Urban Legends

Debunking an Urban Legend:
The Euharlee Covered Bridge

Here's one place that you shouldn't bother with if you're ghost hunting, but is a really nice place to visit should you find the time. It's on the Shadowlands list of haunted places in Georgia, but its story of a haunting is most certainly 100% urban legend.

Off Hwy 113 in Bartow County is the Euharlee covered bridge. Washington W. King, son of freed slave and famous bridge builder Horace King, built the existing bridge in 1886 on the land of Daniel Lowry just downstream from where a bridge was previously washed away during a flooding of Euharlee Creek. Documents reveal that the original bridge collapsed as a result of having been washed off its foundation, causing the death of a local man, Mr. Nelson, a mule and a horse. The present bridge was built utilizing some materials salvaged from the destroyed one. It's no longer open to vehicle traffic, but is well preserved and comes complete with a historical marker, picnic area, fishin', and a tiny museum. And it is a very cool place to visit whether it's haunted or not. But it isn't haunted.

That's the facts, now here's the fiction. For longer than most folks can remember, it's been said that in the late 1800's or early 1900's a young girl (some reports say a young Indian girl) was abducted, assaulted (in a most unpleasant manner), and hung from the rafters of the bridge. Legend has it that her spirit is still there and one can hear the rope creaking as she sways to and fro and that she can be heard crying.

In order to understand what's going on, one must first be familiar with the creaking sound an old hemp rope might make as it sways beneath an old wooden beam or tree limb - with a body attached to the other end. Then you would need to understand how a bridge was built using the Town Lattice method. Construction of the bridge framework was undertaken using no nails or screws, but rather with large wooden pegs holding the trusses together. Even the slightest movement on the bridge - whether by people or by wind - flexes the bridge, causing the beams to shift slightly, pivoting on the wooden pegs, producing a creaking noise much like the afore mentioned combination of rope, beam, and corpse. Crying? HMPH! The wind, even a slight breeze, makes a multitude of noises as it passes thru the bridge. Also to be considered is that the bridge spans a section of Euharlee Creek that is wide, but very shallow. The stream here is literally a babbling brook with the water playing a constant nature's rhapsody as it dances over the rocks. The water will sing, it will cry, and it will tell you a tale of things it's seen upstream... if only you will listen to it with an open spirit as well as open ears. But you won't hear the cries of a long-dead girl.

I've been there many times. I've never heard, seen, smelled, or sensed anything paranormal, and neither has anyone I've ever spoken with. Every experience that has been related to me has come from "somebody who knows somebody who...", you know that story, I bet.

The Euharlee Covered Bridge is a place of peace and serenity. Check it out. But go for the right reasons... bring a fishin' pole and a picnic lunch and leave the EMF meter and voice recorder at home.

Bruce Burns

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