Located between Princeton & Millikin Roads in Liberty Township, the Screaming Bridge is the home of several mysterious tales. The bridge spans the mainline that has had many names since the 1870?s -the Short Line, Big Four, New York Central, Conrail, Penn Central, and now, Norfolk Southern. No one knows for sure when it first was called the Screaming Bridge, but allegedly the original bridge here was grooved, and caused a sound similar to a scream when a vehicle drove across it.
But, urban legend tells of a more sinister origin to the name. It’s said that the ‘scream’ that is heard is that of someone who has died here. One of the earliest tragedies linked to the bridge goes back to a railroad accident in which two men were scalded to death when the locamotive they were on exploded between West Chester and Gano. However, that accident was in West Chester Township (formerly Union Township). The Maud Hughes bridge is in Liberty Township, yet somehow, the accident became attributed to this area.
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Other tales tell us though that the ‘Screaming Bridge’ name came from one of several possible other events. Stories such as an arguing couple crossing the bridge, when a woman was pushed, or fell, to her death. Or of another couple breaking down at the bridge, and the boyfriend left his girlfriend behind to go get help. When he later returned, she was found hanging by her neck from the bridge. Yet another tells of a distrought mother throwing her newborn baby from the bridge, so the screams you hear are of her misery and horror of what she did.
While these are all stories told of any number of bridges around the world, there’s more. Reports of phantom trains or engineers on the tracks below. Orbs seen floating along beneath the bridge, along with supposed Satanic rituals taking place below as well. Still other variations of the tales say that if you stop on the bridge, and flash your headlights 3 times, some form of ghostly activity will occur. I wouldn’t recomend trying though, the bridge turns sharply at either end, making it impossible for oncoming traffic to see you until they are right on you!
A 1909 accident killed two engineers and injured 3 others aboard a train on October 24th. One of the engineers killed was off duty, hitching a ride back home to Middletown when the steam locamotive exploded. It had been fully loaded with water when it left Ivorydale in Cincinnati, but after about 11 miles out, a leak had drained most of it, causing the explosion. That accident wasn’t the only tradgedy along that stretch of track. On June 7th. 1976, at the Princeton Road overpass in Liberty Township, a Penn Centeral employee was killed when two rails protruding from a southbound work train penetrated the cab of the Northbound locamotive he was on.
So while I can’t say no one had died here, in fact, i’m sure they have at some point in time, but all these tales surrouding the bridge seem to be just urban legend, or error. But who’s to say, after all, those phantom trains and engineers have to come from somewhere, maybe they are just passing by here on thier way to the other side!
Princeton & Millikin Road, Liberty Township, Ohio, 45011