Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: The Burpham Ghost Crash

Previously: The Black-Eyed Children.

Type: IM (Imprinted Memory).

Period/location of origin: Period is debatable. Subject’s first appearance in current form dates to Dec. 11, 2002; however, the inciting incident leading to this form of subject appears to have occurred some five months prior in July of 2002. Location is substantially easier to pin down: Subject has only ever been observed on the A3 in Burpham, Surrey, the United Kingdom.

Appearance: Subject appears to be a maroon Vauxhall Astra of which the driver has lost control, swerving off the road with its headlights on and crashing down the embankment on a particular stretch of the A3 highway at Burpham near Guildford. However, despite initial appearance, subject may perhaps best be thought of as a sort of movie or film: Subject is not, in fact, a maroon Vauxhall Astra swerving and crashing, but an astrally recorded memory of a maroon Vauxhall Astra swerving and crashing.

Modus operandi: Subject will appear only at night, and only to other drivers traveling the correct stretch of road. Upon meeting this set of precise circumstances, subject will appear as previously described: Out of control, headlights blazing, veering off the road. Subject’s “goal” (insofar as an IM can have a goal, as IMs are rarely if ever sentient) is to inspire targets to call the police and report the crash. Subject will “replay” as many times as necessary and to as many targets as required to achieve the desired outcome.

Containment: None required; subject is self-contained.

Additional notes: On Dec. 11, 2002 at approximately 7:20pm, police in Surrey began receiving reports from drivers detailing a vehicular crash they had observed on a section of the A3 in Surrey. Upon arriving at the site, officers initially discovered nothing; a lack of tire marks, wreckage, or other debris suggested that there was no evidence a crash had occurred.

Upon further investigation, however, officers discovered a maroon Vauxhall Astra some ways down the embankment, nose down, approximately 20 meters away from the location cited by concerned passersby. What puzzled police, however, was the fact that the crash did not appear to be recent. The vehicle was hidden by overgrown brush and foliage; its headlights were out; and its battery had been dead for quite some time. The car was not visible from the road.

Human remains in an advanced stage of decomposition — reportedly little more than a skeleton — were recovered from the scene.

The remains were found to belong to Christopher Chandler, 20 at the time of death. He had last been seen drinking with a friend in west London in July of 2002; however, he had not informed anyone of his intention to drive to Surrey afterwards (some 36 kilometers away), so although his brother later reported him missing, authorities were unsure where precisely to search for him. Both a pathologist and the coroner noted that there was no way to determine conclusively whether Chandler had died as a result of the crash; however, it is likely that he had. Injuries to Chandler’s right side were consistent with the crash, which had shown severe damage to the driver’s side door on the right side of the vehicle. He is believed to have escaped the vehicle through the passenger’s side door on the left.

A phone call had been made from Chandler’s cell phone approximately 60 minutes after he parted ways with his friend in London; however, records showed that the call was only a second long, indicating that it had not connected. It is unknown whether the call was made before or after the vehicle left the road.

A police spokesman was reported by news outlets at the time of discovery as saying, “We believe the car left the road and ended up in the ditch surrounded by trees and undergrowth during July. It doesn’t appear that any other vehicles were involved. … Although it was only 20 yards from the road, it could not be seen and there were no footpaths close to the spot. The car had obviously been there for a long time and thousands of motorists will have passed the spot every day.”

Subject’s purpose in waiting five months to begin playback of the crash’s memory is unknown.

Recommendation: None required. Case is resolved; subject has not been observed since the police investigation discovered its corporeal remains.


Skeleton Found Five Months After Crash.

Did Drivers See A Ghostly Replay Of Death Crash?

Ghost Car Accident Leads To Real Body, Surrey, England.

A3 “Ghost Crash” Remembered 10 Years On.

The Burpham Crash: A Mysterious Replay?


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[Photo via Unsplash/Pixabay]


One thought on “Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: The Burpham Ghost Crash

  1. I’ve driven past this spot so many times as it’s local to me and there is a weird feeling around the area. Always press the accelerator a little harder, especially at night! We have a few vehicle ghosts in Surrey. We have lots of dark country roads and it can get a little spooky driving alone at night.

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