Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Avon, IN Haunted Bridge


(Click on photos for larger versions)

If you live in Indiana, this is THE Haunted Bridge. The triple-arch railroad trestle spans a rural road and White Lick Creek in Avon, a short distance west of Indianapolis.

A crumbling, weathered antiquity from 1907, this brooding expanse would inspire gloom and legend even if no true stories were attributed to it. A number of reputable publications have claimed that a worker was entombed in the concrete while it was being built – an urban legend, sure – but it is supposed to have happened here. There is another story of a young woman and her infant who plunged to their deaths – versions range from accident to suicide; visitors claim to hear the screams of the worker at sundown, and see the mother looking for her child atop the bridge late at night.

On a short trip one night with my folks, we stopped by the bridge for a look. My mother stayed in the car, not the least interested in such creepy nonsense, while my father, Flo and I strolled up for a closer view. Upon our return, mom was irate; how could we have let Flo climb up and walk across the tracks? She blanched when we told her Flo had stayed at ground level with us, and we saw no one at all atop the bridge. Mom had never heard of the legends of the bridge – yet she saw a woman walking across the railroad tracks, pausing to look down as if looking for something – as the ghost story goes.

Previously, I had taken infrared shots of the bridge after midnight – and in one, a misty form appeared where the ghost is supposedly seen.

I’ve never heard the screams, nor seen the apparition, but I understand the fascination and the foreboding this bridge inspires. Many of the most common urban legends have been falsely attributed to it – the first version I ever heard of “The Hook” was set here. Once, when I was a guest on a radio talk show, a caller insisted he saw a three-eyed hellhound guarding the bridge. It might have been a tad bid more convincing if he wasn’t piss-drunk when he told his story.

Isolated for generations, only recently has the area been developed. Avon holds an annual “Haunted Bridge Festival,” and an image of it is featured on the Avon city web site. Its macabre appeal, and recent restoration efforts, has prevented the bridge from being demolished and replaced.

One legend of the Haunted Bridge I believe without reservation is that, over the decades, young couples have conceived countless children while parked hoping to catch a glimpse of the ghost.

Rusty iron plates now prevent access to the inner workings of the bridge – the tunnels cut through all of the arches. I’ve been through those tunnels, and in its guts, the bridge subtly undulates and shudders as if alive. Haunted, whether by tragedy and death or the focused imagination of generations, it is still one of the most eerie experiences you could hope for.

(This shot was an infrared time exposure, later tinted sepia)

There are a couple of 3D stereo pairs of the bridge, over at my Flickr gallery:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnstanton/

And another shot of the bridge, this time for the cover of Indiana Horror Review 2014.

The iron door mentioned above:



Finally, the infrared shot from 1973, one that barely survived a fire:

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