Monday, August 12, 2013

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Front of bridge, turning from Gold Brook Road (left turn over the bridge) to Stowe Hollow Road. 
Back side of bridge from Stowe Hollow Road
Since visiting Vermont every summer since 2008, we have visited the Gold Brook Bridge, better known as Emily's Bridge in Stowe, Vermont.  We try to pick a different region every year to seek out covered bridges and have now found over 80 of the covered bridges in Vermont, but we return to Emily's bridge every year.  

There are several stories which try to explain the legend of what exactly happened at this bridge.  One is that Emily's fiancee on their wedding day was thrown from his horse and he died.  Emily was heartbroken and hung herself on the bridge.  Another story is that Emily fell in love, bought a beautiful wedding dress, arrived at the church but the groom never showed up.  A jilted distraught Emily took the family wagon, beating the horses so that they were traveling at a high rate of speed.  She didn't negotiate the turn to the bridge correctly and she and the horses drove off the bank, plunging to their deaths on the rocks below.  A third variation has a homely Emily pregnant with twins.  Her father demanded that the man marry her.  He chose to kill himself rather than marry Emily.  She supposedly delivered the babies, then hung herself on the bridge.  One woman claims to have made up the whole Emily story to keep her children off the bridge.  

Experts that have visited the bridge have not found any compelling evidence of paranormal activity, but local residents and visitors report scratches on both people and cars that park in the bridge.  From what I've read, Emily's hostility is focused towards men.  I have read about men that were scratched and have seen photos they have posted on one of the several Emily's Bridge websites.  People also claim to have heard a woman screaming, strange noises coming from inside the bridge and banging noises of Emily hitting the outside of vehicles.  There are even reports of something being dragged on the tops of cars.  Wikipedia says most paranormal activity takes place between dusk and 9pm, while another website claims activity peaks from midnight to 3am.  

We visited the bridge on three consecutive days, August 8, 9 and 10, 2013.  On our second visit, August 9 at approximately 10:30 pm, my husband parked the minivan across the street on Stowe Hollow Road facing the front of the bridge.  He shut off the van, but left the lights on.   I took some photos as we all walked in the bridge, calling out to Emily.  All of a sudden the car lights went out and we were in blackness. My heart stopped for a second and then pounded.  My older son said the hairs on the back of his neck stood up, while my younger son was unfazed.  My husband, who emphatically denies the existence of anything supernatural said "whoa".  And within a few seconds the lights came back on.  We turned towards the car just in time to see a car passing on Gold Brook Road, temporarily blocking the lights from our car.  Whew.  We all had a good laugh going back to the resort.  On the third night we went to the bridge at approximately the same time, 10:30 pm,  and my Nikon would not fire until I was away from the bridge, but other than that, nothing eventful seemed to happen. 

On our first visit on August 8, we walked through the bridge - nothing happened.

Heading back home from Vermont, we stopped in Montpelier for dinner.  We were telling the waitress about the bridge and she had heard of it.  She said she never believed in ghosts, but that her mother and some friends went to the bridge.  They took some photos and when developed, they found a face in the photos.   I was a little bummed out because I had been hoping to see some kind of evidence of Emily. 

Once we were home and unpacked, I uploaded several days of iPhone photos on my computer.  I noticed on the series of photos I took that first night, there seemed to be a face on the left side of the bridge.  One photo showed the face pretty clearly, and on another photo with my sons and husband in the bridge, it looked like the eyes were following them.  One photo also looked blurred on the side where the face was and the rest of the photo was noticeably sharper.   Since it was dark and the photos were taken with the phone, they are not too clear.  I have put the original photos along with cropped versions.  They have not been edited or altered.  

Do YOU believe in ghosts?   Do you see a face too?  Are the lights playing tricks on me?  Or am I just seeing things?

Is this Emily?

Hazy on the left side but not on the right. 

Is she watching them?  Or me?


  1. Now this is the kind of stuff I like, a real paranormal investigation! We have a haunted inn here in Evergreen that we checked out, lots of legend and stories. I try to be open minded about the paranormal and other natural mysteries so maybe there really is something going on at the bridge. I can definitely see some kind of shadowing on the left side of the bridge that looks like a person. Maybe it's Emily. It will be interesting to see if your able to uncover anything more next year.

    1. Ha Ha - we have been going every year and honestly, before I loaded the pictures, I thought this trip was uneventful. But now, thinking back, these photos were taken the first night, on the second night when the lights went out briefly, we all felt very uneasy, frankly pretty much terrified! And the 3rd night, my camera malfunctioned. If you look at the picture of the back of the bridge in daytime, you can see the shading which to me looks like uneven stain. But when I look at the night pictures, I clearly see a face and the eyes seem to move, following my husband and sons in each shot.
      There are many stories about Emily but the consensus is that she is a nasty ghost. I was googling and supposedly some psychics claim this bridge is a portal to hell and say to avoid at night, especially on full moon nights. I sent the link to this post to a couple of paranormal investigator sites. I'm hoping someone with expertise in this area will give me their opinion about these photos. I wish they were clearer, but I was excited when I saw them! thanks for commenting Dan!!

  2. Always love a great ghost story. Makes you wonder how so many different stories were hatched, doesn't it?

    1. You're so right Marianne - there are definitely many variations of the story of Emily's ghost! thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

  3. As someone who lives in the neighborhood of Stowe Hollow, this post and all claims of "ghost activity" at Emily's Bridge make me wonder if anyone actually stops and thinks about this impact these visits have on the surrounding houses. Several times a week there are loud, disrespectful ghost hunters who shine lights on the bridge, litter and make noise. I realize that no one takes the time to think about how they are contributing to a growing problem in the area, but it would be nice if you did. You are not welcome at Emily's Bridge after 10pm, and there is now a town ordinance in effect that fines people who are parked there between 10pm-6am. Please show some decency. If you and your children were being woken up in your own home at all hours of the night, several nights a week, year round, you would feel the same way.

    1. I understand your point of view, however, we visit the bridge every year when we come to Stowe and have NEVER been disruptive or loud. We don't park on the bridge, we don't litter, we keep quiet so as not to disturb the residents and our visits last less than 10-15 minutes and are usually during the day. I have heard of incidents with kids partying on the bridge, but I hear that the majority of them are LOCAL kids. We actually spoke with residents that live near the bridge that we ran into a couple of times and they told us that local kids were a big problem and that the police were patrolling there. Unfortunately, there are disruptive kids in lots of neighborhoods. Having the police patrolling will hopefully deter the loud and disruptive and yes, ignorant behavior. However, I am quite sure there is also quite a large number of curious 'ghost hunters' that come and go quietly and respectfully, as we did.