Real-Life “Killer in the Backseat”

A real-life version of the "killer in the backseat" urban legend has been reported. Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand gives the following description of this classic tale in his Encyclopedia of Urban Legends:
"Would-be killer lurks in back, detected by motorist or gas-station attendant." In all versions, the intended victim is a woman. In the versions in which another motorist spots the assailant, the driver notices that the car or truck following her keeps blinking his lights or shifting them to the high beam. When she reaches home -- still followed by the blinking vehicle -- the other driver rushes to her car and pulls out the lurking stranger. In the gas-station versions, the driver is asked by the attendant to come into the office because of some problem with her credit card. The attendant then locks the office door, tells her about the threat from behind, and calls the police.
In the incident that was recently reported, a 23-year-old woman reported finding an intruder lurking in the back seat of her SUV as she drove home from a class at Calhoun Community College. From The Decatur Daily News:
McNatt said she arrived for her 4:30 p.m. class at Calhoun, parked behind Harris Hall and locked her SUV.
She remained on campus until about 9 p.m. She used her secret code to unlock the SUV.
As she drove, she talked on her cell phone to her brother.
"When she got on the river bridge on Interstate 65, a white male sat up in the very back of her vehicle," McNatt said. "He said he wanted her to take him somewhere."
The woman's brother heard a scream and then lost the phone connection with his sister.
Nothing happened to the woman. She simply parked the car, got out, and the guy walked away. Police are investigating the incident. It seems harsh to be suspicious of someone who's been through a scary event like this, but it's hard not to be a little skeptical about whether this really happened, given how closely it parallels the urban legend.

Law/Police/Crime Urban Legends

Posted on Fri Sep 14, 2007


Maybe the guy knew about the urban legend and wanted to recreate it for real. But, if she had to use a secret code to unlock the vehicle, how did he get in?
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  07:39 PM
Maybe the poor woman had a one-off haullucination (I hope)
Posted by mangabottle  on  Sun Sep 16, 2007  at  04:41 AM
My mom always warned me about checking the back area of my car for intruders. I can see how someone might crouch in the back seat...and then attack, but not after you've been driving for miles or something.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Sun Sep 16, 2007  at  08:53 AM
If you don't mind the risk of getting shot or arrested, this would be a cruel but effective practical joke. If you were a real criminal, the odds of someone not noticing you would be too low to risk (although there are a lot of dumb criminals). For a practical joker, especially if he'd been set up by an ex-boyfriend who knew the SUV's secret code, it might be worth a try.
Posted by Mark  on  Sun Sep 16, 2007  at  01:49 PM
I think it's likely she would make up the part about definitely locking her car. It's likely she forgot and couldn't remember, but either doesn't want people to think she brought this on herself (by forgetting to lock her car) or genuinely has a false memory.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue Sep 18, 2007  at  08:44 PM
In the Seattle area there was an incident at the Tukwila Costco. A woman had left her car to return her cart, after unlocking and loading her car with massive amounts of groceries. She returned to the car and began driving away. It was at that point that someone attacked her from her back seat. She was able to raise a commotion, alerting other shoppers -- who beat the snot out of the attacker. Police discovered some disturbing things in his car -- handcuffs, knife, etc.
Posted by Nevertheless  on  Wed Sep 19, 2007  at  02:50 PM
i am the one this happened to and they left out some parts like,and that i had heard a noise before i left school thought it was my tire going flat and i looked at my tires nothing wrong i got back in the car,and when i was on the phone with my brother i turned the over head light on cause i thought maybe it was a jug of water i kept in there for my baby's formula, and as soon as i turned my light out he rose up from the back of my car(not my back seat) (i drove a mercury mountaineer) he was drunk and it took him a lil bit to get over the seat he had a gun (fake or not i'm not sure)just know he had one, he told me he wasn't gonna hurt me just wanted me to take him somewhere, i thought i could make it to the exit but as soon as he climbed over(the back seat) i pulled over on the interstate and put my car in park while it was still moving i got out tried to wave passers by down but nobody would stop (looking back on that i can underst and i'm not sure if i would have stopped either the way the world is today u never know) i stood on the interstate so i could see in my car because the head lights were blinding me i noticed he was drunk when he got out of my car and started stumbling he then told me again to take him somewhere i said no take my car, and he walked toward me i was at an angle from him he was walking towards but awy from me kinda like walking in a 1/2 circle i thought i could make it to my car i started running he tried to run after me but stumbled i was able to get back in the car get off at the exit which was about a min away i stopped at the store found my phone and called 911 of course they were already looking for me cause my brother had called them. i'm not sure where he had gotten in at i had stopped at a store earlier and my window was down. i know i locked my doors at school but the saturday after it happened my 3 year old showed me how she could unlock my car doors by pushing the last # of my code 6 times unlock all my doors (of course i didn't know this at the time) my #'s were worn down so u could tell which #'s were my code but not in what order. i drove my car only 1 time after that happened, it was my daughters birthday party and we were parked across the street from my house and i told my self that i wasn't gonna let fear rule me as i drove across the street to my home one of the balloons from the party popped up from the back it scared me so bad i actually pissed on my self i was hysterical i didn't realize it was the balloon until my husband showed me to calm me down. guess i was wrong about fear running my life because it's been 6 months and i won't go out by my self when it is dark my husband either walks me out when i have to go in early or waits at the door when i come home
Posted by christina  on  Wed Mar 12, 2008  at  12:59 AM
late i no longer own the suv i sold it a couple weeks after that happned i now own a 4 door car i check the trunk and the back seat every time i get in the car. i did get the courage to go out side by my self one morning about 5 am to go to work
swear to god this really happened) my uncle went hunting behind my house i didn't know , i was running to the car and was fixing to get in when i looked up and seen a green light and a males voice saying I SEE YOU! (my uncle thought it would be funny i guess or didn't think i would freak so bad) i started running and yelling for my husband of course by the time my husband opened to door i realized it was my uncle cause he was yelling it's me and yelling my name. he says he never said anything that he cut on his light and i started screaming that he didn't even see me but i think it was because he scared me and felt bad but maybe i was just hearing stuff because now i am a paranoid person, who knows but my family no longer tries to scare me and i do still have nightmares,i get scared when i see anyone that resembles tht man cause he still has not been caught
for the comment on haullucination ( i hope ) (i would much prefer that i would have just been seeing things then for a man to be out there doing stuff like that and that someone else will not be so lucky!) just thought i would comment because my friend told me she had read this on here (just so ya'll would know every thing that happened) and also about 3 weeks later a man tried close to the same thing on campus but wasn't caught
Posted by christina  on  Wed Mar 12, 2008  at  01:00 AM
I've always heard that the best thing to do in this situation is to speed up and crash into a poll or something (the logic being that, assuming you're buckled up and have airbags, the unbuckled man in the back will be thrown and injured in the crash and you'll be ok and able to escape). Can anyone confirm/deny this?
Posted by Lea  on  Tue Jul 29, 2008  at  02:37 PM
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