through some tough times in her life and could use some angels right about now.