December 9, 2009

Avon's Haunted Bridge

Finally got a chance to visit the bridge in Avon, Indiana.


The legend of the Haunted Bridge as reported by the Washington Township Public Library: 
"It is said if you wander at night near the old bridge over White Lick Creek, you may hear the screams and moans of the ghost of Avon's Haunted Bridge. And on hot summer days you can see the ghost's tears on the concrete of the bridge. Some people will tell you that there in no ghost, that the screams are just the product of wind, and that the tears are caused by condensation. But others will tell you that the ghost is real.

Who exactly the ghost is supposed to be, no one can say. In one version of the tale, it was a black or Irish laborer involved with the bridge's construction. He fell into one of the unsealed supports and was killed almost instantly. The railroad didn't want to waste time or money to get him out, so the support was sealed with the worker still inside. In some versions of this tale, the worker's arm hung out of the support, and had to be cut off.

Another story: Henry Johnson was a construction worker who had an unfortunate accident while helping construct the bridge. Henry was an alcoholic who came to work drunk one night when the other workers had left for the day. He was walking on top of the newly constructed bridge when he slipped from the train tracks above and got stuck in some wet cement. When the other workers came the next day, they found Henry's face frozen in the cement. Some say you can still see his face, but no one has ever found it.

Another theory has it that a passenger train jumped the track on the newly constructed bridge. The train crashed into the creek, but none of the passengers were harmed. Only the engineer was killed, and it is he who haunts the bridge.

But there are claims that the ghost isn't a man's at all, but that of a young mother mourning her child. The infant was ill, and the mother walked along the railroad tracks to get a doctor. Midway across the bridge, she could her see a train coming in her direction. She tried to run to safety, but her foot got stuck between two ties. She was able to free herself, but she didn't have enough time to run to safety. She jumped from the bridge, and the baby slipped through her arms. Sick with grief from the loss of her child, the mother herself died in a matter of weeks. Whenever you drive underneath the bridge at night with your windows down, you can supposedly hear her screaming for her baby.
A similar story says that the girl was cast out by her family because she had a baby and wasn't married. She decided to follow the train tracks to see where they would take her. When she jumped off the bridge, both she and her baby were killed.

While any or all of these stories could have some basis in fact, none of them have been verified. All we really know about the history of the bridge is that it was constructed in 1906-1907, and that it was double tracked in 1908. The bridge is still used by the railroad today, but whether or not it is haunted is open to speculation. You're welcome to find out yourself.
But don't say we didn't warn you."