Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crybaby Bridge: Monmouth, Illinois


There are many “Crybaby Bridge” stories in various states in the U.S. Some stories that surround these bridges are genuine folktales others are more recent urban legends which cynics state are “fakelore”. Regardless they are all entertaining. 

One bridge in Monmouth, Illinois, which has been christened a Crybaby Bridge, has had interesting legends connected to it for many years.

Most local residents of Monmouth know the following legend connected to a steel bridge that sits 3 miles northwest of their town. 

It is said many years ago a young unwed mother approached the bridge as a lightning storm raged around her. 

Shame weighed heavily upon her shoulders. Driven by fear because she had recently been abandoned she found herself standing in the middle of the bridge holding a week-old baby boy to her breast. Having no choice, not wanting to be ostracized by the community, she hurled the baby over the bridge’s trestles into the churning cold water of Cedar Creek. 

Ever since this tragic event, locals who pass the bridge state they have heard a “spine-tingling” cry that sounds like a baby struggling for breathe.

Yet another legend connected to this bridge states an elementary school bus plunged off the side of this bridge during a flood. Unfortunately, it is said the buses occupants all drowned before rescuers arrived. 

Since this accident many people have stated that if their car breaks down as they cross the bridge or even if they just stop on the bridge that the ghosts of these children have pushed their cars safely across. *

One local young lady and her friend not believing this legend decided one afternoon to drive to the bridge to see if they could debunk it. 

This single-lane bridge is located on a rural dirt road off US 67-N. It is at the bottom of a valley-- there is a steep incline at both ends of the bridge. This road is so narrow only one car can pass at a time. 

After rounding a sharp curve that leads to the Cedar Creek Bridge these two young investigators stopped their car at the bottom of the hill and got out. They walked across the bridge noting that it is completely flat at both ends and in the middle.

They got back in their car and put it into neutral. They were surprised when almost immediately their car started to slowly inch its way across the bridge. It did not stop until it got to the other side. Perplexed these two ladies were convinced that there must be an environmental reason for this so they headed up the opposite hill from where they drove in. 

They turned their car around and drove back down to test it going the other way. They again stopped their car completely and put it in neutral at the opposite end of the bridge. They were shocked to see their car instead of rolling backwards as they expected it moved forward and slowly inched its way across the bridge not stopping until it reached the end. 

To this day their experience on this bridge baffles them.

The young people in the town often retell another legend connected to this bridge. They state that a group of teenagers out for a joy ride struck a fisherman who stood on the bridge late one afternoon. Evidently, just as this fisherman cast his line over the bridge he was hit by their car and killed. 

Local legend states his apparition appears around the area that surrounds the creek.

*  This gravity hill story is very similar to the San Antonio, Texas story, which states a school bus full of children, was struck by an oncoming train. These students were killed instantly. Like the above bridge story it is stated these children help push cars across the railroad tracks. Here is a link to a post I wrote about this ghost story.

The Amish also have an evil crybaby bridge haunting here.

2 comments:

Jon Matthews said...

I went to school in Monmouth and have been to this bridge multiple times. I always hear people say that you will move slowly across the bridge if you put you car in neutral, and you do, but I've only ever gone one direction, south, if I park in the middle. You can roll north, but you have be be far on the north side of the bridge. If you park in the right spot, which is slightly north of the middle, you just sit there. Despite what people say, the bridge is not even and has several rolling slopes to it, with a slight downward angle for most of it, that's hard to see unless you look at the ground level. Granted it is incredibly creepy and people see what they want to see. Outside of scaring people I have never seen or experienced anything. Also, as far as the bus goes, there's no way a school bus, even a short one could make the sharp turn just to the north of the bridge. I had a tough time getting a long car around the turn. It's a pretty rough road to begin with as well and difficult to manage if it's wet.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Thanks for sharing. The stories I share about this bridge are folktales or legends so of course they are not considered a true haunting.