Cindy is a paranormal enthusiast and author of over twenty books on the subject of true supernatural phenomena.
And Here I'll Stay
In the vast majority of cases, when a person's mortal clock winds down, they accept that their journey on Earth has come full circle and willingly depart the land of the living. That is not, however, what happened to a young New England woman whose restless spirit's need for vengeance was so great that it kept her bound to this world, where she is said to still remain.
Gone In An Instant
Stowe, Vermont is a quaint little town that boasts around two hundred residents at any given time. In addition to being a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, it also happens to be home to the ghost of a forlorn lover who refuses, even in death, to suffer alone.
The girl, who is known only as Emily, has been a fixture in the region since the 1930s. Her stomping ground is a fifty-foot bridge that spans a small stream that flows below. Officially named the "Gold Brook Covered Bridge," the pinewood structure was built in 1844 and is one of the oldest of its kind in the state.
Although the precise dates vary depending upon the source, it is widely believed that Emily's road to destruction began in the 1920s when she fell in love with a local boy while still in her teens. Things hit an unexpected snag when her parents found out about the relationship and forbade her from having anything to do with her young beau.
Thinking that the matter had been resolved, the adults put the episode behind them. The same could not be said for the star-crossed lovers who refused to be parted. When the boy's family got wind of the affair, they vowed to put an end to it by whatever means necessary.
Despite their parents' disapproval, the couple continued to meet clandestinely whenever possible. After growing tired of having only a few stolen moments here and there, they decided to run off and get married. With both of them in agreement, they made plans to meet at the covered bridge on Gold Brook Road one night after everyone else had gone to bed.
Emily, suitcase in hand, arrived first and waited patiently for her betrothed to join her. After pacing around in the dark for what seemed like an eternity, she began to worry that something had gone wrong. It was only when the sun began to break on the horizon that she allowed herself to accept the harsh reality that she had been stood up. Heartbroken at the betrayal, the distraught teenager had taken her own life.
This version of events would make the rounds for decades before a group of amateur sleuths who visited the site claimed that, with the help of a Ouija board, they had contacted an entity that identified itself as Emily. When they inquired if she would be willing to walk them through what happened on the night she died, the spirit seemed eager to oblige. While the bones of the story she had to tell remained the same, the ending had a twist that no one saw coming.
A Sinister Presence Appears on the Scene
Emily, or something professing to be her, communicated to the group that it was true that she and her boyfriend had made arrangements to meet on the bridge and that he had been a no-show. She had not, however, been the only one present that night. When she got there expecting to see her beloved, she found his mother waiting for her instead.
A confrontation quickly ensued between the petite schoolgirl and the enraged mama bear who was convinced that the teenage vixen would be her son's undoing. Rather than sitting idly by while he threw his life away, she had made the split-second decision to nip the problem in the bud. Unfortunately for Emily, she was the problem.
After doing what she felt had to be done, the boy's mother had fetched some rope and hanged Emily's body from the rafters to cover-up her crime. After staging the phony suicide, she had returned home with a clear conscience, secure in the belief that the deed had to be carried out in order to save her only son from ruin.
Though it's hard to say which account—if either—comes closest to the truth, the end result remains the same. Regardless of how she got there, it's common knowledge in the area that the bridge is haunted by a female spirit believed to be that of the doomed Emily.
That Which Lurks Inside
In the decades since Emily met her demise, motorists have complained that something scratches the paint off their cars as they drive through the Gold Brook Covered Bridge. In most instances, nothing out of the ordinary is seen or heard at the time that the vandalism takes place. It's only later on, when they notice the deliberate marks running the length of their vehicles, that they realize that something destructive had been hiding in the shadows.
It should be noted that there are no objects or protrusions inside the structure that could account for the scrapes, which usually appear in groupings of three. Besides which, there are no records of the phenomena having been reported prior to the young girl's death.
On the rare occasions in which the culprit has allowed herself to be seen, she appears as a misty vision in white whose presence is not at all pleasant. Far from the angelic figure she had been in life, this Emily has been described as a fearsome entity without an ounce of compassion for those who make the mistake of entering her domain after sundown.
Scratch marks resembling those made overgrown fingernails aren't the only strange happenings to plague the area. Disembodied voices and piercing screams are said to echo in the night air in the vicinity of the brook. Even worse, the eerie creaking of a body swinging from the rafters has been known to greet those who pass through the bridge on foot.
Needless to say, those who encounter this grim reminder of Emily's final moments don't stay around long enough to see what happens next. Even so, things don't always end there. More than a few of these luckless pedestrians have reported that they felt a burning sensation on their backs as they were hurrying toward the exit. When they lifted their shirts to see what was wrong, they discovered that the skin was covered in angry welts.
As accounts of run-ins with the foul-tempered specter became more widespread, local historians tried in vain to locate Emily's death records. While the lack of tangible proof cast doubt on the story, it didn't negate it altogether. With no last name to go on and a questionable cause of death, they had their work cut out for them. Not to mention that, given the time period, it's possible that the scandalous episode had been swept under the rug to protect the good names of the families involved.
In an attempt to put the matter to rest once and for all, a longtime resident came forward to say that she had made the whole thing up in the 1970s as a prank. At the time, supernatural tales were all the rage and she figured that the spooky anecdote would scare local teenagers enough to keep them out of trouble.
Be that as it may, not everyone is convinced that her claims are entirely accurate. Some members of the community have asserted online that stories about the haunted bridge have been around since the 1950s and 60s.
In any case, Emily's activities continue unabated. In recent years, a couple who had driven across the bridge shared that they made it through without incident only to wind up right back at the entrance a few moments later, even though the road didn't allow for such a maneuver. Thoroughly flummoxed by the bizarre turn of events, they couldn't figure out how they managed to get turned around while driving straight ahead.
On another occasion, a group of ghost hunters took several pictures inside the covered bridge, one of which shows a wispy, nondescript form floating overhead in the darkness. The nature of this apparition is open to interpretation, but some who have viewed the photo say that it bears a chilling resemblance to a body suspended from the rafters.
The bridge's resident spirit is said to be most active between the hours of midnight and 3:00 AM. Knowing this, curiosity seekers hoping for a personal encounter with an entity that prefers to let her fingernails do the talking, flock to the site every chance they get. While their interest is somewhat understandable, it has nonetheless become a headache for locals whose sleep is constantly being disrupted by Emily's legion of admirers.
While the town of Stowe does its best to keep the uproar to a minimum, the public's infatuation with the teenager who may, or may not, have met her fate on the bridge shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, her story has become so ingrained in local lore that the place where her life came to an end, and to which she is eternally bound, has been nicknamed "Emily's Bridge" in homage to the girl, and the ghost, who made it famous.
·stowecountryhomes.com, vermonter.com, stowereporter.com, reddit.com, onlyinyourstate.com (Kristin Grimes)