It's one of the most durable and far-reaching urban legends around, on par with haunted houses and Bigfoot. Just about every state has a variation of the Cry Baby Bridge (also known as Crybaby or Screaming Bridge), where it is alleged that if you cross or park on a particular bridge at a particular date or time of day, you can hear the sound of a baby, a small child, or even a woman crying. But what are some of the backstories fueling this phenomenon? Much like the legend itself, the origins of the Cry Baby Bridge vary from region to region. Here are a few of the most compelling narratives, from infants being drowned in the river to rowdy teens careening off a bridge to possible connections to the Goatman of Maryland.
What's your favorite Crybaby Bridge backstory? Take a look at all the creepy and eerie tales below.
Beaver Dam Road - Beltsville, MA
It's difficult to tell whether or not the infamous Goatman of Maryland - a mysterious cryptozoological beast purported to be either an experiment gone terribly awry or an old hermit who merely looks like a goat - has anything to do with the screams heard at the Beaver Dam Road Bridge, or if, like the supposed involvement of the Melon Heads at the Wisner Bridge in Ohio, these are just two urban legends that happen to be tied to the same location.
According to Cryptopia, the Beaver Dam Bridge is the Goatman's preferred hangout spot, not the Governor's Bridge Road in Bowie, MA, or the Lottsford Vista Road, where it is claimed by Matthew Lake, Mark Moran, and Mark Sceurman (in the book Weird Maryland: Your Travel Guide to Maryland's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets) that the appearance of the Goatman and the crying babies are tied to Satanic rituals reportedly occurring in the area. If Beaver Dam Road is truly the place where the Goatman lives, could the wailing infants there also be sacrifices associated with Satan and/or the Goatman? We may never truly know.
US 67-N - Monmouth, IL
There are numerous origin stories for this Cry Baby Bridge, located on a rural dirt road off US 67-N, about three miles north of Monmouth. Virginia Lamkin, writing on the blog Seeks Ghosts, details several of these, including a "classic" narrative involving an unwed woman who threw her week-old baby over the side of the bridge to avoid scandal in the community. "Ever since this tragic event," Lamkin writes, "locals who pass the bridge state they have heard a 'spine-tingling' cry that sounds like a baby struggling for breathe [sic]."
Another legend surrounding this bridge involves a group of teenagers hitting a fisherman while he cast his line over the railing, causing his spirit to roam the surrounding area (though this sounds a little bit like the plot of I Know What You Did Last Summer).
- Video: YouTube
Maud Hughes Road Bridge - Liberty Township, OH
Located in Liberty Township, OH, the Maud Hughes Road bridge is rumored to be haunted by numerous entities.
As far as the crybaby aspect, it is said that a man and a woman parked on the bridge while having an argument. The woman had to jump out of the way of an oncoming car and accidentally fell over the railing. According to Forgotten Ohio, "if you sit still on the bridge, you can hear the dialogue from [the couple's] last fight," followed by the blood-curdling scream of the woman plummeting to her doom.
- Video: YouTube
Wisner Road Bridge - Chardon Township, OH
Another from Ohio, this Crybaby Bridge is located on Wisner Road in Kirtland. The bridge has been linked to another upper-Midwest urban legend, the Melon Heads, who like every bit of folklore, have a slightly different origin depending on the region, but are generally recognized as "small humanoids with bulbous heads, who occasionally emerge from hiding places to [hurt] people."
The legend here holds that the screams of the children heard on the bridge are "the poor Melon Head children, who were burned alive in an orphanage fire near this bridge."