Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Ghost of James Dean

On this day in 1955, the hunky and talented actor James Dean was killed in an auto accident at the young age of twenty-four.  It was early evening and the young Dean was taking his Porsche 550 Spyder to a race in Salinas.  German Porsche mechanic Rolf Wütherich was riding along and was injured in the crash, breaking his jaw and shattering his thighbone.  Based on an earlier speeding ticket and the amount of distance Dean had traveled in a short time, it is believed that he was speeding when he approached an intersection and crashed into a Ford sedan that was making a left turn through the intersection.  The driver of that car was a college student by the name of Donald Turnupseed and he was only injured in the crash.  Neither Dean or Wütherich were wearing seatbelts.  The picture from the wreck paints the picture of how violent the wreck was and why it killed Dean.
The story sounds like your typical deadly accident, save for the famous driver, but the story continues with some bizarre twists that include tales of a cursed car and people.  Several parts from the Spyder were salvageable and placed in other cars: the engine, transmission and tires.  All cars that received parts from the Spyder were later involved in terrible or deadly accidents.  When the car was initially brought into the shop of the new owner, George Barris, it rolled off the back of a truck and crushed a mechanics legs.  Later the car was being used as an educational piece about driving safety and on a trip to one event, the truck transporting the Spyder went off the road and killed the driver.  At another safety event, a teenager's hip was broken when the car's restraint chains snapped and the car fell on the teenager.  Then somehow the Spyder managed to disappear...forever.

The German mechanic who had ridden with Dean when the accident occurred tried to kill himself a number of times.  He was never successful, but he did go on to stab his wife fourteen times.  He died in 1981 in a drunk driving accident.  Was this about guilt or was he cursed?

It is reported that James Dean is not at rest.  He was buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana and his grave sits atop a small hill.  People claim that Dean's ghost haunts his grave site.  James Dean was a smoker and a legend has grown that if a visitor to the grave site places an unlit cigarette at the headstone after dark and leaves for a bit, when they return they will find the cigarette lit and the scent of cigarette smoke in the air.  Some people report that the cigarette completely disappears. 

The ghost of Dean appears as well.  He has been spotted sitting on the tombstone and cold spots in the heat of summer can be felt around the grave.  The area where the car crash occurred has also apparently been visited by a hitchhiking Dean who disappears when people stop to pick him up.  The Porsche, driven by Dean, is sometimes seen cruising the highway as well.  So is James Dean still roaming the earth?  That is for you to decide.


  1. the car i bought recently had to travel to brisbane qld to drive it back and on the way back i think i was tired a bit cuz i heard man soft talking then slowly got louder and louder yelling in my ear he called me li'l bastard couple times and then said smash crash smash the car and i yelled back to SHUT THE F UP and it did it went quiet and the steering changed it got better before that it was impossible to drive
    and i have like tartan seats and its a convertible
    several of these cars same model mysteriously were made in different countries all over the world same model
    same brand Holden Tigra

  2. Thank you I speak the facts James Dean got a shitty sentence in life he paid for something he never did I'll defend him to the end

  3. My parents had an interesting experience when visiting Park Cemetery in the late 80's. They had just met and were traveling to Ohio to visit with my mothers family. On the way there they made a point to stop by the cemetery to visit James Dean's grave.

    When they arrived they parked and began walking around the cemetery looking for the tombstone. They were having trouble finding it and after searching for a while an older gentleman who walked with a cane approached them and asked if they needed any help. My dad explained why they were there and the man said no problem, that he was actually related to James Dean, and pulled out his wallet to show that sure enough his license was listed with a last name of Dean. (My dad cannot remember his name or what kind of relation he claimed to be to James Dean unfortunately.) So they walked for a while and the man says, "Here we are." as they were approaching the tombstone. My parents both walked ahead a bit and observed the grave site for what my dad describes as just a short moment. (probably 5-10 seconds or so) After this pause my dad turned to ask a question to the man and he was somehow no where to be seen. Confused my dad jogged up the small hill near by and looked around the cemetery. The man had completely disappeared. They took me by the cemetery a couple years ago because I find this story so fascinating. My mother doesn't like to talk about it because it kind of freaked her out, they are such rational and level headed people but to this day they simply cannot explain what happened. I saw the area myself and made sure to go up the hill my father talked about. Sure enough you can see pretty well the entire cemetery from that spot and I can't see how a man walking with a cane could have escaped them in that short amount of time.

    If anyone has any information about who the man could have been I would be very interested to hear! To me it is always possible that our memories can be muddied but I love having my dad retell this story.

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  5. James Dean's father, Winton, was alive at that time in Fairmount Indiana and would of been around 80 years of age. He would of especially frequented the cemetery at the time because he survived his second wife, Ethel, who recently died in 1988. Winton passed away 7 years after in 1995.

    James Dean's mother Mildred died in 1940 before James at the young age of 29. She was buried in different cemetery in the area.

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  8. My daughter and her family headed down south from Salinas,Ca early morning on September 21, reminder she is only 27 so had no idea who James Dean was. She was driving and her boyfriend and 2 kids where all asleep headed near Lost Hills when she said she got really tired and started to does off, when all of a sudden she said slammed on her breaks because she seen a person crossing the road. It was about 4 in the morning so it was still dark outside, but she swears it was a person. She said her boyfriend woke up and said what's wrong she told him what she seen and he said it's impossible for someone to be crossing out here. Later on when she told me I realized that the area she described was the area James Dean died. My mother was a big fan of James Dean and I think she sent him to keep my daughter awake. Has anyone ever had this happen.

  9. Jimmy was watching out for you.

  10. He was not speeding. The first state trooper said James Dean was only
    traveling at 55 which was the speed limit. Dr. Michael Hunter calculated he was only going 53

  11. I met James Dean's ghost in Times Square when I lived there in 1990. He was looking for Pier Angeli. He introduced himself to me in my apartment on W44th Street I told him he had the wrong person and that I had never seen any of his movies. He said he had the right person. He said he was looking for his girlfriend and that I reminded him of her. I am an Italian American woman and I told him I didn't know who he was talking about but that I would find out. I became a big fan of James Dean after that. I learned that the love of his life Pier Angeli committed suicide because she wanted to be with him and her Dad who had passed away. I just don't understand why was still looking for her. Once I found out the story I asked God and invited Pier to join James for eternity for they were soul mates.