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The Legend of Cry Woman's Bridge
Norris Ford Bridge
Built in 1916
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Rush County, Indiana
Rush County is home to just over 18,000 residents and is mostly covered with farm land. It is probably most well known for its courthouse, which I’ll be covering in another Hub, and its covered bridges. There are five covered bridges in rush county, which is an impressive number. There are a few other counties in the US with more, but five isn’t bad; it puts us on the map. For the purposes of this article I will be focusing on one specific covered bridge, the Norris Ford Bridge, built in 1916 by EL Kennedy and Sons, located about a half mile East of Ft.Wayne Rd. on County Road East 300 North. Nestled in a thicket of forest with the Flatrock River flowing steadily below, it creates the perfect setting for a ghost story. I have heard a few slightly different versions of the legend, I will tell it as it was told to me in the most entertaining fashion as I can muster. I can find no historical reference to any of the events projected in the following story, so it is to be taken strictly as it is intended; as a local legend.
It was less than a year after the completion of the Norris Ford Bridge, and there was a young woman who moved into a small farmhouse less than a mile away from it. She was new to the area and had no husband or children, so she was automatically under suspicion by the local residents. She kept to her self; aside from selling or trading eggs to get some of the things she needed that her small farm couldn’t provide, she was never seen. The folks in the area had begun talking, and it wasn’t about how pretty she was. One day at the local store she was spotted buying clove, ginger, nutmeg, and other various herbs and spices by some of the local women and it was whispered by one of them “maybe she is a witch.” In those days the word witch brought about the same kind of emotionally driven response that you would expect from the passengers on a plane when the word bomb is used. The mere whisper of the word witch wasn’t enough to send the lynch mob with torches in hand pounding on her door, but it was the ember that started the fire. That following Sunday it was discovered that she didn’t attend church, and a few days after that there was a story circulating that she had dead chickens hanging in her house. The stories continued and the stigma grew out of proportion. One evening she visited the local Doctor, and told him that she was pregnant, and would deliver very soon. The doctor was a discrete professional man, and even at his wife’s prying he told no one, but it is hard to hide the delivery of a baby especially in such a small community. When she delivered the baby the fire was blazing and the town’s people were itchy. A town meeting was immediately organized, and the people were in an uproar. There was talk of running her out of town, and of tarring and feathering her, and of hanging her. They decided that they were going to confront her as a group so the meeting was convened and they migrated to her house in full mob fashion. When they arrived they found her with her newborn baby in her arms cold, blue, and lifeless. They immediately accused her of witchcraft as they tried to subdue her. Somehow she managed to escape from the angry mob and disappeared in the forest with her baby still in her arms. The dogs were called out and a posse was formed to search for her. Two days went by with no sign of her when she was spotted in the rafters of the nearby covered bridge by a young boy on his way home from school. The bridge was quickly surrounded and the people all closed in on her. She was supposedly moaning and screaming like a wild animal, with a look in her eyes of complete horror. As they closed in on her in the center of the bridge, she either fell or jumped from the rafters and broke her neck killing her on impact. The coroners report stated that the child died of natural causes. The bridge is said to be haunted by her ghost to this very day, as she searches for justice from all of the town’s people who offered no justice to her. It is said that you can still hear her moan and scream if you listen carefully on a cold windy night, and that her ghost will take your children and drown them in the river if she ever finds them alone. She is forever; gruesomely connected to the Legend of Cry Woman’s Bridge.
Inside the Legend
The Teenagers Test
Now due to the legend; it is customary for teenagers, after getting their license, to drive to the middle of the bridge at mid-night and stop so they can yell “I got your baby”, only to speed off in hopes of not being caught by the ghost. I had already done it a few times just messing around when me and a few buddies decided go to the bridge and try our luck once more. We got there a few minutes before mid-night so we sat in the middle of the bridge in the car and waited. At exactly 12:00 mid-night I rolled down my window and yelled “Hey! I got your baby” I immediately tried to take off but we didn’t go anywhere. I felt the color drain from my face as I sat there going nowhere when it seemed like I should have been half a mile down the road already. Just then we heard a loud bang on the back of my car, and we all began getting frantic and yelling. A moment later I realized that the car had somehow been knocked into neutral, so I put it in drive and took off like a bat out of hell. A good piece down the road we were all laughing and talking about how scared we all looked, as we made fun of each other for being so scared. I still don’t know what made the sound on the back of the car, but I can guess that it was a warning from the ghost of Cry Woman’s Bridge.
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