Indiana is known for its crumbling infrastructure, so I thought there must be some haunted bridges around. As someone that cannot swim and is also afraid of heights, bridges trigger a daunting feeling for me. Will I make it across? Will it collapse under the weight of my car? Is the railing prepared for any sudden jerks of the wheel?
In mythology, bridges represented the link between life and death. Thus, it makes sense that spirits would be trapped in the seam of this world and the afterlife. Or that bridges are a place for us to call forth these spirits. Though, as these legends tell us, we must be careful traveling across the shadowy bridge between darkness and light.
Hell’s Gate – Diamond, IN
A train derailment supposedly brought spirits to this bridge. If you stop your car on the bridge at night, you can hear laughing, screaming, and a crashing noise. Or you can follow very specific instructions to see ghost children and risk possible death:
- Stop your car at the bridge and flash your lights 3 times.
- Drive through and turnaround at the end, then stop at the middle of the bridge.
- Turn off your car and sit there for 10 minutes (not a minute longer!).
- Then, graffiti will start to glow and blood will run down the walls of the bridge.
- If your name appears on the wall, then you will begin to hear banging on your car roof and windows. After that’s over, start your car and leave (duh).
- In a nearby tree, you will see 2 ghost children hanging. Get out of there, because seeing your name on the wall means you’re supposed to die.
Do what you want, but I’m not going to spend all that time risking death when I could be eating cheese sticks or napping.
Edna Collins Bridge – Greencastle, IN
When Edna Collins was a young girl, her parents would drop her off at a nearby bridge, so she could swim with her dog in the local creek. When it was time to come home, her parents would stop on the bridge and honk. One day, they honked several times and Edna never came. When they went down to the creek, they found her dog, but no Edna. The dog led them to Edna’s body; she had drowned. To this day, you can see the ghost of Edna behind the bridge with her dog, waiting for her parents to pick her up.
Dog Face Bridge – San Pierre, IN
In the 1950s, a couple was driving towards their honeymoon destination. While driving over a bridge, a dog ran out in front of their car. They swerved off the bridge, killing themselves and the dog. The woman and dog were instantly decapitated. The dog’s head and the woman’s body were never found. People have reported seeing the ghost of a woman with a dog’s head, along with growling and howling noises.
Legend says that if you visit the site, the dog-headed woman will chase you and try to kill you. While a very weird legend, people have reported bodies being found and people being shot at.
Purple Head Bridge – Vincennes, IN
Across the Wabash River is a bridge where a man hung himself. He was decapitated and his head was never found (yet again). Another version says it was the location of hangings in the 1800s. On rainy days, a purple head will float around and towards you. And, you might hear screams.
Cry Baby Bridge – Anderson, Columbus, Pendleton, and Bargersville, IN
As you can see, this story is attributed to many bridges in Indiana, but it’s also attributed to bridges in other states: Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Maryland, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. According to Wikipedia, a “Maryland folklorist Jesse Glass presented a case against several crybaby bridges being genuine folklore, contending that they were instead fakelore that was knowingly being propagated through the internet.”
The story usually goes like this: A baby was abandoned after a car accident and died, OR a mother drowned her baby. You can hear a baby (and/or woman) crying when near the bridge.
Haunted Bridge – Avon, IN
This bridge has three stories.
In the 1850s, the bridge was being built by immigrant Irish workers. They mixed cement in large narrow vats, which hardened into the form of a pylon. One afternoon, a platform collapsed, sending a worker into a cement vat. The other workers struggled to save him, because the cement held tightly. While he fell deeper into the cement, they could hear him knocking on the sides of the vat. Due to time constraints, they did not make a new pylon. He would be trapped in there for eternity. Years following, people could hear knocking and screaming from that very pylon. Later, when the bridge was torn down, there was a number of sightings of a man wandering the tracks, trying to flag down trains.
In 1907, during bridge construction, a drunk man named Henry Johnson fell into wet cement and died. When you visit the bridge, you can hear Henry Johnson’s footsteps.
A woman was walking across the bridge late one night with her sick baby after a visit to the doctor. Her foot got trapped in the railroad tracks, when a large locomotive was quickly approaching. She was able to free her foot and then, clutching her baby, she jumped from the bridge. She survived the fall, but her baby did not. If you drive under the bridge at night, you can hear the mother screaming for her baby.
Wet cement, car accidents, hangings, and drownings plague the history of Indiana bridges, leaving many spirits trapped between our world and who knows. American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “The grave is but a covered bridge. Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness!” Though I might ask: what happens to those that never make it across the bridge? Where’s the light for them?