The Tragedy of Phantom 309

posted in: Blog, channeling, life and death | 4

The world is now too small for anything but brotherhood. ~ Arthur Powell Davies, Unitarian minister


You’ve probably heard of haunted houses. But have you ever heard of a haunted truck?

Let me take you back to January 29, 1963.

That day, trucker John W. “Pete” Trudelle drove his tanker truck from Keene, New Hampshire to Boston, Massachusetts. In Boston, Pete loaded his truck with 4,600 gallons of gasoline. Then he headed back to Keene.

He never made it home.

As Pete headed north out of Boston back to Keene on the Newburyport Turnpike, he passed under a bridge. Just before the bridge is a blind spot. There was no way Pete could have seen the school bus stopped under the bridge. And it was too late to avoid hitting the bus.

Making a split-second decision, Pete yanked his truck to the right and plowed into the bridge abutment. The truck exploded into flames, and Pete died instantly.

Steel girders in the bridge buckled from the intense heat. The bus burst into flames. Only six children and the driver got out in time.

As great as the tragedy was, those seven bus survivors would never have made it if not for Pete’s heroic action.

Pete was a beloved member of his community, a devoted husband and father, and a faithful Catholic. Even today, 55 years later, he is fondly remembered for his heroism.

Let’s skip ahead to 1967, the year country singer Red Sovine recorded the song Phantom 309. Destined to become a minor hit, the song was based on Pete Trudelle’s tragedy. I’m not a country music fan, but I like this song.

The song tells the story, part true and part legend, of a trucker who picked up a hitchhiker on a cross-country journey from the U.S. west coast.

The story begins on a dark rainy night with a young hitchhiker on his way home from the US west coast. A tractor-trailer, named Phantom 309, picks up the hitchhiker. The friendly driver, Big Joe, drives through the night and drops off his passenger at a truck stop, after giving him money for coffee. Big Joe then vanishes into the gloom.

In the truck stop, the hitchhiker tells the waiter how he was picked up and befriended by Big Joe. The waiter had heard it all before. Then he tells the young man Big Joe’s story.

Ten years earlier, Big Joe had swerved to avoid hitting a school bus filled with children. The truck crashed, killing Big Joe instantly.

Over the years, Big Joe picked up many other hitchhikers, treating them in his warm, friendly way.

And so the legend was born.


While this story is part true and part legend, the point is you are all connected, in “life” or “death.” In reality, there is no death because you are not  your physical bodies. You are pure spirit, immortal and eternal.

The more you focus on that “fact of life,” the more powerful and even life-changing your human relationships will become.

You will know, beyond any shadow of doubt, you are eternally bound together. Not only with those you share your physical bodies and world with, but also with us in the realms of Spirit.

The greater your awareness of that fact, the greater will be your sense of connection with all that is—all creation. The “tragedy” of death cannot separate you.

Then you will feel, deep within your heart and soul, that oneness that binds you forever. That sense of oneness is the answer and the solution to every one of your problems. No exceptions.

Copyright © 2018 by John Cali

Have you ever been visited by someone you later realized was “dead?” Do you believe those in other dimensions can visit us in this physical world?

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Here’s Phantom 309, the legend of Big Joe, told in song by Red Sovine.


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4 Responses

  1. Tracy

    Thank you, John, and Spirit! I was really missing my Mom (she passed 3 months ago) when I read this post. I needed this reminder, that we are still connected, still One.
    I’ve communicated with spirits all of my life, and I truly feel blessed! My aunt, who is also in spirit, recently told me to visualize our ‘separation’ like looking down into ocean water and putting your hand in it. You can’t see the edge of the water, but you know it’s there. Some can see the sea life in the water, some can’t. I hope that makes sense! It did to me, and was very comforting. It made me feel closer to her, and to my Mom.
    I also remember this song, but didn’t know the history. Thank you for sharing it!
    Love and light!

    • John Cali

      You’re most welcome, Tracy! I think I know how you must feel. Recently, one of my close family died suddenly. Though we miss our loved ones’ physical presence, it’s comforting to know we’re still connected, as you say.

      I think your aunt’s analogy makes perfect sense. It’s a beautiful way to describe what is difficult for many to accept.

      Glad you liked the song. I hadn’t heard it in years, but “accidentally” came across it a couple weeks ago.

      Love and light to you too, Tracy,

  2. Jean Horn

    It’s kind of weird, reading this today. Having breakfast I was pondering about part of our being left behind , how we are separated. The thing is even ghosts are part of us as they are or seems to be an echo of themselves left behind. If we can reconcile what we believe is possible and reach within and opening our hearts to bring every part of ourselves together, we can do the same outside. This probably makes little sense. It’s something I’m working with and I only have this impulse to figure it out.

    My neighbour Chris passed away a few years back. Yet the day after this happened I saw him clear as day parking his truck and walking down the street.

    When I was in England, I did not see the ghost but I felt it. It was tangible, I felt it watching me, curious it was as I was.

    I’m sorry, I’m probably rambling. There is so much energy that I may need to put on some music and dance.

    This is a really good post and hopefully I made some sense. I’m still working through it all.

    John, see you in the dreamscape 🙂

    love and hugs

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Jeannie.

      Well, if you’re “rambling.” we could use a lot more of that around here. Keep on rambling. 🙂 You’re making perfect sense.

      I’ve been visited by “ghosts” ever since I was old enough to walk. They almost always brought much love and comfort.

      Love and hugs,

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