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The Ghosts of Enoch’s Bridge

Enoch's Bridge
Enoch’s Bridge

A lonely, lost, red-haired little girl is one of the ghosts said to haunt the bridge which was demolished earlier this year. Or you might see one of the young men who hung themselves from the bridge or leaped to their doom over lost love.

Enoch’s Bridge was a typical Parker through truss bridge with pin connections, A-frame portal bracing, with a length of 185 feet.

The bridge was part of a remote setting on a gravel road many miles from a highway or town in a thick forest surrounding Boeuf Creek. It’s special feature was the was the construction in 1908 by the Missouri Bridge and Iron Company of St. Louis. It sported two side trusses of iron plates and bars riveted together forming triangular and rectangular sections. This webbing was connected at the top and bottom and carried the weight of vehicles passing between the trusses. Tracks ran along the length of the wooden deck, and burn marks were noticeable in the wood. The bridge ran parallel to State Highway 100, and the railroad gives the illusion of being in the middle of nowhere.

Often called, Enoch’s Knob Bridge, it perched below the highest point in Franklin County, Southeast of New Haven and between Washington and Union, Missouri, Enoch’s Bridge was thought to exist within a vortex and carried with it tales of demon dogs with green glowing eyes, ghost dogs, evil spirits, ghosts of dead teenagers, shadow people and monsters in the woods, much in the manner of so many other haunted bridges. Indeed, bridges seem to scare people as much, if not more, than cemeteries. Over the years, these hulking ancients develop lives of their own, born from the whispers brought back into town by teens who party late at night on the dark country roads. Events happen near these steel monsters that often shape a young person’s future—or destroy it.

In the late 1890’s a man and his child fell into the river from a crossing ford just upstream while trying to cross during high water, their wagon went down and the bodies discovered days later downstream. They were buried were found according to a newspaper report of the day, the location was near the site where the bridge would later be built.

Another tragedy at the location is the case of a young man who went with his buddies to the bridge to take part in the local coming-of-age ritual that youth have always promoted to prove their bravery. The trick here was to climb the webbing of the bridge to the very top: a group of young people went to the bridge to perform this act of bravado. Deciding to take a quick trip back into town the group one young man behind to wait for them. Instead, he shimmied up the trusses alone slipped, and plummeted into the creek thirty to forty feet below.

Of course there are more twists to the story; more variations to be told of the young man’s death: one says the group left to help someone whose car was stuck. The twenty-three-year-old man, named Patrick, stayed behind. He was recovering from a broken hip, and for reasons unknown, he climbed the trusses. His body was found sometime later that night, and he was pronounced dead from his fall onto the rocks. An accidental death so it was thought, but his spirit haunts the bridge to this day.

Or this rendition; Patrick was attending a party at the bridge, witnesses saw him climb, but no one saw his fall. His body was discovered lying broken on the jagged rocks below, he now assumes the form of a dog when he appears to haunt the bridge.

Red eyes glow from the surrounding woods since Patrick Kinnison’s death from witness accounts ( however, animals’ eyes will glow when illuminated by light, are the glowing eyes paranormal or a trick of an active imagination?)

Patrick may have been taking pain medication after the surgery on his hip. He loved climbing, even as a child. Reports say the hip injury was from a fall while climbing. The night he fell off Enoch’s Bridge, he was medicated and under the influence of alcohol.

Another death at the bridge was that of forty-one-year-old Stephen Cooksey, who was killed on May 9, 2005, in a drug transaction that went wrong. He was shot multiple times with a .22 yet dragged himself beneath his car for safety. His car was set on fire with Cooksey beneath.

Often, empty beer containers are found in the vicinity. This influence may be a leading cause of the many reports of paranormal activity on the bridge.

A full moon on Friday the Thirteenth brings out strange creatures to climb the trees and specters of dogs chasing those on or near the bridge, disappearing as suddenly as they appear. Signs on the bridge are torn down (pranksters or ghosts?).

Mists are seen and photographed, along with dark masses and apparitions. Cars stalled on the bridge when it was open to traffic. A rumor of a phantom building accompanies the haunting around the bridge. The building burned to the ground but can often be seen restored.

A small child is also said to have fallen through the bridge; this is unproven, but there is a large metal plate bolted to the deck. Screams of women and children are reported in the woods. But we must remember, wild animals, as well as domestic ones, roam the area. Coyotes and owls can make cries that may sound like a child’s cry or a human scream and these could lead a willing mind to believe they’ve heard the cries of a banshee or ghostly child.

The bridge was declared structurally deficient, traffic blocked from crossing, and it was slated for demolition. To date I have only been to this location once and fortunately I had the chance to investigate the bridge before it was torn down. When I was there large concrete bunkers guarded each end of the bridge and only foot traffic could access it; holes had been haphazardly patched with planks, graffiti was painted everywhere and looky-loos were parked at the edge hoping to be frighted by the beasts of the woods. Tracks ran along the length of the wooden deck, and burn marks were noticeable in the wood.

I was at Enoch’s Bridge in October 2010 with my (at that time) team Route 66 Paranormal Alliance (I have since formed the ParaNatural Research Association), Mike Greeley, Robin Williams and Cheryl Missey. We stood on the bridge and experienced a sense of vertigo, also reported by others when in the middle of the bridge. Was this truly paranormal or a fun house effect brought on by the darkness, the rushing water below and the wind blowing between the trusses?

Mike Greeley, Rt. 66 member Ali and I walked into the woods alongside Beouf Creek, following a beaten-down path. Mike paused at a certain spot and asked us if we “picked up” on anything there. I was facing back the way we came, taking photos of the area. I let my senses open, tuning into the energy of the area.

I felt as if the place was significant; a shudder passed through me with the sensation of a brutal death happening here. I was automatically drawn to my right, back towards the water as if my “other sight” was watching a scene unfold, I pointed to a spot by a tree with brambles twisting behind it, blocking the creek from view.

“This is where it happened,” Mike said. “Right there,” he confirmed the place where I felt the pull, “is the spot the burned car was found.”

Mike gave me the following account of one night he was filming at the bridge:

If there is one location in the Missouri Ozarks that is synonyms with paranormal activity, it’s Enoch’s Knob Bridge. Built around 1908, this truss bridge is one of the most visited bridges in the Midwest by ghost hunters. It’s located on Enoch’s Knob Road, which is about six miles west of Washington, Missouri. It’s a favorite hangout among the local teenagers and would-be ghost hunters. There are stories about a three-legged dog suddenly appearing after a ritual is performed, which includes parking one’s vehicle in the middle of the bridge, shutting off the motor and lights. One is to honk their horn three times, flash their headlights three times and start the motor. Once you turn the headlights on a final time, a three-legged dog is to appear. I have witnessed this ritual done over a dozen times in three years and have failed to observe a three-legged dog—although the suspense is exciting to watch. Everyone seems to get a laugh out of the ritual; however, I spoke to a local, who says a three-legged dog did appear for him, but he felt it was coincidental, and it didn’t look like a ghost.

I recall the first time I was at the bridge and my baseball cap was lifted off my head. Seconds later, a full-body apparition, witnessed by many, was observed running from where I was standing toward the opposite end of the bridge, when it dissipated into thin air. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera recording for this experience. The fact that several people saw it validates my story.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed people getting shoved, slapped, hearing voices, foul odors (which smelled like a decaying body), shadow figures, vehicle dome lights turning on, to name a few, but there is one incident I will never forget.

On August 7, 2010, after finishing up a previous investigation a little early in nearby Washington, I decided to accompany a group of investigators to the bridge. About thirty minutes into the investigation, an investigator, who was making her first visit, and I began to lose our balance. It was like I had just gotten off a merry-go-round. I remained alert but had little control over my body. The female investigator experienced the same effect; however, the remaining two investigators did not experience the disorienting feeling.

The experience was felt only after we stepped off the bridge and onto the gravel roadway. The two of us returned to the bridge, and the disorienting feeling subsided almost immediately. We walked from one end of the bridge to the other; however, when we decided to leave, the feeling came back, but this time it was stronger!

One of the investigators who wasn’t experiencing the effects decided to conduct an EVP session. She used a digital recorder, and while holding an EMF detector, she stood next to the female investigator and me. Immediately, she began to experience interference with the EMF detector as it began to flicker off and on. She began to question its reasoning, and it was then that I began hearing a hum, and then a loud burst of energy exploded at our feet! It was powerful enough to shake the entire bridge. It was like a bomb or cannon.

I have a recording of the incident, and it’s totally an anomaly of massive proportions! On the recording, you can hear the bridge reverberate as everyone was taken aback by the experience. It was like time stopped! Everyone was taken aback by the experience. I wanted to leave. It’s my belief, when one experiences such a traumatic event, there may be something much worse coming.

My hunch was correct. My experience didn’t end at the bridge. The other investigator and I suffered weeks of severe depression, fatigue and illness. In addition, I experienced much worse, but refused to talk in depth about it. It’s disturbing and I don’t want to experience it again! What I experienced, I took home to my family, and it didn’t only affect me but it affected them too.

Although there are two confirmed deaths reported as happening at the bridge, one an accidental death and another a homicide, it is believed by many who investigate the site that there are more unrecorded deaths. Acting on a tip given to me, I did some research and found an article in the Franklin County Record, dating Thursday, July 17, 1879, which indicated a gentleman by the name of William Peters and his twelve-year-old son drowned at the site. Their bodies were discovered after a neighbor observed a wagon abandoned. A search was conducted, and the bodies were found in the rain-swollen creek. The paper states their bodies were immediately buried where they were found. The Franklin County Record also reports the “creek has again offered a sensation and a horror by engulfing two more unwary victims in its murky depths.”

This statement leads me to believe there were more deaths reported at this site.

On August 17, 2010, Enoch’s Knob Bridge was deemed unsafe and was subsequently shut down. The Franklin County Commission decided to tear it down and relocate a new bridge in a different location. Enoch’s Knob was once known as Steiner’s Ford Bridge.

Mike says he has filmed at Enoch’s Knob Bridge over a dozen times in the past three years. He says it’s one of his favorite sites because he and the groups he escorted usually experienced some sort of anomaly. Other people have had similar experiences, author Dan Terry wrote about the bridge in his book Beyond the Shadows.

My own stories concerning Enoch’s Bridge are in my book Haunted Ozarks.

As of January 2013 the bridge no longer exists, however the spot is still reported to be highly active as the spirits call this location “home”.

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