These first few paragraphs are merely a foreword, to explain exactly how and why this story can exist the way it does. I suppose you could say I'm a drifter. People often ask me where I'm from. Who I am. Where my hometown is. Truth be told, I have no real place to call my home. I've lived in several countries from the time of my birth to now. I suppose the only label that suits me is American, as I've always been a citizen of the United States. That's besides the point. My constant life of moving, travelling and drifting had many ups and downs. The difficulty of keeping a single friend under my belt was impossible as was the constant difficulty of keeping my autism at bay. I found solace in studying the history of modern transportation. After all, I had used it my whole life to get places. Airplanes, trains, cars, ships, you name it. I've seen them all. My life of constant drifting brought me to Arizona. It may seem bland at first, but the deep rooted histories of transportation throughout the state is completely fascinating. From the railroads, to the highways which connected Arizona's copper mines, the lifeblood of the state, to its towns or perhaps the later addition of airports and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The highways in the state have always stuck out to my interest the most.
Studying a major road between Las Vegas and Phoenix known as US 93, a very interesting yet terrifying story surfaced. A supernatural event which occurred around 1991, involving an old bus carrying elderly gamblers to the casinos in Laughlin, Nevada. From what I understood, it was first mentioned by some old storyteller named Joe Cook in the town of Wikieup. Thinking about it, his mentioning of demons and the unexplained disappearance of all the passengers and the vehicle made the story sound completely absurd. Because he told many tales, people often consider him a folklorist or a liar. Though the rest of the story seemed to hold some ground. Anyone who takes US 93 in Arizona can tell you there's a peculiar feeling of discomfort every time they travel the road. Most say it's because it's an old two lane highway that's decades out of date and the heavy traffic on the narrow road causes people to get killed in car crashes all the time. But I had the suspicion there was more to the feelings than just that.
My parents and sister followed me to Arizona. They live up in the Phoenix area, whilst I'm studying college classes in Tucson. I go up to Phoenix to visit them whenever possible. When up there, I would often take the time to investigate the story of the missing bus. The only man they ever found was the driver. I decided to look into his life and study him. Reports were very conflicting regarding this schizophrenic man. Some days, he'd be completely normal and pleasant to be around. Other days, he'd act paranoid and reclusive like Howard Hughes. Then there was the occasional day where he could only be described as... Disconcerting. I'll explain more later. Using the original story which has since been posted all across internet tabloids since the early 2000's along with the newspapers, documents, eyewitness testimonies and police investigations I've uncovered, I'll do the best I can to tell what exactly was known to have occurred that fateful day.
It was early in the morning on August 14, 1991. As is the case every Arizona summer within the valley of the sun, the surrounding desert was beginning its transition from a warm dry bowl into a blistering oven. Resting within the valley is the city and state capital of Phoenix. Why millions of people decided to live here rather than the cooler areas of Prescott or Flagstaff, I'll never know. To the northeast of central Phoenix lay the outlying community of Sun City. As per community requirements, all who live in Sun City are elderly folk, given the entire community is only meant for easy living and retirement.
As the heat began to rise off the blacktop of Grand Avenue, an organized group of 48 seniors walked towards an old bus, stationed in the parking lot. I suppose you could say the vehicle would have been somewhat of a throwback to the group. The old 1950's GMC bus looked worse for wear. The sandblasted and dusty blue paint job was further insulted by the tacky blue cheatline across the mostly unkempt chrome covered body and three lucky dark blue sevens painted on each side of the bus. Any transportation fanatic could tell you it was a half-assed paint job made from the old Greyhound colors. All those familiar with Bus 777 could tell you it was a nightmare to drive and had seen far better days. Adding further insult, the worn out engine wouldn't do more than 60 miles an hour on a good day. Bus 777 was described as the usual Arizona "turnaround" bus, being operated by a myriad of small companies based around Mesa.
Joe Craymer was the driver hand-picked for that day's assignment. A round trip to Laughlin, Nevada where the seniors would spend their day gambling, then return home to Arizona later that night. Co-workers expressed Joe felt a bit excited at first, eager to put his hands on some Nevada slot machines and try his luck at doubling last month's paycheck.
Joining the 48 seniors was a young woman, 33 year old Maria Davis. A Michigan native, Maria was the caretaker who would often watch over seniors on these turnaround busses making sure they behaved themselves or weren't put in danger. The behaviors of the 48 or so elderly folk was divided. Half of them were nice and the other half... Not so much. Danny Finch, a 76 year old man who hailed from Oregon, was a good example. His mental health having been slightly deteriorated from service in Vietnam, he would go between being the neighborhood entertainer to an aggressive fellow.
About 9:30 AM, Joe started up Bus 777 and headed west along US 60. Nothing of interest occurred. He stopped the bus at a Burger King in Wickenburg, where the passengers got out to eat and take a bathroom break. Joe used a nearby phone booth to contact the company. He stated the bus was acting up more than usual. It took his entire strength and force onto the gas pedal just to make the engine go up to 55 miles an hour. Employees at the fast food restaurant stated Danny was being somewhat aggressive, harassing Joe for stopping the bus. "You could tell they hated each other," the fry cook of the time said. "The old guy was making the driver pretty upset. It's amazing he didn't explode. I would've if I were him." Maria was reported to have gotten involved when Danny began yelling angrily at Joe, calming the old man down. Though a look of fear could be seen in her facial expression.
About 20 minutes later, the bus got back onto US 60, then turned onto US 93 heading northwest towards Laughlin. Because US 93 was a very narrow road and Bus 777 was performing very badly that day, complaints and reports from state highway patrol plus regular drivers explained the bus was travelling very slow. It started out travelling at around 50 miles an hour somewhere north of Wickenburg and the speed slowly but surely deteriorated as it travelled north. Eyewitness reports state the exhaust pipe was giving off blue smoke as it got closer to Wikieup. Strangely enough, Joe didn't pull the bus over in the next town.
The bus' route was forced to take Interstate 40 for a few miles to Kingman. The majority of complaints came from Interstate travelers, stating Bus 777 was giving off thick and obnoxious fumes and only going about 42 miles an hour on the otherwise 75 mile an hour freeway. State police came out from Kingman and escorted Bus 777 into town, then pulled it over. The troopers described many of the passengers were angry and often blocked the officers from Joe, demanding they let him continue to Laughlin. Danny was almost arrested for verbally threatening one of the officers, but was quickly saved by Maria's fast thinking actions. Bus 777 was forbidden by the state troopers from taking the Interstate again until the speed problem could be fixed. As for Joe himself, the officers described he seemed very stressed and had issues speaking to the officers and cooperating. The only information they could gather from him was the engine had been damaged somewhere near Wikieup and the air conditioning hadn't been working since they left Wickenburg. Getting a quick patch up at a local garage, Bus 777 continued along part of old Route 66 back onto US 93 going to Laughlin. The garage employees stated they had never seen a worse engine and were amazed the bus was even driving.
The last reported sighting of Bus 777 was on State Route 68 at the top of Union Pass. The old bus seemed to have finally given out and the angry passengers were arguing with a very angry Joe, who was trying to fix the engine. A driver from Iowa pulled over and tried to solve the issue. He reported both Joe and Danny yelled at him to "stay out of this". When asked by the police if all the passengers were accounted for, the driver stated he did not see Maria anywhere and that one of the women seemed to be crying with a guilty expression on her face. He stated that after a while, Joe had calmed down and seemed strangely happy. He turned to the Iowa motorist and smiled. He was reported to have said, "I'm sorry I lost my temper. I promise everything will go just fine from now on." The way the message was conveyed and the unusually calm manner of how Joe simply walked right through the crowd of angry people with comfort back into Bus 777 haunted the other driver. He reported the bus started up again with thick black smoke coming from the engine as it headed down the pass and turned the corner towards Laughlin.
The bus never made it to Laughlin that day and no sign or trace of it was ever found except for Joe himself. He was found wandering by a truck driver on the side of Highway 68 muttering to himself half insane. He was brought back to Phoenix and at one point put on trial for the suspected murder of 49 people, though no evidence could ever prove he might have done it. From that day on, Joe quit his job and spent the next two years of his life living in a run down house, covered in his own waste with strange symbols and phrases drawn all over the walls in his own blood. He was described to have been extremely thin with a thick dirty beard hanging off his bony face. People would often try to help Joe, but he would refuse telling them only one phrase directly. "It's me they want."
Joe was committed to an asylum in 1993. Caretakers would state Joe refused to eat, sleep or move. They would often result in force-feeding him to make sure he didn't die and sedate him so he would fall asleep. He was also reported to never have moved a muscle and stayed completely still as if he were dead. Caretakers tried to talk to him, but Joe would never respond to anything they said. He would only blink or sometimes stare at them. Around 2001, Joe was found dead in his padded cell, having been completely silent for eight years.
It was about 1992, when drivers taking US 93 between Union Pass and Phoenix began to describe seeing a spectre of a bus late at night. It would make no sound, but the headlights were blazing through the night. They would get closer and the bus would travel faster. The drivers would speed up or pull off the road, but the bus would continue to point directly at them. The bus would eventually catch up to them and the extremely bright headlights would pierce the darkness, almost blinding them. The headlights themselves would be dripping with "tears" of molten chromium as if the bus was crying. And right when it would have hit them, the bus and the headlights vanished.
The lucky drivers continued on to their destinations and returned home safely and when showed a picture of the missing Bus 777, immediately stated what they had seen was it. Though a few would be found driven off the side of the road, dead in the upside down wreckage of their cars with a look of pure horror on their faces. A few were even found in cars that had simply pulled over, but the drivers were lifeless, with only a look of horror on their faces. Autopsies conducted revealed they were in perfect health when they had died and no injuries could ever be found. They had just died without cause. A few surviving victims ended up the same way as Joe had, driven insane to the point where they completely shut down and died a few years later of no clear cause. Some surviving witnesses even state, they will suddenly have pale skinned elderly passengers in their car with them, who will vanish an hour after the encounter, not saying a word or acknowledging the driver's existence.
To this day, as US 93 is slowly being rebuilt into an interstate, drivers are still haunted by the silent ghost of Bus 777. No one knows why it haunts the road or why it claims the lives of innocent drivers. Nobody knows what happened to its 49 passengers or where the bus itself ended up. Nobody knows why the ghost of the bus cries molten chromium tears, which comedians often call the "Grim Weeper". Some say the passengers were demons and stole the bus bringing it straight to hell. Others say Joe drove it miles off course into the bare desert and murdered all the passengers. Some even say the bus was abducted by aliens, sucked into a black hole or transported to another dimension. I chose to believe Joe murdered the passengers and disposed of the bus, but there's no way to prove that's the truth. No matter how many times I've travelled US 93 myself, even at night, I still have never seen the ghost of Bus 777. So will we ever know what happened to Bus 777? The Ghost Bus of Highway 93? Perhaps... Perhaps not...