Okay, another famous haunted place I’ve visited was Emily’s Bridge in Stowe, Vermont… and boy was that one eerie. And I was so hoping for something NOT to happen this time, because unless you’ve been with me when it happens, most people stopped believing me long ago.
My father died this past January, thus, this summer, my mother invited my niece (Kellynn, who is seven) to stay for the summer break while her mother and father both concentrated on college and her brother (Airk, who is 12) concentrated on the Scouts. Kellynn, once there, became obsessed with the local legend of Champ, the “Loch Ness Monster” of Lake Champlain. In fact, this encounter came about as a direct result of that obsession!
While traveling to different museums, the Teddy Bear Factory, and other local sites that could educate and amuse my niece, my mother would sometimes invite me to go along. I like to read in the car if I’m not driving, and one day we drove the back roads while I read aloud from the book “Weird New England” that I had recently acquired. It talked about hauntings among other things, as well as Champ. Kellynn absorbed every word of the reports on Champ, and kept watching the lake for any signs of the elusive creature, but was bitterly disappointed.
I, on the other hand, skipped ahead and started reading aloud about Emily’s Bridge in not too distant Stowe. This haunting caught Kellynn’s attention, and she asked where Stowe was. We told her that it was only a couple of hours from Burlington, where Champ was most often sighted, and she asked me to repeat the report I’d read from the book. Thus I did.
Here is the basic story for those who don’t know it, then I’ll get on with the rest of this encounter:
Emily (they’re not sure of her real name, actually) was alive quite some time ago. (I’m sorry. I don’t have the book in front of me so can’t give dates or such, but I think it was in the 1800’s.) She had a sweetheart, but for some reason the man was unacceptable to her family. Thus, she decided to run away with him in secret and marry him. They made an appointment to meet on a covered bridge off Goldwater (I think that was the river) in Stowe, where both lived (a popular sky town nowadays). Anyway, for some reason the young man never showed and Emily apparently grew despondent and hung herself. (Sorry for the hazy details.) Well, it is reported that now Emily haunts the bridge, and has done so since her death. There have been pictures taken of her when no one was standing in the shot. There have been cries and screams heard. Scratch or claw marks appear on the sides of horses or cattle made to go through the bridge, and along the paint jobs of cars driven through it (though not all the time). Emily is said to be a very vindictive spirit, and no one person or situation seems to make her more or less active… she haunts when and how and who she wants to, apparently.
Well, after hearing this story, Kellynn instantly wanted to go out and visit Emily’s Bridge and see the ghost. I guess she felt that if Champ wouldn’t show for her, this finicky spirit would. I knew that in the stories, Champ was less violent, and so hoped that Emily wouldn’t show if we did go. I didn’t want Kellynn hurt. Notice I never doubted for an instant that something could occurr, I’m way too familiar with the paranormal to doubt it. My roommate, Sherry (the once skeptic, now reluctant believer) was also with us and we put it to a vote. All four of use (Mom, me, Sherry, and Kellynn) unanimously agreed it’d be fun to drive through the countryside and see this famous bridge. I think the others, except for Kellynn, were also hoping nothing would happen, as the actual chance of meeting a ghostly encounter, especially when looking for one, is rare. We stopped at Mom’s and picked up the dog (Kodi, a German Sheppard-Husky mix), some bottles of water, a map, and snacks, and had a potty break. Then we piled back in Mom’s SUV and took the four or so hour drive from East Fairfield to Stowe. We used the map and the “Weird New England” book to pinpoint the location of the bridge and finally found it.
It was a nice little bridge, covered and short, but definitely in good repair. (Sherry was driving now.) We drove through the bridge and stopped on the other side, getting out. Except Sherry, of course, she refused outright. She wanted nothing to do with a haunting so just wanted to sit in the car and read her book. Kellynn was nervous suddenly, but an adventurous little girl so she climbed out and stood with Mom while I took Kodi’s leash and walked her over the bridge. Things started happening right away! About two-thirds over the bridge, Kodi shied away from the side of the bridge, pushing me towards the center of the road. She wouldn’t obey any command I gave her. I turned her around, never getting to the other side, and took her back. Mom had been taking pictures and asked why I’d stopped. I told her and she said I must have handled Kodi’s leash wrong, so she gave me the camera and took the dog leash. Mom lead her over the bridge and back while I took pictures, Kellynn standing next to me, alert, all the while. They came back, and nothing had happened while this was taking place.
We put a bowl on the ground behind the SUV and filled it with water for Kodi. She started drinking while Kellynn and I walked near the edge of the bridge, looking down on the large rocks and water below. Suddenly, I head a far off scream that seemed to come from the house across the bridge. My head shot up. At the same time, Mom called out “What was that?” and kellyn called “What happened?” I whirled around and they were watching the dog, who had stopped drinking and was staring intently across the bridge at the same house, or so it seemed. I nervously said “Maybe she heard something,” trying to see if they, too, had heard the scream. Then it came again, and Kodi’s ears shot forward. I turned to the others and said “I wonder who that was.” They looked at me blankly. The scream came a third time, and Kodi was reacting very noticeably, but Mom and Kellynn seemed puzzled by her behavior. Finally, I broke down and asked desperately, “Don’t you hear the screaming? It sounds like it’s coming from somewhere near that house over the bridge! Don’t tell me you can’t hear it. Kodi and I can.” (Now recall, the first time I heard the scream, my back was to the dog and I was facing the house… I had no idea she was reacting until I’d turned around at their words. Thus, I was not reacting to the dog’s behavior.)
The others claimed they hadn’t heard anything, but I insisted we get in the car and out of there. I was feeling more and more nervous. So, we split. Sherry, driving the car away from the scene, claimed not to have heard anything, though she had seen us reacting and knew I must have heard something by the way I looked. We got home and Kellynn was disappointed not to have seen or heard anything, though I pointed out that she’d witnessed me and the dog hearing something. She wouldn’t stop pestering Mom the rest of the summer to take her back, but Mom never did. It was shortly after Kellynn went home to Kentucky that Mom told me she’d thought she’d heard screaming that day, too, but didn’t want to scare Kellynn, so pretended not to have. Recall the “What was that?” comment? Mom had heard it too!
Well, I haven’t been back to Emily’s Bridge… or the Salem Witch Dungeon (another story)… or Dream Lake (another story, though nothing happened to ME at Dream Lake), but I can tell you, I’ll probably stumble upon more haunts and ghosties before I’m too old to appreciate them “later” when the fear wears off and we’re passing around our stories. At the time, it’s terrifying… and for some reason, the Emily Bridge one still feels terrifying… maybe because it only happened two months ago?