Folk Beliefs
Legends

CryBaby Bridge

“I first heard this story in my senior year of high school. I took a class on ghost stories and we were required to research local haunted places… anyway, I ended up finding this story called the “Crybaby Bridge.” I read about this story online, but it’s apparently from Oklahoma. It’s this town in Oklahoma called Catoosa. Apparently in Catoosa, there is a collapsed, abandoned bridge that is said to be haunted.

The legend basically goes as follows: there was a young woman and her baby traveling in a horse drawn carriage across this bridge many many years ago. There was a thunderstorm and suddenly, the lightning scared the horse and it overturned the carriage, causing the baby and the mother to fall into the water below. The mother survived, but she could not find her baby. She could only hear the baby crying, but never found it. Basically, the woman haunts this bridge because she is looking for her baby. You can supposedly hear the baby crying if you’re near the bridge or crossing the bridge or whatever.

When you encounter the bridge, before you cross it, you’re supposed to turn your car off, get out of the car, and shout “we found your baby!” Then you quickly get back into the car. Supposedly, handprints will appear on the window because this woman is coming to get her baby from you. You’ll hear the baby cry.

It’s similar to a Bloody Mary kind of thing, I guess. Honestly it sounds pretty scary to me. I considered doing it with my friends because we were interested in this story. We were going to plan a trip and go find this bridge in Catoosa, but we totally chickened out.

While I was researching this, I found that basically every state has its own “crybaby bridge” story. In Oklahoma, there are seven different “crybaby bridge” stories all slight variations from one another. It seemed to be the most common among midwestern states and some southern states, but there’s a pretty similar story in so many states, leading me to think that this might not be true. I really think it’s just an urban legend.

I think they have this story to warn children not to do things: go on a collapsed bridge, play by the water by themselves, or mess around in places where they shouldn’t be.

I watched a video on YouTube of someone doing the “we found your baby” thing by the bridge and in the video handprints supposedly appeared. So maybe the story is true?

Honestly, I don’t really think it’s true because it’s such a common story across America. Stories like this are out there for a reason, you know? I don’t think there’s a horse drawn carriage because it just seems too old to be kept around. It just sounds very artificial. There are some modern versions of it where a car is driven off a bridge, which sound more realistic maybe because it’s modern and recent. I personally believe in ghosts, so the story is appealing for me to believe in, but I honestly don’t know if it’s true. Maybe one day I’ll have to try it and then I’ll know. Honestly, some things like this are better left alone. There’s some weird shit in Oklahoma.”

Collector’s thoughts:

I personally think this Oklahoman urban legend is extremely interesting. It really encapsulates many common ghost story themes. First of all, it is about a female ghost looking for her dead child, reminding me very much of the story of La Llorona. I think this is a common theme in horror stories: women and children. Also, I think that the fact there are different versions of this bridge story in so many states also makes me think of La Llorona.

It also really reminds me of Bloody Mary because there’s the same sort of ritualistic ghost summoning involved. I think all these different ghost stories are connected in some sort of way and they must be drawn from some sort of truth or some supernatural experience.

I ended up looking at the videos of the crybaby bridge on YouTube and they were terrifying and honestly pretty convincing. I wonder if at one of these bridges the lady really does show up. It’s really interesting that this story comes from so many different states and towns. I wonder where the story started and I wonder why so many different states have this story. It would be extremely interesting to trace this story and see where it originated and which abandoned bridge it actually came from. I personally had never heard this story before, leading me to think that it came from the south or the Midwest. I also think in history many bridges are considered haunted. If you think about it, bridges are pretty liminal places because they are suspended in midair. I think there is a history of haunted bridges in America, which is probably where this story originally came from.

 

 

 

 

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