Friday, June 25, 2010

The Legend of Brubaker Bridge

Photo by Anthony Dillon from Bridgehunter

OK, we end our legends segment with one of the better-known hauntings in Ohio, that of Brubaker Bridge. The bridge was built in 1887, crossing a small stream known as Sam's Run Creek in Preble County, by Gratis.

The span was small, and in the middle of nowhere. It was quietly used as a rural shortcut for decades, when in the 1930s something terrible happened. A carload of teens returning from a Grange party wrecked on the covered bridge, apparently at high speed, and their bodies were scattered everywhere.

The accident was at night, and it wasn't until late the next afternoon that a local farmer checking his cattle discovered the carnage. A gang of locals gathered at the scene, and carted away a dozen bodies, a gruesome toll on the community. The victims were buried, and the whole episode was hopefully laid to rest.

But it wasn't. The farmer who originally spotted the bodies was driving across the Brubaker Bridge afterward with his wife when his truck died. Before they could get out, they heard 13 knocks and a whispering, hissing sound, like a "shhhhh." Others traveling over the old bridge experienced the same phenomena.

The neighbors put their heads together, and made a startling discovery; there were actually thirteen teens missing from the party; one of the bodies hadn't been found, that of a boy who was known to disappear from home for days on end. They again gathered at Brubaker Bridge to search, but came up empty.

According to local lore, anyone who tries to cross over the Brubaker Bridge at night will find that their car stalls, sometimes with flickering lights, and the missing youth will tap on the vehicle, trying to get your attention, accompanied by whimpers of pain. He just hopes that someone will find his body and lay him to rest.

The bridge is also known as "crybaby bridge" because of the whispering sound, and some claim seeing approaching headlights, presumably from the doomed vehicle, but no cars ever appear.

Hey, thirteen people, a covered bridge...what better stuff could a legend be made from? There are a couple of small holes in the tale, though.

Now no one has ever discovered a newspaper clipping of the accident, and 13 kids is a lot to cram into a 1930 era vehicle, though possible. The bridge itself was renovated in 2006.

But one thing has never changed. There's still a body looking for peace after all these years, and it seems like after eight decades, he still isn't giving up.

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