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The Colville Covered Bridge in Bourbon County has been a scenic spot since 1877, a photographer’s delight. But legend doesn’t always paint a pretty picture. There are stories surrounding the bridge that fill many people with dread. Its remote location gives it an eerie ambiance on a cool October night.
A group known as the Bluegrass Ghost Chasers recently went there to investigate the tales that there are spirits trapped in the timbers.
Lead Investigator Larry Conley said “With any folklore, there’s just always some truth behind them, so you just never know.”
They arrived with all kinds of ghost-hunting gear.– voice recorders, meters that measure electromagnetic fields and temperature changes, even a teddy bear equipped with a voicebox that supposedly responds to invisible touches.
This might seem like scary business to some people, but these investigators have no fear– just a desire to have a ghostly encounter.
“You go doing it knowing what could happen,” Conley said. “Sometimes you may get startled, but it’s not scary.” He said if you get scared trying to help trapped spirits, you might want to try doing something else.
At least three mysteries are tied to the bridge. Supposedly, in the early 1900s, a man hanged himself in the middle of the bridge. And from the 1930s, there’s a story of a young couple who came down the road after a dance. The car was going too fast, missed the bridge and plunged into Hinkston Creek. Both of the young people drowned.
Another story centers on an elderly woman who was walking through the bridge , had a heart attack and didn’t come out alive.
Group members understand why some people are skeptical that spirits exist and many times, their role is to debunk ghost stories.
Investigator Marla Sabins said the air feels heavy to her when she’s at a haunted site. “I know there’s something here because I can feel it but it takes somebody’s who’s been doing this for a while to feel that.”
These days, people say they see strange shadows in the bridge, or sometimes lights suddenly shine up through the floorboards as if coming from headlights in the water below. Nothing that dramatic happened while the ghost chasers explored.
But when they played back their voice recorders, they said they heard an unfamiliar laugh.
And when they were at the end of the bridge farthest from the recorder, they picked up a whisper that seemed to say:
“No one can see me taking a few pictures.”
Legend has it that sometimes when you’re driving though the bridge at night you will see headlights in your rear view mirror. But they they disappear as if a phantom car has veered off into the water.
Whether you believe in such things or not, the bridge is a great place to experience the spirit of Halloween. You can get a thrill as you cross over the bridge and wonder if there are spirits who haven’t crossed over to the afterlife.
Spirit of the Bluegrass is sponsored by Regency Memory Care.
Original music for this story was produced by Brad Swafford.