Best known for his iconic TV portrayal of the lollipop-loving detective Theo Kojak, the late, great Greek-born actor Telly Savalas had a real ghostly experience whilst driving home on Long Island at 3 a.m. One summer morning in 1954, when he ran out of petrol and decided to walk to a nearby freeway where he knew there would be a petrol station still open for service.
He walked through a wooded park, as a shortcut, when suddenly this man called out: “I’ll give you a lift!”
Savalas admitted to being quite shaken by the voice, as he hadn’t heard the big black Cadillac pull up beside him. But the man, who was dressed all in white, looked okay, and he took Telly to the service station. Once there, Savalas became instantly embarrassed on finding that he did not have enough change for the petrol. However, the stranger didn’t seem bothered by this, and just handed over some notes and said it was OK, as he could pay him back later.
Whilst they were driving back to the car, the stranger remarked to Savalas that he knew Harry Agannis. When Savalas asked who he was, the man said he was a baseball player with the Boston Red Sox. But Savalas had never heard of him. That was the extent of the conversation, and the man dropped Savalas back at his car.
The following day, Savalas received a big surprise when he read in a newspaper that the baseball player Agannis had died suddenly at the age of 24. Apparently he had died around about the same time that his name had been mentioned by the stranger in the car.
At first, Savalas attributed this to just pure coincidence. However, when he tried to phone the guy to give him his money back, a woman answered and Savalas explained why he was ringing. The woman sounded a little strange, and asked what car the guy had been driving and what he had been wearing. When Savalas told her, the woman began to cry, saying that Savalas had just described her husband – who’d died three years earlier.
Stunned by what the woman had told him, Savalas began to speculate on all kinds of possible explanations, but couldn’t really think of anything logical that would definitely account for what he had experienced on that lonely road in the early hours of the morning. Thus, Savalas eventually came to accept that, apparently, he’d taken a ride in a car with a dead man.