Many people are superstitious about funeral cars. Like all items that are associated with death, hearses and funeral cars have developed a bit of a reputation as symbols of evil, darkness and sadness. Accordingly, many urban legends have developed around the cars.
Like graveyards, it seems that virtually every town has a story about a haunted hearse in the area. Some of these cars are owned by haunted houses or other companies with an interest in sharing ghost stories in order to boost business. Others are owned by funeral car enthusiasts who have a love of all things macabre. Still others are owned by those who would rather not be associated with ghost stories and find the whole situation most unfortunate.
Room for One More
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, a haunted hearse makes a rather chilling campfire tale. However, even spookier is the famous urban legend generally titled “Room for One More.” According to Snopes, the legend dates to at least 1912. It is so popular that it has been used in a Twilight Zone episode and in the 1945 film Dead of Night.
In the original version of the tale, a girl is spending the night at the home of friends. She awakens to the sound of horses’ hooves and goes to the window to investigate. She sees an old-fashioned horse-drawn funeral car driven by an old coachman. Rather than a coffin, the hearse is filled with people. The coachman sees her watching and says, “There’s room for one more.” She is chilled by the offer and retreats to her bed.
The next morning she awakens, unable to decide whether the encounter was a dream. She heads to town to do some shopping. On the top floor of a department store, she considers taking the elevator. However, when she approaches, the elevator is almost full. The elevator operator catches her eye, and she is horrified to realize that he was the coachman in her dream. He says, “There’s room for one more,” and terrified, the girl declines. She turns away as the doors close. Suddenly there are screams and a rush of air followed by a crash. The elevator has fallen and everyone on board has been killed.
Whether or not you believe these stories, it is easy to see how they developed. Funeral cars and other items associated with death are considered taboo by many people. A fear of death is quite common, and it is easy to associate the items with the fear.