The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,
and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.- -
H. P. Lovecraft
I had driven under that ancient bridge countless times, never stopping, as from the main road, there was no stopping place. The stories of it are legend among the small little burbs that jut out from Indianapolis like spokes on a wheel. It is famous enough that it's listed here, in Indianapolis Monthly’s list of “50 Things Every Hoosier Must Do.”
It's still a functional railroad crossing, servicing the CSX Railroad, but according to local legend, it is haunted, its form poured murmurous out of chaos, its span laying across the long tragic fury of time.
This is not the original span, built originally across the White Lick Creek in the 1850's by immigrant Irish workers. But according to a many of the locals, some who said they never believed the stories until they themselves heard or saw what could not be explained, the new bridge brought with it at least one old resident.
Evan as the work was completed and for years afterward, many claimed to have heard knocks and screams from inside the pylon. After the bridge was torn down and rebuilt, there continued to be sightings of a man wandering along the tracks trying to flag down trains. Could it be a homeless person, a drifter, or someone looking for a way station into nothingness perhaps?
His is not the only ghost said to frequent this place. There is another story of a young woman and her infant who plunged to their deaths – versions range from accident to suicide
But it is said, if you go near the bridge on such nights where the darkness descends with a rushing sigh, you will hear a moaning, discontented ghost, there lingering in an infinite twilight minute, long after life itself has extinguished.
And so today I went, to stand at the foot of that bridge, there away from the busy roadway it spans, there in the quiet of a forest. As I approached, some clouds rolled in, trailing last nights cold front like groupies, the sky losing its vivid blueness, taking on a grayish hue, like ancient cotton.
A pocket of warm air, a truck at idle likely, but I smiled in that eerie moment, even if created by focused imagination, as opposed to tragedy or death.
What is it about a ghost story that draws one in? Few people truly believe that headless ghosts haunt Celtic castles, that restless spirits chase the shadows in every abandoned old farmhouse. Most of us go through life, not observing what was not meant to be observed.
Yes modern man still feels that shadowed belief in spirits, haunting those places in which they were once so affected, when we ourselves scarcely separate ourselves from past lives and past longing, ever hovering over bygone times and all their emotions, in late night, darkened hours, lingering in the past places in which we were loved. Hoping in the dark misty hills of our hearts, we will remember and be remembered.
For despite our technology, we are still dreamers.