A pleading woman and a phantom hitchhiker: The Central Coast's most haunted stretch of road.

For the past 40 years, people driving down a stretch of road on the NSW Central Coast have told the same story.

They were driving along Wilfred Barrett Drive, between Magenta and Noraville, late at night, when a young woman in a white dress, with long flowing hair, appeared on the side of the road. She put her thumb out, indicating she’d like a lift, and they pulled over and picked her up.

She always sat in the backseat.

The conversation was brief. The woman would answer the driver’s questions but trail off at the end of her sentences.

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By the time they passed the Noraville Cemetery, the woman had disappeared and they were alone in the car again.

When they arrived in the next town, they’d tell their story to bemused locals who had heard it all before. The police had dealt with countless reports in the past.

The phantom hitchhiker was local lore, as much a part of the Central Coast identity as beaches and train stations.

Many believe the phantom hitchhiker is the ghost of a young woman who was hitchhiking home from work in the 1970s. The woman got into a car with five young men who took her to Jenny Dixon Beach, repeatedly sexually assaulted her, and left her for dead.


The young woman was found on the beach, barely alive, but later died from her injuries.

According to local lore, she swore vengeance on her attackers, and over the course of just a few years all five men died in mysterious circumstances.

The Phantom Hitchhiker is not the only ghost haunting that particular stretch of the Central Coast. Locals often tell tales of the Jenny Dixon Beach ghost.

The story goes that in 1973, a group of four 12-year-old boys camped at Jenny Dixon Beach for the night.

After spending the night around the campfire, the boys were just about to go to bed, when one looked up and saw something standing where the beach met the bush.

It was a young woman wearing a white dress, the kind of white dress women wore in the 1800s. She had her arms outstretched towards the boys, as if she was pleading for them to help her.

Being 12-year-olds, the boys threw sticks at her, which they say went straight through her.

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The boys ran towards the car park, and when they turned around, the woman was halfway up the steps, her arms still outstretched.

The story goes that Jenny Dixon Beach is named after a coal schooner called Janet Dixon, which was swept to shore during a storm in the 1800s.

Many believe the Jenny Dixon Beach ghost is the spirit of a young mum whose son died on the schooner. She appears to visitors on the beach, pleading with them to help her find her lost son.

Today, locals and visitors alike still tell tales about their own encounters with the Phantom Hitchhiker and the Jenny Dixon Beach Ghost.

Do you have any urban legends from your hometown? Tell us in the comments below. 

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