In the wee hours of June 10, 1994, Deborah Hoyt awoke with a start. She was staying with her husband at a relative’s home in Sacramento, CA, but felt she must leave immediately. The winding mountain road between Sacramento and the Hoyts’ own home in Lake Tahoe made Deborah uneasy, especially at night, but the urge to leave was overwhelming.
“I just felt like there was something pulling me up the mountain,” Hoyt said in an appearance on Paranormal Witness.
At a section of Highway 50 known as Bullion Bend, near Placerville, Deborah spotted a nude woman lying near the shoulder of the road. The woman was positioned on her side, bent legs together with an arm over her head. She was ghastly pale and looked dead.
Horrified, Deborah and her husband drove to the nearest phone and called the police. Sheriff’s deputy Rich Strasser arrived at the scene, but found no trace of a woman, nude or otherwise.
Four days earlier Christene Skubish, 24, and her son Nick, 3, left her parents’ home near Sacramento to embark on a new life. Bound for Southern California, Christene was excited to begin a new job and provide a better life for her son. However, the pair never made it to a friend’s house as planned. The concerned friend eventually phoned Christene’s father who alerted authorities. The police brushed off the report at first, saying Christene and Nick would eventually show up.
Meanwhile, Christene’s aunt began having strange dreams. In one, she was riding in the backseat of a car and saw the silhouette of a woman and a young boy riding up front. It was night, and the car was traveling in a heavily wooded area. In another dream, Christene and Nick stood in a yard as hurricane-force winds whipped leaves from the trees. Christene tried and tried to reach her son, but the howling wind repeatedly pushed her back. The aunt asked Christene if she was okay, but a haunted-looking Christene said no.
The aunt’s dreams had come true in the past, and she was sure something terrible had befallen Christene and Nick. Frightened, she called Christene’s father and then left to look for the missing pair.
A Terrible Discovery
Back in Placerville, Deputy Rich Strasser couldn’t forget the report of a nude woman near the road. Deborah Hoyt seemed like a credible witness, and Strasser was certain she’d seen something. After learning about Christene and Nick’s disappearance, Strasser wondered if the two incidents were related. On a hunch, he returned to Bullion Bend to scour the area.
The deputy found nothing out of the ordinary at first, but he soon came across a child’s shoe. After peering into the brush, Strasser spotted a demolished car at the bottom of a 40-foot embankment. He raced to the vehicle and found Christene and Nick inside. Christene was dead, her body fully clothed in the driver’s seat. Nick was curled up nude in the passenger seat, alive, but in critical condition.
Nick ultimately survived his injuries, though he’d gone five days without food or water. Authorities believe Christene fell asleep at the wheel, leading her car to plunge off the highway and roll down the steep embankment. The coroner determined that she’d died upon impact or shortly thereafter.
Help from Beyond
Though he was only three at the time, Nick says he remembers the accident and the long nights after. He remembers climbing up and down the embankment. He remembers a glowing white light hovering near the mangled vehicle and a shadowy figure standing nearby. He remembers telling his family about the angel that had watched over him.
Christene was fully clothed when Strasser found her, and authorities believe she died soon after the crash. So who was the naked woman on the roadside? Hoyt believes it was a spirit sent by God to save Nick before it was too late. Christene’s friends and family believe she watched over her son, even after death, appearing as a nude apparition to get the attention of passing motorists.
“I absolutely think something special happened here,” Deputy Strasser said on Paranormal Witness. “I think it is a miracle. It’s a whole series of events that I can’t explain. I’ve often thought about it. I just don’t have the answers.”
Truth or Legend?
Unlike many paranormal tales, the facts of this case have been well documented. Christene Skubish indeed ran off the road near Bullion Bend, and Deborah Hoyt indeed reported a naked woman near the accident site BEFORE anyone knew about the accident. So who, or what, did she see?
The most intriguing theory is that Christene’s ghost remained near the wreckage and appeared nude to draw attention to Nick. Some versions of the tale claim “numerous motorists” called authorities about seeing a naked woman near Bullion Bend. However, mainstream coverage of the event only mentions Deborah Hoyt’s report.
Another theory is that Deborah saw Nick on the road, not Christene. After all, police did find Nick naked in the vehicle and he does remember climbing up and down the embankment. It was also dark and Deborah may not have seen the figure clearly. Could she have confused the three-year-old boy with a grown woman?
The other paranormal elements of this story – Deborah Hoyt’s sudden urge to leave, the aunt’s dreams, the white light, and the figure watching over Nick in the car – are interesting, but of course impossible to prove.
What do you think of this story? Do you believe something supernatural occurred or is there a more logical explanation?
“Boy, 3, Recovering After 5 Days in Car with Dead Mother” – Los Angeles Times, June 14, 1994.
“Tot’s Rescue Still an Enigma” – Lodi News-Sentinel (via Supernatural World View), June 14, 1994.
“Survivor of California Drama Has Family Here” – Post-Tribune (via Strange State), June 16, 1994
“How I Met the Original Highwayman and What He Told Me – SW Part 1” – Supernatural World View