Expedition Team: Dave Miller

Date: July 5, 2022

Tales of a vanishing hitchhiker have roots in stories back to the 1870’s and in the USA since 1930’s but is mostly considered just an urban legend. However, in 1980, eerie reports of a vanishing woman hitchhiker with a prediction of doom occurred just after the deadly Mount St. Helens volcano. The volcano erupted on May 18, 1980, killing 57 people and causing incredible damage. The first report of the female hitchhiker came about 80 miles north of the volcano when a man driving on HWY 12 picked up a beautiful woman with haunting eyes. She told him of a second volcanic eruption that would take place between October 12 and 14 that would devastate an area within a 100-mile radius of St. Helens. When he took his eyes off the road and looked over, she was gone. Several more reports came into the local police departments of several other small towns near the volcano site describing a woman in a white dress making the same prediction and then vanishing. One man said he was driving 60 MPH and looked in the back seat and the woman was gone.

Ironically, several months later from October 12 to 14 only small seismic events took place. However, a final major explosive activity took place a couple days later from October 16 to 18 with ash flows up to 47,000 feet high and some pyroclastic flows. The vanishing hitchhiker was only a couple of days off her prediction and fortunately the eruption was much milder than predicted. During my drive in the area west of the mountain no woman tried to hitch a ride with me. Although I consider the hitchhiker stories just an urban legend, what intrigues me is that the reports and sightings of the hitchhiker came in months before the October 12 to 14 catastrophe prediction. And what happened? Only two days after October 14, there was a volcanic eruption. Quite a coincidence.

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