Urban lore: One mighty fine ghost story
We may think a particular ghost story is original and one of a kind; often it is not. Many have their origins from stories handed down throughout the years; stories that may very well have a basis in fact…or just a good tale. Indiana has its share.
It’s become a challenge to separate fact from fiction, especially when common denominators in these stories are prevalent in various counties across the state of Indiana, and across the country. What’s a poor paranormal investigator to do? The truth is out there…you just have to find it.
Bridges and crying babies:
Several counties across Indiana have an ancient bridge structure that reeks of mystery as a result of misfortunes in the past. A baby or young child killed nearby or thrown from the bridge leaves residual wails resonating from the ghostly structure on any given night. Often the tale incorporates a young mother holding her baby as they cross the tracks over a deep valley. Suddenly a train approaches. Rather than being run over the mother chooses to plummet to their death, thus taking their place in the urban legend annuals.
Then, there is the tale told of the hapless, clumsy worker who slips from his perch during the construction of the bridge, dropping into the freshly poured cement of a pier. Rather than stopping and digging poor Joe out of the cement, the other workers make the decision to keep on pouring, again encasing him in his eternal place of urban history.
From researching bridge lore across not only Indiana, but also other states, I have come to the conclusion there was a LOT of these clumsy workers meeting this fate. On a moonlit night, as these bridges stand as a silent fortress, one can still hear their moans and cries for help.
Two such bridges in Indiana with similar back stories come to mind: the ancient catacomb railroad bridges of Avon and Danville, just west of Indianapolis.
There are a plethora of cemeteries throughout Indiana that contain tales of dark ominous forms that will chase a paranormal investigator’s butt out of the graveyard and back into the safety of their car; reality becomes fuzzy, all from stories generated from the years. Most likely it will never happen to you. If it does, consider yourself fortunate – you’ve confirmed an urban myth! Stories, after all, are just that – until they ease into the realm of fact. Maybe all the essential ingredients fall together on a particular night? Possibly it’s just a matter of being at the right place at the right time?
Cemeteries are captivating for paranormal investigators; we cut our teeth in them. Is it the history of a life lived? Or, the stories of ghosts? There are legends that continue to this day:
On the grounds of the former Central State Hospital in Indianapolis resides the remains of some 500 former patients labeled as “mentally imbalanced.” Central State Hospital opened in 1848 and closed in 1994. The grounds are currently in a transformation as time marches forward and the past catches up. The former graves of these patients were forgotten, and for all intents and purposes, abandoned. They were not treated with the respect they deserved. The adjoining three acre Mount Jackson Cemetery retains many of these recipients. However, talk of the practices of the former facility continue: dignity that was crushed with misdiagnosis, abuse, maltreatment, and in the end left alone in a plot of unmarked ground.
I would think that if ANY place should be haunted, it would here!