Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ohio’s Bloody Bridge

Often the backstories connected to ghost sightings are just legends that evolve over time to give a reason as to why a place is haunted.

The story of Ohio’s Bloody Bridge is unique in that the story told about why this bridge is haunted is true.
Present day Bloody Bridge
In the 1850s, a bridge that crosses the Miami-Erie Canal, located near Spencerville, Ohio was the site of a grisly murder.

Bill Jones and his girlfriend Minnie Warren seemed to be happy and madly in love, so it was a surprise to everyone when Minnie broke-up with Bill and began dating Jack Billings instead.

Bill now angry, and jealous plotted his revenge. One cold fall night in 1852, he waited near the bridge that crossed the canal. Jack and Minnie had attended a party that evening, and Bill knew they had to cross the canal to return home.

When Jack and Minnie’s wagon reached the middle of the bridge, Bill jumped out of the shadows with an ax in his hands. Before the couple could react, Bill lopped Jack’s head off with one fatal swing.

Minnie let out a scream and as she stood, she lost her footing and fell into the cold waters below--not knowing how to swim, she drowned.

When the townsfolk discovered the bodies, they launched a search for Bill Jones. But he was not found. Several years later, a body was found in a nearby well. Most believed this was Bill’s body. People speculated he had committed suicide or had fallen victim to an accident after the murders.

Soon after this crime, the locals started calling this bridge, “Bloody Bridge.”

Plaque and bridge.
Witnesses stated they saw the ghost of a headless man walking along the bridge after sundown. This made the bridge even more notorious, and it became a popular destination.

Other witnesses stated when they looked into the waters below the bridge at night, they saw the faces of Bill and Minnie looking back at them.

The original bridge was torn down, and a new one was placed in the original location. The story was so beloved by this time hordes of folks showed up to take a souvenir from the old bridge.

The construction of the new bridge did not impact the haunting. For people still, report seeing the figure of a headless ghost and the faces in the water.

In 1976, the Auglaize County Historical Society placed a plaque at the site, proclaiming the bridge was indeed haunted.

It reads:

“During the canal years of the 1850s, a rivalry grew between Bill Jones and Jack Billings for the love of Minnie Warren. There became hatred by Bill because Minnie chose Jack. On a fall night in 1854, returning home form a party, Minnie and Jack were surprised on the bridge by Bill, armed with an ax, With one swing, Bill severed Jack’s head. Seeing this Minnie screamed and fell into a watery grave. Bill disappeared, and when a skeleton was found years later in a nearby well, people asked was it suicide or justice.”

Excerpts from The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories, by James A. Willis

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