Creepy true story of a haunted bridge that once stood near Lookout Mountain, Alabama. Written by Irran Butler.
I live four miles out of town on a narrow county road, which connects two high traffic paved roads. On my road there is an old iron railed bridge, which has a wooden plank floor, and it makes a very distinct and creepy sound when a car passes over it. In the quiet of the evening, I can sometimes hear clearly the sound of the old bridge complaining as vehicles cross from one side of the creek to the other.
On a number of occasions, before I moved to the area, I was told the story of the bridge being haunted and some of my friends and I made trips to see this bridge and, hopefully, the ghost. The story I heard told was of a woman and her very young baby being killed as she attempted to cross the bridge. It happened one very foggy night almost a hundred years ago when she was walking home from a friend’s house. She carried a lantern in one hand and the baby on her other arm. As she started to cross the bridge someone in a speeding horse drawn carriage came upon the bridge in such haste that the woman was unable to retreat from the narrow confined deck of the bridge before the carriage struck her. The woman fell to her death in the water below and the fate of her baby was assumed to be the same by the friends and neighbors who came to assist when they learned of the accident. The baby was never found.
The haunting actually consisted of two parts. One part claims that the lantern can be seen moving along the road and onto the bridge, where it drops from the bridge into the water below. Just before the light drops from the bridge, the bridge rattles as though the speeding carriage was rushing across it. The second part is said to be hearing the baby crying from somewhere in the darkness below the bridge. Foggy nights are said to be the prime times to witness these events.
I was never a believer in this sort of thing, but one night I was driving toward the bridge through a light fog, when from a distance, I saw a dim yellow light ahead near the bridge. I was driving very slowly and it took the better part of a minute to reach the bridge. The old bridge was positioned in a curve in the road and the full length of it could be viewed as it was approached from my direction. I could see the light and could tell that it was then almost certainly on the bridge. I slowed almost to a dead stop and watched. My headlights shone on the fog which limited my visibility to just a few feet; beyond that was only the dim yellow light. As I came to the edge of the plank flooring I was still fixed on the light, which suddenly dropped from the left side of the structure and disappeared into the darkness.
I drove onto the bridge and stopped about midway. I reached for my flashlight and opened the car door. Stepping to the railing, I shined my light down into the fog-shrouded darkness below the bridge. Seeing only the leafy undergrowth on the creek banks and muddy, rain-swollen creek hurrying along on it’s way downstream, I really expected to see something… but there was nothing. Looking up and down the creek from my vantage point, I saw no sign of anything that had not grown there on the creek banks. My thinking was that, I had just witnessed the haunting of which I had always heard… though I had remained skeptical… until that moment. There was no doubt that I had seen a light and that the light dropped off the bridge. To the best of my knowledge there was no other person anywhere near that spot at that time and if what I had seen was a prank, it was a very good one. That was the first and last time I saw a light near the bridge.
On one occasion since that foggy night, I was walking along the road near my house accompanied by my dog. We had walked to the first spot on the road where the bridge could be seen from the high ground. I paused and looked up at the near-full moon through the light patchy fog, when I heard what I was sure was a horse drawn carriage moving rapidly along the road near the bridge. The moon brightly lit the countryside with a ghostly glow as it filtered through the fog. Looking at the road leading to the bridge, from where I stood; I could just make out a dark form of some size moving along the road in my direction. As it drew nearer to me, I could clearly hear the hoof beats of a horse and the rattle of a wooden carriage. What I was seeing and hearing had to be a horse drawn carriage, no other vehicle makes that sound. The view of the road was blocked in one spot at the foot of the hill just yards from where I stood waiting to clearly see whatever was moving toward me. I watched as the dark form disappeared into the blind spot…and suddenly, the sound was no more… only an unexpected gust of wind in the trees. Instead of a carriage passing me on the road, I felt that surprising and short-lived gust of wind push past me and stir the moonlit fog. My dog, which had followed me, stood and watched intently the empty roadway. He may have been expecting to see something too… or… maybe he did see something… he didn’t say. I looked both up and down the road for the phantom carriage, which had apparently vanished into the vapor. Only the quietness of a fog-shrouded night surrounded us and since that time, I’ve never seen or heard the phantom carriage again… and frankly, I hope not to.
From the Author: This was actually written while our Haunted Bridge was still resting in the place where it had been for many years. In 2007 it was removed and replaced by a soulless concrete structure that is likely safer than our old bridge, but completely lacks any of the charm possessed by its predecessor. I miss its charm, as do any of my neighbors with whom I have spoken about it. We miss our bridge and remember fondly the years we had with it. Hopefully, this story will help preserve the memory of a piece of Lookout Mountain’s past and pass it on to the young folks who never actually got to see, touch and hear our old reliable bridge.
This bridge was located in Etowah County, Alabama, about four miles northeast of Gadsden between Tabor Road and Lay Springs Road. I had heard several versions of the story of the bridge and everyone was sure that their version was the “real thing”, because their granny or somebody told them. I took the best of the stories, combined them and placed me and my dog in the story because that’s the mood I was in at the time. I have never seen anything that resembled a haunting at or near the bridge, but always liked the stories. Like so many other stories of hauntings, some folks will swear its true, others laugh at it… me, I’ll keep an open mind.