The mystery of the California Highway Patrol ghost car.

Picture this.

I was sitting out the front of my rented cottage in the countryside on a two-week escape from the city. A glass of something refreshing at my side (within easy reach of course) gazing across at adjacent sun-scarred pastures whilst listening to the dusk chorus of roosting cockatoos and parakeets. A serene scene.


The calm was brutally punctuated and fractured with the high-pitched roar of a straining engine and a sea of dust on the near horizon.

Am I dreaming?

Have I possibly lapsed into some kind of holiday-coma I pondered? You see my body and mind had become hewn as one into the country rhythms of life in the preceding two weeks of my countryside getaway. Up with the sunrise and to bed with the stars. Maybe my lethargy and relaxation had started to play tricks on my city brain. Because I just could not believe what I was seeing…

A California Highway Patrol car speeding in a paddock nestled in a secluded valley in regional Victoria, Australia.

OK, sure?! That’s only wrong by about 12,000 kilometres and on so many other, logical, levels.

This would make a lot more sense I thought if the glass next to me contained something alcoholic – but it didn’t. So this is real, it started to dawn on me. But so surreal I knew I had to race inside and grab my camera to validate everything.

I was staying in a beautifully restored church and whilst I am not religious I was praying that the dust spitting police vehicle wouldn’t leave before I could capture its existence for prosperity.

After what seemed like an eternity I finally re-emerged with my SLR camera in hand and 70 – 300ml lens fitted. Thankfully the thrashing black and white motorised beast was still launching itself in and out of the hay bales trailing high clouds of early summer Victorian dust behind it.

Ok. This is real, I think?

The explanation?

I don’t have one for you. And surely that’s all the better for the story and intrigue isn’t it? I even enquired with the owner of the property if she had ever witnessed what I had. The answer was a definite “no” in combination with a polite and slight, yet noticeable, move away. Akin to how you would react when someone you’ve just met told you about the UFO they’d seen the night before.

Oh well, to borrow from one of my favourite bands – Nevermind.

The Facts. Can you solve the case of the C.H.P ghost car?

Let me know if any of you can help unlock the mystery. Below are a few clues if any of you Sherlocks out there want to take up the case.

  1. The location is Yandoit in Victoria, Australia. Quite possibly about as far away from a gridlocked Californian freeway as you can get.
  2. I actually saw said car another evening. It emerged both evenings with vigour and bombast about 7pm for about 20 minutes of energetic paddock mayhem before exiting stage-right each time.
  3. I have an inkling that potentially a ‘purpose’ per se might include scaring away the cockatoos that seem to arrive en masse at that time to peck away at the fields. Scarecrows are soooo 2015 folks. Cop cars are the new agricultural ‘black’.
  4. Oh and last, but not least, I never saw a driver. #justsaying

Over to you.

I’ve got to bale…


Editor’s Note.

It’s solved! Thanks to Facebook. Someone from the area saw this post and knew the owner. The ‘ghosts’ have even been in contact with me. Amazing.

I have written a follow up post about how social media seems to be changing six-degrees-of-separation into one! Read More

Here they are. The ‘Yandoit Highway Patrol’!


My submission into the Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle.


I'm passionate about travelling, music, photography, blogging, 'Social Anthropology' (the posh term for people-watching) and creating content. I travel to learn and observe to understand. My dream day would look something like this.... A bottle of red (or two), fresh baguette (or two) & wedge of Camembert (or two), a balmy Paris September eve spent people-watching in fine company on the banks of the Canal St Martin.

13 thoughts on “The mystery of the California Highway Patrol ghost car.

    1. Thanks a lot. I’m about to upload a new post about how I found the owners of the ‘ghost car’. It’s a pretty crazy story. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  1. I was looking forward to some great ghost story! I have settled for a mind boggling moment that it was before I got to the editor’s note. 🙂

    1. It gets even better. The ‘ghosts’ have found me! I’m just asking their permission to publish a few photos they have sent me. Stay tuned… (oh and thx for the follow. Followed back)

  2. It’s amazing what a combination of a little bit of magic mushroom and Photoshop can conjure up, but that’s just one possibility, just saying.. Never-the-less, it’s a great photo of a California cop car surrounded by those large bales of sun burnt grass!
    So Saxon when exactly did you import that auctioned off used California patrol car hmm?

    1. haha. Photoshop scares me more than the magic mushrooms. I’m a Lightroom lad. You’ll be pleased to know that I have actually solved he mystery thanks to someone from the area seeing the post. Look for the Editor’s Note at the bottom of the post. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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