Ghost Stories and Tall Tales of the American South

Haunted Bridge of Lookout Mountain, Alabama

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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.

Haunted Bridge Lookout Mountain Etowah County Alabama

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.

-THE END-


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.

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11 Responses to “Haunted Bridge of Lookout Mountain, Alabama”


Mike:

Great story!

Allen Kopp:

I want to think that the ghost is still lurking around the country side; even if old bridge isn’t there anymore. Once a Spector has established a place to haunt, they don’t leave the spot.

Martha Smith Solomon:

Love the stories and always find the time to read them. Thank you for sharing. Martha Smith Solomon

Irran Butler:

Since I submitted this story I have heard a new story associated with the haunted bridge. This one has nothing to do with the events leading to the original haunting. It was told to me by someone who lived in the area at one time. According to him, he was driving along the road on a foggy night, approaching the bridge, when there before him he saw the dim image of the tall railings of the old bridge standing in the roadway. He said it appeared to be in the exact location of the old bridge before the road was altered for the new bridge. According to him the image faded into the fog after only seconds in his headlights. I can’t speak for the veracity of this new chapter in the tale of the haunted bridge, but it’s another story to be added to the legend.

D:

Just saying that ghost is most likely still there
There have been many ghosts that have haunted objects or locations that have destroyed and the ghosts still linger

william mccray:

Update: The “Haunted” bridge has not been scrapped. It was saved. It is now in a park in Attalla, AL. See the following: bridgehunter.com/al/etowah/859/

Ashlie:

I have been over that bridge myself. I have encountered the spirit a few times with the lateren. It’s also called cry baby holler correct? I know there is a few places around here in Etowah & Dekalb Co called “Cry Baby Holler”.

Susan Foreman Steadman:

As a little girl, I traveled this bridge many times going to my two Aunts… Loved it. And yes it was spooky at night

Joseph M. Hood:

Nice story! The home where we grew up was a quarter-mile (as the crow flies) from the “haunted bridge, and the boundary of our land was within 30 yards of the bridge. As a boy, I often fished in our small stock pond across the road from the bridge as well as Black Creek near the bridge and hauled hay, dug postholes and repaired the fence in the adjacent pasture.. Our relatives owned other property adjacent to Black Creek and the bridge. The bridge was first erected in 1882 at Walnut Grove, Alabama using parts manufactured by the Bethlehem Iron Company and the Trenton Iron Company. It was moved to Pleasant Hill Road, above Noccalula Falls on Lookout Mountain near Gadsden, Alabama, in 1930. In 2007, the iron bridge was replaced, and the historic structure was temporarily moved to Noccalula Falls Park, where plans called for it to be used as part of the Black Creek Trail below the falls. Those plans were later abandoned and in 2010 the bridge was moved to The Junction, a city park in downtown Attalla. As I recall, a construction date was inscribed on a metal plaque when the bridge was present over Black Creek at Pleasant Hill Road. The bridge was a popular place for teens to hang out at night, and if the number of empty beer cans lying about was any indication, to have a few “cool ones”! Etowah County was a dry county. (Liquor could not be legally sold in the county at that time.) The bridge was also a place where young men would bring their dates. No doubt the aura of mystery, fear and implied danger surrounding the bridge provided a convenient excuse for the “frightened” young ladies to snuggle a bit closer to their companions (or not)! At any rate, the only night apparitions in my experience that haunted the bridge and the surrounding area were cows, opossums, raccoons, an occasional eastern screech-owl and the night revelers that we frequently heard “hallooing” from our home across the pasture and up the ridge!

Mayorofwaikiki:

As a teenager at Gadsden High School, the year the school burned, some friends and I went to the bridge several times and tried every urban legend we heard to try to see the ghost. The scariest was when we pulled up to the bridge, not on it, and parked at one end. We got out and crossed the bridge on foot to the other end and after doing this 2 more times when we turned around on the end opposite our car we were supposed to see a ghost. I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad not to see anything in my life. Another time we were riding around and were just going to drive across it but were forced to stop on it that night because several things were set on the bridge all the way across it so the only way to get by without running over the things was to get out and move them. That night we heard a very spooky sound coming from under the bridge but felt like it was local kids because of the setup we encountered. It was a lot of fun.

Cam:

Grew up going across it regularly. Always loved the history and tales of the bridge.

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