Friday, January 17, 2014

Spook Bridge-What Kind of Crossings Happen Here?

Not far from Valdosta, Georgia there is a location that not many know about outside the area, but is quite legendary in the Lowndes County and Brooks County communities.  The locals began to call it Spook Bridge, a simple enough name, and it stuck.  As the internet and social media become a larger part of our everyday lives, the bridge and its "spooky" legends are getting more attention.  I first read about this legend in Jim Miles' book Weird Georgia. However, as our college has a campus in Valdosta, I began to ask folks from that campus about it and some of them had interesting stories to tell. I felt that it would be worth my time looking in to and possibly posting to the Georgia Mysteries Blog, so here it goes.

The Youtube video above is one of the most visited links relating to Spook Bridge, and it is posted there for you to view. There are others posted on Youtube. As a matter of fact, there seems to be several uploaded by a user named Pat Clendenning.  I would check all of those out.

The bridge has quite an interesting history.  Built somewhere around 1920 near land owned by the Walter Cunningham family, the bridge led to a well-known resort named Blue Springs. It attracted visitors from all over the state to its natural spring called the Blue Hole.  It appears that there were a few drownings at the Blue Springs Resort during the years of its operation, and the wreck of a gas truck back on the bridge in the 1940s took out several dozen feet of railing that were not immediately repaired.  Natural disaster took its toll on the resort when in the late 1940s, a flood washed out the roads leading to the bridge, which made the passage unsafe for travel.  Later, the state built another route and bridge nearby that diminished traffic through the area to the resort, and by the 1970s Blue Springs was no more.  Later in the 1970s, vandals began  to venture out to the abandoned bridge and spray paint graffiti and satanic messages on its sides and railings. Others report that cult activity occurred in the area, particularly at night.  The legend of Spook Bridge, as it began to be called in the late 70s, was born.

Of course, with the bridge abandoned, having a very colorful history, and surrounded by dark woods and a rushing river below, legends and stories did crop up.  A few of the legends that have surfaced and become part of the fabric of Spook Bridge include the deaths of a few people.  One, there is a story that includes a couple who lived in a nearby house.  The legend states that the couple walked along the bridge one day, and the husband pushed the wife off the bridge, leading to her death. I sort of wonder what led him to do such a thing, but the legend does not include that pertinent piece of information. Perhaps the couple quarreled, or one of them was pugnacious in nature, but whatever the case, the wife died. Legend has it that she haunts the bridge and her ghost can be seen trying to climb from the murky waters below to get back on the bridge with her husband. Another legend includes this same couple, albeit the husband kills the wife in their house nearby and then commits suicide.  Their ghosts, as you can imagine, took up residence near the bridge.

Another legend focuses on a high school couple who visited the bridge and wrecked when they ran in to the railing on the side of the bridge, broke through, and their car was swept away by the river below.  A third legend focuses on a school bus full of children that ran off the side of the bridge in to the river below. I have seen very little to substantiate either legend, but I did not look that hard either.  Perhaps you can find it, or the proof that dismisses the legend.  It is also said that people who visit the bridge have experienced what they think are fists and hands pounding on the hood of their cars as they approach the bridge.

Of course, this area is dangerous, and wrecks most certainly could occur on or near the bridge, as it has been washed out in part and is structurally unsound in other places.  The road leading to the bridge has been ripped apart in places, there are rips in the asphalt in the road and bridge, broken glass is everywhere, and there are signs of gang and cult activity in the form of graffiti and paraphernalia left in the area. The local sheriff's department does its best to patrol the area and keep visitors and legend seekers away, or at least in areas where they will not get hurt.  The bridge is known to flood when it rains, as there is a river beneath. If you decide to visit, I would clear it with local authorities first.  As with all legend trips, there is danger involved.

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