If it’s Wednesday, it must be another episode of Ghost Hunters. Tonight the team investigated a haunted house and a haunted penitentiary looking for "shadow people", dark apparitions that seem to disappear.
I’m continuing my read of Tally Johnson’s "Ghosts of the South Carolina Upcountry". One thing I noticed was the abundance of "Cry Baby" bridges in upstate SC. Johnson has several in his book, and a quick Google search turns up references to many such bridges in multiple states. There is even a Wikipedia entry about Cry Baby Bridges, but it is rather incomplete. Shadowlands, which has one of the most extensive listings of haunted places, has one for just about every state.
According to most of these, a mother and child are crossing or are near the bridge. Somehow the child dies or is killed, often by being thrown from the bridge. In some stories, the mother is also killed. The common element is that unsuspecting travelers will hear the sound of a baby crying as they cross the bridge.
Some of the stories have added some elaborate features. The child can only be heard certain times of the year or during certain phases of the moon. In order to hear the child, you may have to make some sort of incantation, often repeated three times. Sometimes the traveler must honk the horn or flash the headlines three times. Why such a ritual would summon a child, I don’t know. Maybe it’s intended to scare the spectral being so that it does start to cry, in which case the traveler is only serving up further torment.
If there were only one Cry Baby Bridge, it would have more credence. Multiple variations and elaborations, all with a similar core story makes me believe that it’s a tale told around campfires, with dares to go and summon the child. Since it seems to belong more in the category of Urban Legend than reported haunting, I had hoped that there would be some reference in Snopes.com. However, they have no reference to any Cry Baby Bridge.
So, I guess the only way to know for sure is to wait until we have a clear night with no moon, drive the convertible down Gallilee Church Road in Union County just past Rose Hill Plantation to the bridge that crosses the Tyger River, turn off the car, then flash the headlights three times. Then I’ll wait and see what I hear.
If you look in that bridge photo, you will see a round object seemingly floating in the air. Paranormal investigators describe these as orbs of energy, or manifestations of something paranormal. I think I have another explanation. Take a look at the position of the "orbs" in these three shots…
Notice how they seem to be in the same position relative to the frame of the picture? I think, once again, the investigator needs to clean his/her camera lens.
Anyway, back to the show. At the house, the team captured what sounded like the voice of a little girl. It was hard to determine exactly what it was saying, but it sounded like a name. As for the West Virginia Penitentiary, they wound up debunking most of the stories.