Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween 2013: Haunted Bridges ~ Legendary Spans Of Terror

~ by Marie Robinson

I wouldn’t be surprised if every reader is familiar with a haunted bridge story taking place nearby where you grew up. There are dozens of legends about haunted bridges across the States, but most of them retain many of the same details. Still, who doesn’t love a good ghost story in late October? Let’s put logical thinking aside for the night and give in to ghastly pleasures.


In the town of Avon there is massive 300 ft-long, 70 ft. tall railroad bridge. A gorgeous yet intimidating structure, it was constructed in 1906 to allow railroad transport over White Lick Creek, and double-tracked in 1908. Although the bridge still remains iconic (it is brandished on the Avon seal) and in use, it is also an important site in local folklore.

Several ghosts haunt the bridge, and while history has no explanation for them, over time a few possible identities have been established for them. One tale tells of a construction worker, but the details of his identity shifts from version to version; sometimes he is an Irish immigrant, sometimes African American, and sometimes he goes by the name of Henry Johnson. In the story, the construction worker slipped during the building of the bridge, falling into the wet cement of one of the pillars. He died fairly quickly, and sank down into the vat, and his fellow coworkers decided to spare the time, effort, and money it would take to get the man out, and simply left his dead body to be encased in the pillar. Now it is said that you can hear his knocks from his walled-in grave, or his moans. Another simpler story tells of four construction workers who fell from the bridge into White Lick Creek, and to this day you can hear the echoed splashes and thuds in the water as they fell.

Another ghost is said to be that of a young woman who was crossing the bridge one day to take her sick infant to the doctor. A train started to rumble down the tracks as she was in the middle of the bridge, so she left from the structure down into the creek. While her poor baby died from the impact, the mother survived but a few more days to die from a broken heart. A tradition says that to drown out her bloodcurdling cries of grief you should honk your car horn as you drive under the bridge at night.

An apparition of a man has also been seen pacing up and down the tracks, and there are a few other macabre tales that are attached to the bridge. Whether the stories are true or not, they have kept a gorgeous, historical structure relevant in peoples minds and created some fascinating modern-day folklore.


Unlike most campfire legends, this one actually has some basis in fact. In 1961 three teenage girls were killed while driving at night down the winding road. You know how hard it can be to navigate those dark, twisting roads, and how the curves can seem to spring out of nowhere. I’ve never lived in a remote area so driving on those wooded roads at night terrifies me. The girls were going a cool 45 mph and failed to notice until it was too late that the bridge up ahead was out. It had been burned down by a group of boys who were trying to destroy access to Arlington to a local black community.
Over time the tragedy evolved into urban legends and ghost stories. Whispers now tell of a heavy fog rolling up as you approach the bridge, and the disembodied screams of the deceased girls.


Gettysburg is widely known as one of the most haunted places in America because of its bloody place in history, serving as a battlefield for the Civil War in 1863. One specific area that is undeniably beautiful and holds a very important place in history is Sachs Covered Bridge. The bridge was used by the Confederate soldiers as they withdrew from battle.

The surrounding area saw more than it’s share of bloodshed and death. According to legend three Confederate soldiers were hanged from the beams of the 100-foot bridge when they were revealed to be spies. Their dangles bodies were then said to be discovered by patrolling Union soldiers. The hanged men’s ghosts are said to linger at the bridge, but they are not the only reported phenomena there. A heavy presence is said to lie over the bridge, and it is common to feel unseen eyes on you and to get the sense that you are unwelcome. The sound of heavy footsteps, horse hooves, gunfire and screams have been heard around the bridge, and visitors often claim to smell unexplained pipe smoke. Pictures taken at night often reveal strange anomalies, such as orbs, streaks of light, mysterious mists, and even apparitions. Could these be the remains of the countless soldiers who died in Gettysburg?


The Bunnyman is a favorite urban legend of mine, simply because it is so damn creepy. There are only two confirmed facts in regards to the legend of the Bunnyman, and those are two reported incidents. Both took place in Burke, Virginia, about a week apart in 1970. The first was on October 19th and was reported to the police by a US Air Force Cadet; he and his wife were returning from a football game around midnight and decided to park the car on the side of the road to “talk”, thus making themselves urban legend bait. Their “conversation” was interrupted by movement in the rear view mirror, and then the sudden shattering of the passenger window. The window has been broken by a hatchet, which now rested on the floor of the car; it had apparently been wielded by a man dressed in a white rabbit suit, who was screaming at them, ordering them not to trespass. The couple left unharmed but the man was never identified. The second incident was on October 29th when a construction security guard approached a young man standing on the porch of an unfinished house. The man was dressed in a bunny suit and chopping at the porch railings with an axe, babbling on about trespassing and threatening to “bust in” the security guard’s head. This mysterious man was also never found and the case was closed due to lack of evidence.

The rest of the legend of the Bunnyman has no basis in fact, but is still a good yarn. People say that back in the early 1900’s Fairfax had to close a local insane asylum due to public outrage. While transporting the patients, the bus flipped, killing nearly all of the passengers. A few ran off into the woods, but all were caught with the exception of two. These two men have come to be known as Marcus Wallster and Douglas Grifon. Police were eventually able to locate Wallster by following a trail of skinned rabbits hung from the trees, leading to the Colchester Overpass near Clifton. Grifon was never found, and it is said that near Halloween you can find skinned and half-eaten rabbit carcasses in the woods surrounding the Overpass, which is now known as Bunnyman Bridge.

Other tales tell of people who have visited the Bunnyman Bridge and were later found hanging from the entrance. It is said that the Bunnyman comes out of the bridge on Halloween night, wielding an axe. People are warned that if you visit the bridge at night, the Bunnyman will grab you and string you up, like those poor souls of legend.

There’s nothing creepier than crappy old costumes, so this Halloween when you park your car to “talk” to your lover, watch out for the Bunnyman!


Heather Santrous said...

There is a covered bridge north of where I live. I never heard anything about it until a friend of mine told me a story. We went up there one Halloween to walk around, which I came back with a hurt knee, but that is another story lol.

If you drive onto the bridge, you are to get out of the car and look out over the river to the left. A girl is said to have drowned in the river and some say you can see her ghost out over the water. We didn't see anything, but it was still a cool story to me.

Marie said...

That is a great story! There a couple of fun haunted bridge stories in my neighboring state of Illinois.
thanks so much for sharing!