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The Haunting of the Solomon Hochoy Highway

Central Range 1I just wrapped up an outstanding work-paper, and started reading the news online. And discovered this article in the Trinidad and Tobago Express, about motorists calling for a warning sign on a particular stretch of highway. When I saw the headline – Motorists lobby for warning sign on highway ‘death stretch’ – and from the South Bureau, no less, I just knew.

It wasn’t about a strange bend in the highway, like the one approaching the Freeport exit, and it isn’t a blind corner or steep incline. Oh no.

It is the ghost who haunts the Solomon Hochoy Highway. Come on, all Trinis know this story, or some version of it. You know the place, heading South, past Chaguanas, past Couva, as you are passing Claxton Bay, amid the rolling Central Range hills. Where, your necks would crane Westward, trying to catch a glimpse of the statue among the greenery, terrified if you did, but needing to complete the ritual of a drive to or from Sando, by trying to prove to yourself that the stories were true.

What stories be these? Ah. The poor woman who haunts the highway. Some tales say she was young, and beautiful (well, all tales say that, otherwise, what good would be the tale?) and she was felled by the bite of a snake and her poor grieving father who loved her dear, built a statue in her memory. And his enduring love, and the statue, ensured that she wandered the highway in great winds, blowing cars off course, just at that point, causing accidents and instilling fear in the Trini population. Or, as this report says  in the words of a villager:

“People have told me about the image of a woman that sometimes appear kneeling on the road, and in trying to avoid hitting her they often run off the road.”

I have heard tell that the statue was struck with a cutlass, and remained headless, this being the cause of the haunting. Or that there was a jealous lover of someone involved, seething with rage and destructiveness. I do not know. Urban legend? It all seemed so true, so recent as children, but that was so long ago. I believe the statues has even been removed, but still the stories persist. There is one version of the story that incorporates all these elements, meaning it MUST be true!

Stories like the ones my aunt would tell us, swearing it was true, of she and her friends driving home in the night and suddenly, when they reached that point in the road, there would be an extra “passenger”. The shock of that happening to someone driving alone is surely the cause of a car swerving sharply off the road. Not high winds in the area. Or the curve of the road. Or late night, sleepless drivers…no, it’s that poor ghost.

Will the government put up a sign? What will the sign say?  “Dangerous Ghost Ahead“? “Unearthly Conditions” “Lookout! Ghost!” or “Ghost Lookout” for the tourism oriented. How about “Don’t swerve to avoid people kneeling on the road” or “Beware people who tell tales that scare“. I am eager to know.

Actually, I am also eager to know what versions of this story prevail. So, do tell.

(And yes, I am aware that the picture above is NOT of the Highway in question. However, it is in the Central Range, and if you follow this road you will end up on the Highway, very near the spot in question.)

26 February 2008: Update – It seems the Government answering the call for warning signs. Some rubbish about cross-winds and whatnots, but I’ll keep an eye out for when they go up in the Claxton Bay area…

21 May 2009: Update – And the saga continues, with the Government experts visiting the highway DURING THE DAY and concluding the accidents are caused by high-speeds and cellphone use…

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52 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. I remember being told a similar story and trying to spot the statue myself but was never able to…

    1. Hassan Voyeau on February 25th, 2008 at 9:19 am
  2. No, we never saw it either, not really. I mean, there were times I was sure I saw something through the trees or cane, but I don’t think I did. I didn’t even know if we were looking in the right place!

    2. Chennette on February 25th, 2008 at 12:46 pm
  3. How about a : If you see a ghost, please call 1-800-saw-ghost sign. :-)

    3. ewe_are_here on February 25th, 2008 at 4:36 pm
  4. yes!
    of course, then I can see frequency in accidents increasing due to loss of control by just-seen-a-ghost-and-frantically-dialing-on-cellphone drivers…

    4. Chennette on February 25th, 2008 at 4:55 pm
  5. ewe: we don’t really have 1-800 numbers here
    we have 800-xxxx but you can only those call from the evil green cell phone provider…not the red one

    also chennette
    i heard those stories too as a child
    i was terrified!

    5. Lilandra on February 25th, 2008 at 6:18 pm
  6. Lilandra…really, you heard those stories too? From your aunt or mine 😛

    6. Chennette on February 25th, 2008 at 6:56 pm
  7. These days signs warning ghost that says “Drivers Reckless and May Easily Skid Off Road While Trying To Take Off – Approach With Caution ” or, to quote from an Elton John song “You’re better off dead if you haven’t yet died”

    I like ghost stories, especially local ones. There is one I remember about a murder that occurred in a mansion in Fyzabad. Then there is the one about The Red House Ghost appearing in Parliament but still can’t scare away the politicians :)

    7. aka_lol on February 25th, 2008 at 8:22 pm
  8. Gosh, growing up with ghost stories… ever had a Great Uncle die by the bite of a soucouyant? Or listen to the clanging chains of a lagahoo lull you to sleep.., or steal sapodillas from the yard of a La Diablesse – oh yes, stories of local folklore ruled my childhood… but none is as vivid as the story of the lady in the white dress haunted by unrequited love – above the Claxton Bay flyover – who causes accidents to the unsuspecting late night driver… I still look for her, not knowing if she has met peace or if she is still looking for her lover who jilted her.. I’m sorry, but I’m a believer! (but a sign, I don’t know!?)

    8. TamarindBall on February 27th, 2008 at 11:37 am
  9. Freaky,

    I guess every country has a place like that! Funny how 9 times out of 10 its a woman

    9. CrankyPutz on February 27th, 2008 at 4:44 pm
  10. Chennette…I think it was *my* aunt who told me.

    10. Lilandra on February 27th, 2008 at 9:49 pm
  11. I am wiping away the tears from laughter after reading your suggested sign-labels.

    I have to tell you, I love hearing stories like those :)

    11. Cynthia on February 29th, 2008 at 3:15 pm
  12. Very well written psot that had me laughing!

    12. Nicole on March 3rd, 2008 at 12:01 pm
  13. Cranky well, there were stories like Bluebeard right? But he did kill all those women…
    Cynthia, Nicole, glad to add some humour to your day 😀
    Lilandra you have a good memory for a 3 year old!

    13. Chennette on March 3rd, 2008 at 12:58 pm
  14. *i* know that
    i’m glad you now know that too

    14. Lilandra on March 3rd, 2008 at 5:08 pm
  15. Chennette,
    Thank you so much for this post. I heard this story as a child as well and I have a dim memory of visiting an aunt who from what I remember lived near the statue and if it is not my overactive imagination, I think we went to look for it once. Sadly both my Mum and this Aunt died last year. I’ve always wanted to get to the bottom of this story. I will ring my uncle and find out what happened to the statue and see if he knows the original story. San Fernando was the best for ghostly stories. I never lived there but my Mum and all her family grew up there. My grandmother was superstitious to a fault and I was always throwing salt over my shoulder, not bringing umbrellas into the house (WHY?) and she had a rabid fear of peacock feathers. They represented so much bad luck it was not even worth talking aout them……Our generation really has to try and keep these conversations alive.
    And you are now in charge of the Ghost Sign!! That was so funny. :)
    sharonx

    15. sharon millar on March 8th, 2008 at 9:07 am
  16. Hi Sharon :-) You were very brave to go hunt down the statue!
    And as for grandparents, and aunts, because of them much of my childhood in rural Central was spent in fear at nights – I was sure mosquito bites were actually evidence that the soucouyant came visiting, strange sounds on the road at night had to be a lagahoo, so I was dying of curiosity to go look, but terrified of the consequences…they loved telling us these stories at night!

    16. Chennette on March 8th, 2008 at 10:54 am
  17. Don’t know what kind of Trini I am, but I’ve never heard that story. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was born and bred on the north-west peninsula. We have ghostly stuff up on this side, I think – but I can’t recall any good stories right now. As for the peacock feathers – I have some friends who always keep one in their living room, because it’s supposed to bring good luck. [???]

    Superstition was not welcome in our house. My mother dismissed all such as ‘damn stupidness’.

    17. Liane Spicer on March 12th, 2008 at 11:08 pm
  18. Hey Liane :-) it probably is a South-Central thing (and people say Trinidad is small!) but if those who are travelers along that part of the highway have had the area pointed out frequently :-) even by disbelieving parents…it’s a tradition that I suspect will live on.

    18. Chennette on March 13th, 2008 at 12:19 am
  19. You can (or could) see the statue in the dry season, especially if fire had passed through the patch of trees and they were leafless.

    19. Ian on March 25th, 2008 at 2:22 pm
  20. hi i know this story—– i used to live near by actually near the foot of this statue. well near the hill where it at.

    20. vashti on September 21st, 2008 at 7:05 pm
  21. Hi Vashti…the true story would be welcome 😀

    21. Chennette on September 21st, 2008 at 8:50 pm
  22. Since i was a little girl, my dad told me this story,I was a little scared but ever since i always try to look out to see her and for the statue but never in my life have i seen it…I would so love to see it…I love superstition..Although I might not be able to sleep at all afterwards but still…I want to see it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    22. Shenelle on March 13th, 2009 at 10:54 am
  23. This story is so true. I heard it many times and everytime i venture into south i would look out for the statue. Eventually when i saw it…it was like so freaky…I think by now the tall grass has covered it. Recently this topic came up in our office, and for the first time someone who actually witnessed this haunting, was sitting right next to me. She told me that one night coming from a party in south, for a moment they saw a girl in a white dress crossing with a cow, when the driver dipped on his brake, he realised that they had already gone through watever they saw, comfused and looking back trying to figure out what just happened…..my co-worker and her company was freaked out. Thank God i never saw this…

    23. Jerry on May 21st, 2009 at 11:28 am
  24. I am not surprised that there are many of us skeptics out there with such vivid imaginations. But sadly, the story has some truth behind it. Going back to the late 70’s, always traveling from San Fernando to Indian Trail village, there was always an eeriness in being in that spot.I had always looked up in hopes that I would see something. We cant all be imagining the same thing, can we?. Even for those that support the theory that drivers are tech savvy and insist on being Indy 500 contenders, there has been many reports since the early 1900’s of the girl in white, that walks across the highway. Is she looking for her long lost love? or just a mischievous spirit that uses the guise to spook the heck out of us. A little bit of both perhaps? When you look at the statue, you do get frightened a bit. It does make you want to speed up a bit, cause if you slow down, she might be in your car next to you. That’s why I believe that the accidents occur, because we believe that her spirit is actually real and not wanting to fess up about being afraid, the speedometer goes up just when you get to the bend in the road. Maybe it’s her foot on the pedal. One thing I do remember though, her statue always looked beautiful up on the hill, in a solitary way. Even with the cane flowers shrouding her. I believe that she is there still and is waiting for someone to send her spirit to the other side. And no, I don’t drink, I would like to, but I don’t like the stuff. Okay, you must admit it does make a great story. But, here is a true story. Just as you get pass the bend heading North, I’m guessing 100 feet or so after that site, past the village there, but on the south bound side of the highway, in January 1984. My stepfather had been murdered there. His car had veered of the road and wrapped itself around the light pole. When the police found him, they found a dagger pushed into his skull form the base of his neck toward the eye socket. A robbery gone wrong maybe.They took it out and gave it to my mother. I doubt that his spirit is still lingering there, because the neighbors we have in Preysal, were very religious, and just before I left Trinidad to go to England, they told me that the night he died, there was a loud bang in the shed behind their house, they had bicycle parts and various metal objects neatly hanging there, when they heard the noise they went to investigate and found that all the parts were strewn all over the room, The elderly woman who was alive then, said that is was his spirit trying to get home and ran into into their home instead because of the trauma it had suffered, and in the manner his life had been taken. This is something I will remember the rest of my life. So, this is a plea for everyone to look out for your fellow Trini on the road. If you feel the need for speed, drink a Shandy.

    24. Dawn Alleyne on June 2nd, 2009 at 2:40 pm
  25. Dawn please accept my condolences ..I know it is a while back but on reading your comment I felt for you.
    Now about the haunting of the Claxton Bay exit and the area near the old Sugar Factory I know as much as my children’s aunt as we are the same age and we both lived in the neighbouring village and heard the same stories and had more or less similar experiences. We saw the statue in the earrly days in all its glory as we would pass there when the cane was being reaped and fires were all around so that the place was clear and the statue was always visible at crop time.

    25. trinimom on June 12th, 2009 at 8:47 am
  26. Right now you can see the statue from the highway it has no head and the stories of her missing her head states that a mentally challenged person went up there back in the 70’s and was talking with her and when she didn’t respond he chopped off her head and i think this year august will make it 100 years she’s been dead

    26. wayne on June 23rd, 2009 at 3:33 pm
  27. true..heard stories of it since i was small…u cud of seen the whole statue in the crop season..but bush grew up..the government should keep it clean n make it a way 4 attractions…..

    27. amit on November 26th, 2009 at 9:45 am
  28. have heard similar stories….however the statue does exist…..will take a picture of it and post it to you.the statue is similar to that of the virgin mary but headless.Have recently seen it with some friends.its about five mins up the hill from the hi/way
    Will someone who have been in an accident on that stretch of the hi-way confirm any of these stories?

    28. rishibootan on January 12th, 2010 at 1:12 am
  29. My little niece, big brother and I were driving around that area today in fact and craning my neck, I SAW the statue & showed it to her. I wasn’t really sure about the entire story so I decided to research it so I can tell her exactly whats the story behind the statue.

    PS: Lily, Chaguanas, age: 16.

    29. Lily on April 11th, 2011 at 4:34 pm
  30. Hi Lily and welcome :-) glad you saw the statue, sometimes I only imagine I see it!

    30. Chennette on April 11th, 2011 at 9:16 pm
  31. to all previous Solomon Hochoy Highway (Claxton Bay) Ghost Enthusiasts

    I also heard this story as a child and would look each time we passed on our way from Arima to Princes Town / Siparia to visit family. Sometimes my step father had a penchant for leawould leave home early in the mronings at 4.30am, and return close to midnight – so I was always intrigued. during day trips, I would see glimpses of the statue but we never did see anything on the road at nights. I remember one time, he drank so much that my mom was worried about him driving, and she made him pull aside and sleep under the flyover – the same flyover!!!!! I was terrified, and remained wide awakw while he slept, but we had no visitors!

    Anyway, I found this link, and this post seems to validate the story of the plantation overseer’s daughter, and the death by snake etc, etc, enjoy!

    http://onewhitecrow.posterous.com/angry-ghost-blamed-for-road-carnage

    31. kathleenk on May 31st, 2011 at 11:03 pm
  32. Hi Kathleen – thanks for visiting :) the link quotes from the trinidad express story (seems that the Trinidad Express links don’t work…need to find the new permalink for them!)

    32. Chennette on May 31st, 2011 at 11:19 pm
  33. this is the story i have been hearing since a child,There was a gardener who tends his garden everyday,he takes along his daughter almost all the days,one day she went wondering around and saw a pretty colorful chain she pick up the chain but it wasn’t a chain it was a snake,she was stung and instantly she died,her father built a statue of her not just because of memory but it was said that she was 13yrs or i think 16 but no older than that and very pretty she had a light complexion it is believed that her family may be of east indian decent mixed with some other race but they were not pure east indian anyways,one day someone went cutting the grass on the hill and accidentally cut the head off the statue many many many years ago since thay she have been roaming the highway taking lives mostly young men.

    33. rea on November 2nd, 2011 at 11:14 am
  34. Yeah, you can see the statue very well in the dry season, easier north bound. In my early teens I once saw “something” and it was not me alone that saw this, but “it” wasn’t female.

    34. shaz on December 1st, 2011 at 10:54 pm
  35. Hey i love this ………… i wish to learn more about it can someone email me any info for this my email is mrshadath@hotmail.com

    35. Martin on March 19th, 2012 at 1:36 am
  36. i have seen the head less statue like so many times. Its just so sad how this child died. but i think they should call a priest or someone to do her final rites and let her soul go to rest

    36. crystal on March 19th, 2012 at 11:48 am
  37. yes i live St Margarets annd we always pass in the flyover to get to the higway and idk everytime i must look at the statue idk if its real but sure is a good story :)

    37. elvis on March 28th, 2012 at 6:49 pm
  38. I stumbled upon this post, I know I’m late lol

    But the version of this story I always heard was that the young woman was of spanish decent & her father was the owner to those who worked on his plantation. It is said that she was in love with a laborourer of east indian decent. The relationship was shunned by her father & he was planning to kill her lover. Upon hearing this the young woman made her way to inform her lover of what was going to happen. While on her way she was bitten by a snake but she continued on, & where she took her last faithful step, her grieving father then erected the statue in her honor.

    “Jason X Photography” on facebook has a few pictures as well as a little background of the statue on facebook

    38. Aruna on October 18th, 2012 at 6:02 pm
  39. I heard this story allot of times as we pass the statue. One of my uncles came from New York and at 2 in the morning he went to drop his brother at his house in freeport, as he was on his way back about 5 a.m he past the statue and as he looked in the mirror he saw what is the face of this woman. He said he never even bothered to look at the back seat he just mashed x and sped off.

    39. brandon ragoonanan on December 30th, 2012 at 9:11 pm
  40. I remember this story. I always like a little ghost story and on hearing this one, I had to investigate for my self.

    It is very similar to what you heard, bout the girl being bitten by a snake and dying eventually. The heart broken father overcome with such grief, building the statue in her memory on the hill. I didn’t know anything bout a lover…but who knows.

    Anyway, I did go up that hill looking for the statue…and yes it was there…but it had no head…..only a cobeau sitting where the head should have been. It was fenced around so I wasn’t able to get too close but it was still eerie to see it…especially after the story and and all the accidents.

    This was over a decade ago…and I don’t know if the statue is still there. But, good Jumbie tale.

    40. trinitrish on February 21st, 2013 at 2:20 pm
  41. you know back in the day, stories like these kept the excitement going for us. Children these days do not have such liking besides technology! How sad…….

    41. fariah on March 21st, 2013 at 8:29 am
  42. I heard it was a Bulldozer that knocked the head off from the statue. Nevertheless, that story freaked me for a long time; when started making drives from central to south and back, I always got a cold feeling each time I passed that area

    42. RYH on April 2nd, 2013 at 5:49 pm
  43. i saw it for the first time today

    43. Anastasia on May 31st, 2013 at 7:16 pm
  44. its still there tho

    44. Anastasia on June 1st, 2013 at 7:59 am
  45. I heard this in primary school but completely forgot thanx for the memo.

    45. Michaela on February 23rd, 2014 at 3:01 pm
  46. hi i’hav now heard this story when I came upon this web
    I mus say I used to liv in that area but never heard anytin
    bout this but I can say my mum an dad wz drivin ther an the
    my dad said that the sterin had just pull to oneside of the road an ther
    were no control over the .but on that day ter wer 2 accident ter
    ps:sasha age:13

    46. sasha on March 10th, 2014 at 8:37 pm
  47. I have heard stories of that little girl and at nights I am a bit scared to pass there slowly,I never say anything but It definately would be the last place to get a flat because I wasn’t coming out that car.

    47. whitney stephen on March 11th, 2014 at 8:01 pm
  48. i think there is some serious paranormal activity around there or somthing. one night leaving claxton bay i turned left to head north,and somehow i just ended up on the southbound lane. this is no lie.i am from south and drive on this road all the time so im pretty sure of what happened.

    48. trini youth on March 15th, 2014 at 7:17 am
  49. Ever since I have heard the story I wanted to see the statue so badly but my parents said it was to dangerous. I agree because I heard that a long time ago in the night at the Solomon hochoy highway there were accidents because people used to see a little girl and stop to watch her and she made them run off the road.Now every time I go out in the highway I see that statue and wonder if the girl’s spirit will come back to haunt us,I Hope not!

    49. tron 31 on June 5th, 2014 at 5:32 pm
  50. I think there is still someone there at the Solomon hochoy highway at night a little girl’s spirit haunts us.But I hope that cutlass got here for good.PLEASE!!

    50. THEunknown on June 7th, 2014 at 7:26 am
  51. hi am loving this can i hear more plz i was on my way home and the driver was talking abt the high way and how he sew a woman in white hopping in the road a night but he didnt stop and wen hr hit the woman and looked in this glass after the woman was still there but was looking at him

    51. jamie ramcharan on May 30th, 2016 at 11:46 pm
  52. The constant witness to the car crash deaths of dozens of people near the Claxton Bay overpass is a statue perched on a hill overlooking what many consider the most deadly strip of road in the country.

    And each time another person dies in that area along the Solomon Hochoy Highway, the elders turn to the lady on the hill, blaming her again, in what is one of the most enduring stories of supernatural belief in Trinidad and Tobago.

    The lady, some believe, is a restless soul haunting the highway, taking lives.

    This is how the story started.

    Maria was the daughter of a Forres Park estate overseer who died near the highway in March 1909 while on her way to warn her lover that he was about to be killed because her parents did not approve of their love affair.

    Shortly after her death, a statue of the Virgin Mary was erected near the spot where she died.

    It was some years later that the statue was desecrated by a mentally impaired woman who claimed it was not responding to the questions she had asked it.

    In a fit of anger, the story goes, she climbed the pedestal on which it stands and decapitated the statue.

    Former workers at the Forres Park sugar estate testified to the decapitation and they also knew why the statue was erected by the overseer.

    It was for Maria, the daughter of a Spanish overseer on the Forres Park (sugar) Estate, in love with an East Indian labourer working on the estate.

    Maria’s parents, especially her father, did not approve of the love affair and he was determined to stop it at all costs.

    He was a very influential man, and there were labourers on the estate who were prepared to do his bidding, even to the point of getting rid of Maria’s lover.

    As the love affair developed the young couple had decided to get married without the consent of her parents, according to the story.

    One night the couple were seen by her father in a compromising position and he decided to end the affair.

    After the young man left Maria’s home she was summoned by her father and given a sound licking with instructions that she should no longer be seen in his company.

    Maria was in love with the labourer and had no intention of ending the affair.

    Enraged at what he had seen the night before, the overseer summoned a few of his trusted workers and devised a plan to kill the labourer.

    One of the workers told Maria of the plan, and she was advised to tell him to leave the area immediately because his life was in danger.

    Maria then left her home in a rage and was on her way to her lover when she was bitten by a snake while walking along a footpath leading to his home.

    She died there.

    Overcome by the loss of his only daughter, the father decided that he would erect the statue in memory of her.

    He placed it on the highest hill on the estate that he could see the Virgin Mary and continuously plead to her for forgiveness.

    The estate changed ownership several times over the years but the statue was not interfered with until it was decapitated.

    Harry Seedas, a former worker on the estate, was the last person to testify about the accuracy of the event.

    Seedas died a few years ago leaving behind the story of a legend that has captivated the minds of many for years.

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of her death and residents are planning a religious ceremony in commemoration of her death and to make every effort to have her spirit put to rest. so yes this story is as real as it gets

    52. jewel on July 5th, 2016 at 5:01 pm

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