Drawing Ghosts
Emily's Bridge
Mixed Media
8" x 10"
Private Collection

Although the name on the old covered bridge in Stowe, Vermont reads "Gold Brook Bridge," both locals and tourists know it by another name; this is Emily's Bridge, and it is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman who hung herself from its rafters over 140 years ago.

While there is virtually no information about Emily or who she may have been, the history of the Gold Brook Bridge itself is known. Built in 1844 by a man named John Smith, the bridge was originally used to transport horse-drawn carriages across the brook below. Although originally intended as a gesture of Smith's goodwill toward the three closest villages, not long after it was constructed, it became known for a different reason entirely.

According to the legend, Emily was the young daughter of a wealthy Stowe family, who fell in love with a poor young man. Her parents strongly disapproved, and forbade Emily from seeing him. One evening, their disagreement grew into a vicious argument, culminating with Emily severing ties with her parents, and fleeing their house. She headed straight to the Gold Brook Bridge, where she and her lover had planned to meet so that they could elope, starting a new life together.

Emily arrived at the bridge before her fiance. She waited there for hours, but he never appeared. Slowly, Emily began to realize that her young man was not going to come. She had destroyed her relationship with her parents and had left their home; now, without her fiance, she had nowhere to go, and nowhere to turn.

Ashamed and heartbroken, Emily tied a rope to the center beam of the old bridge, and hung herself. Her body was discovered the following day, and her grieving parents buried her nearby.

Ever since Emily's suicide, however, travelers on the bridge have reported a number of strange occurrences. People hear a woman's voice, and see lights that hover and disappear; others have witnessed shadowy figures moving inside the old bridge, or a woman's face peering out of the darkness. The most frightening tales, however, involve cars that mysteriously stop working while inside the bridge -- a number of unfortunate drivers have reported Emily's ghost approaching and violently shaking their vehicles. Others have turned to find her standing next to their cars, peering in at them through the car windows; additional accounts describe long, deep scratches in the sides of the cars that traveled through the bridge at night.

Whether they believe in the ghost or not, folklore claims that locals will not pass through Emily's bridge after sunset. Maybe this is because they simply chose another route -- or possibly, it is because wary of the spirit that continues to watch -- and wait -- for someone who is never going to come.
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