Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Legend of the Bardsley Road ghost.

In the small farming community of Exeter, located in Tulare County, there is a rural road that has it's own ghost. The road is called Bardsley Road and supposedly the spirit of a headless motorcycle rider can be seen riding up and down it late at night.

Legend has it that sometime during the 1950's a motorcycle rider was killed on Bardsley Road. A few teenagers wanted to play a prank on one of their classmates. At night time they decided to string a rope across a road they knew he traveled on to get home, at what they estimated to be chest height. As he rode down the road, when he hit the rope he would be knocked off his bike. Or at least that was the plan. Unfortunately they misgauged the height of the rope. When the rider hit it, instead of it coming in contact with his chest, it hit him at the neck decapitating him and killing him instantly.

Apparently the rider never really left the road where he would always ride. Soon after his death, reports of seeing a bright lighting speeding up and down the road were common. Some even said they heard the sound of a motorcycle engine accompanying the light. And a few even said they saw the now headless rider on the road.

When I used to investigate haunted places around the Valley, this story had always peaked my interest and I had talked to a few people about it. One woman told me the story of how she and a few friends were having a bon fire party in one of the vineyards that lined the road. It was about 1:00 am when they saw a bright light coming down the road towards them. Thinking it was the sheriffs trying to break up their party, everyone took off running in separate directions. As the woman is running down one rows of vines, she sees the light following her. As it gets closer she can hear the roar of a motorcycle engine. Having heard of the story of the headless rider, now terrified she ducks under the vines and runs into another row as the ghost rides past her and then disappears.

No one knows why the spirit of the motorcycle rider continues to ride up and down the road. Perhaps he doesn't know he is dead and is trying to find his way home, like he did the night he was killed. Or perhaps he is looking for the people responsible for his death and will ride up and down it until he does.

23 comments:

sonicfoundation said...

ok, THAT is weird.

Michael said...

I know. It's probably just an urban legend, but still pretty weird. I've always wanted to go check out the road late at night and see if anything happens.

Karl said...

Actually I'd heard that story is associated with Marinette Avenue (also known as Avenue 288) - an east/west country road that runs just north of Exeter. The legend there is that a motorcycle rider going down Marinette was struck by a train while crossing the railroad tracks that run north out of Exeter (specifically just northeast of the Exeter cemetery (the line is now abandoned and removed)). The story from that point on is similar - people see the headlight of the motorcycle going up and down the road on dark nights.

Bardsley Avenue also an east/west road (also called Avenue 224) though it's about five miles south of Exeter. I'd never heard of the story associated with it. In any event it sounds like this motorcycle ghost story is ripe in the Exeter area.

Hallston said...

Speaking of haunted roads I've heard stories of Creek road in Ohai,CA. There are 3 ghosts that haunt that road: a headless motorcyclist, a hitchhiking bride, and most terrifying of all the "char man" a ghost of a man burnt to a crisp and accompanied by the smell of smoke and burning flesh. He is often reported to chase anyone walking along the road at night

gta united said...

i live in tulare county & these back roads all have different stories like the ghost rider from exter to a witch burning area which a house sits over. The story goes back to the 1800's which i think a pregnant woman persum to be a witch was burn. Now a house sits over the area and in the house ( if u record sound) u can hear a woman scream then a baby cry

Anonymous said...

It's actually just about 2 miles east of Tulare. My dad was the farm manager of the pace down the road and would tell us the story every time we had to go out there at night.

Anonymous said...

Bardsley road is in Tulare, ca not exeter, that is where this story originated.

Anonymous said...

Took place in the 60's in Tulare, CA it wasnt a prank but an Accident he was a friend of mine we went to Tulare Union..

Anonymous said...

Thank You! This legend is from Tulare not Exeter. We heard this story when I was a little girl in the 60's. My parents had friends who lived in the Matheny Tracks. You had to go down Bardsley to get there and it was dark and scary, at least for us kids.There was also a song about The Ghost of Bardsley Road.
There is also Lizzy's Grave across Hwy. 99 from the old Tagus Ranch. Teens used to go out there and scar each other. There was a ditch and big trees with hanging branches on the way to it.
AND lastly, the Wizards Castle in Tulare off D St(I think). You have to go down a dark alley. It actually looks like an old playhouse, but fun for a scare.

Anonymous said...

yes, Tulare, not Exeter! I heard stories all the time from my sister who was in high school in the early 60's. I remember her telling me about accidents caused by a scare from the ghost. Does anyone remember a story about the ghost vandalizing the Nazarene church on Bardsley in the 60's? I was very young at the time and can't remember the whole story.

Anonymous said...

One night about 10 years ago I was in tulare headed down bardsley on my way home. It was bout 1 in the morning I seen an african american woman in a beautiful red dress she was glowing as I passed I looked in my rearview mirror. She was there but she had no face. Still gives me chills everytime I think about it.

Anonymous said...

I remember back when I was in high school my senior year in 1977 hearing about a black girl that was killed on prom night in Tulare following an argument with her father........on bardsley

Anonymous said...

Yes, after seeing the more recent article about the Delano ghost, saw this one. From Tulare, and remember Dane Sturgeon, and the song that came out then,'The Ghost of Bardsley Road. It was about Bardsley Road in Tulare....remember being scared as a kid as we had friends who lived on the Road...and the stories
Do I remember the details? No...

Teresa Avila said...

My dad also used to tell us kids about the Bardsley Road Ghost! Always scared us! He used to talk about the Sand Pits out on Bardsley, East of Lovers Lane in Tulare CA.

Anonymous said...

The story of the man who wrecked his bike happend in Exeter by Rocky Hill, not Tulare.

Anonymous said...

I always associated the headless motorcyclist story with the incident on marinette rd. at the train tracks in Exeter and not bardsley rd. Two different areas!
Please can anyone else give more info on this.

Anonymous said...

LOL - The Ghost was my dad. He went to Tulare Western. I sat on the bikes while growing up. It was a prank back in the day.

G Boogie said...

I lived in Farmersville for 15 years and remember hearing about "the light" on Marienette in Exeter. I even delivered pizzas throughout Farmersville and Exeter for 5 of those years. Bardsley is in Tulare, not Exeter. But yeah, it was an urban legend about a kid that died on his motorcycle in the 50s or something. We always tried to look for it during our high school years. After cruising Mooney in Visalia late Friday and Saturday, we would take Walnut which turned into Ave 288/Marienette. My friends claimed to see a single red light in the distance, but I never did, and I was riding in the same car as them. Of course we smoked weed a lot back then. Before, all you had to do was drive down the road to see it. Then, after a while, you had to go inside and circle the Exeter cemetery (which was on the same road) to see it. I've tried it all. Never saw it. Now I wanna go back and drive down Bardsley in Tulare and see if its true!

Anonymous said...

If you lived in Tulare in the early '60's you probably remember the story of the Ghost of Bardsley Road. I've heard from a relative that this story goes back to at least the '40's in some iteration or another. In the early '60's, there was sort of a fever pitch of interest in it. There was the kid who died out there. My brothers, who went to Union at the time told me a strange story from out there at this time. A boy who lived on Bardsley in an old farm house had been to a football game at Tulare Union one Tule foggy night, and had come home late. The Tule fog really dampens down sound and it's just weird stuff. Anyway, he came in the front door of his family's old farmhouse, where all the lights were off, and on the left side of the entry was an old parlor. As he threw his keys down on the entry table, he noticed that there was a dwindling fire in the parlor fireplace, and his dad standing facing away from the boy in front of the fireplace in the dark. The kid said hi to his dad as he walked towards his bedroom, and then from the far end of the house he heard his father's voice asking if that was him coming home? He turned back towards the parlor and there wasn't anyone there. Lots of people have Bardsley Road stories. My sister gave me a couple of letters I'd written to her at this time, when I was about eight years old, and one of the letters was about the incidents out there and what people in town were saying. Bardsley was out in the sticks in those days. I don't know what it's like now, having not been there in many years.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Tulare when I was young and remember this story. I used to live on Sonora which was the next road north of west Bardsley. My mom would tell me to never ride my bike over there after dark or the motorcycle ghost would get you. As a kid growing up there was a huge oak tree that was out in the middle of the field to the north of bardsley and all the kids said that's where the ghost lived and I can only remember 1 time I actually built up enough courage to go out there. It took me about 40 min to get to that old tree but only 5 min to get back, I would run like hell all the way to my front door. We would always experience weird things out there during that thick winter fog. A house just blow up one night out there, I believe it was vacant, we would always have someone knocking on our door at night and no one would be there, this happened at least once a year. One mooring I got up to watch Saturday morning cartoons and our couch was pulled out from the wall and blocking our entrance to our kitchen and when I was around 6 I remember seeing a shadow standing in our hallway. A lot of weird things happens out there when I was a young kid, even now if I have a dream about something bad or ghost or something paranormal my dreams always take place in that house.

Anonymous said...

Here's my story.

November, 1974, around 7 at night on a weeknight. My cousins and a friend of theres were standing around talking. Their friend brought up this thing called the motorcycle ghost light in Exeter, California. I had never heard of it. We jumped in his car to investiate. The night was becoming foggy. We drove down Lovers Lane in Visalia, south to Walnut Avenue. Turned left on Walnut and headed east. We drove about 7-8 miles in the darkness on that dark desolate two lane country road. Noting but walnut orchards, oak trees and eeriness, with a home scattered here and there. We were the only car on the road. Got all the way to the Exeter Cemetary on the right, and saw nothing. We turned around to come back. About 1-2 miles coming back on Marinette (Walnut Ave) I turned around to have one last look. I was sitting in the back seat on the drivers side. I looked and saw a large yellowish light at telephone pole level about 100 feet behind us and following us. I yelled at the driver to turn the car around. He did and the chase was on. The light fell away at a rapid speed back towards the east. Lost sight momentarily as we sped down the road to 'chase' it. Saw it again behind us, so turned car around and gave chase. this time it was a reddish tail light sort of light about 3 feet off the ground. The driver was driving at least 80 miles an hour, and the light effortlessly stayed in front of us about 50 ft or so ahead. This went on for about 20 minuts. We chased it up and down the road. Sometimes a yellowish 'motorcyclish' headlight, kind of dim and sometimes a reddish motorcycle 'tailightish' light. Finally, chasing it back to the west again, it winked out. We stopped the car, and it idled as we sat there looking around. Then, I saw it. Off to the left, a reddish tail light sort of ball of light hovering about 3 ft off the ground about 50 ft to our left in a young walnut orchard. We sat there in silence for a few seconds. Then, I said, 'you guys want to get out and go over there?'. Suddenly, my cousin yelled out, 'it's time for dinner!". So, we left.

At later times we came out and saw it, but nothing as dramatic as the first time. Since then, many others have reported seeing it.

I used to believe it was a ghost. But, now, after much study of the subject of ghosts, spirits, the occult and the Bible, I am convinced it was a demon messing with us and others who have seen it and chased it. It is very dangerous to chase it because you can lose sight of your surroundings and other traffic or cross traffic as you chase this thing. And, today, there is a lot of residential development out on that road. It is no longer a lonely, dark two lane country road in the boonies as we called it.

Anonymous said...

About 20 years ago, my girlfriends and I decided to go out there. We did see it. We saw something on the railroad tracks go whizzing by. But, when we go there, there was nothing. We were heading back and right in front of the car about 100 yds in front was a red taillight thing. It was staying just ahead of us. We were scared but we followed it until it disappeared. Then, we went home. There is something out there allright.

the beef jerky bandit said...

I live on Bardsley rd and have been since 1955 and there is always strange things going on out here i have seen a red light in the distance that turned out to be on a water pump. and the Crabtree brothers used to ride there hondas out here late at night. and even one night some kids from western high tied a rope to two trash cans and put them on each side of the road and a car hit it and drug it about a mile down the road. but other than that i haven't seen nothing out of the ordenary