There is nothing like the month of October (or November!) for a scary story. I usually don’t buy into all the ghosts and hauntings, but I am intrigued by one spooky place – Ghost Bridge.
Apparently, I grew up only about 7 miles from one of Colorado’s biggest haunts and I didn’t even know it until recently. Unlike me, nearly every high school student from the Denver Metro area has heard about Ghost Bridge. Many come out at night to have parties there and look for a thrill.
Third Bridge, also known as Ghost Bridge, is located east of Aurora, Colorado on Smoky Hill Road (also called Road 50). The bridge is over Kiowa Creek on the Arapahoe and Elbert County line. It’s a nondescript, common bridge for the area. It’s located at the bottom of a hill and it can sneak up on you when you are coming from the west. The bridge is flanked by dirt roads on both sides and is surrounded by trees – trees that could look awful spooky in the middle of the night. There are also a few pump jacks nearby. Their odd drum-like sound could be frightening if you have never heard something like that before.
I’ve been across that bridges dozens or perhaps even 100s of times and I never knew that people have heard Indian drums there, seen strange fog come rolling in and have witnessed a ghost rider galloping across the bridge at night. Some teens have even claimed that they have heard girls laughing and playing there and have felt unseen hands trying to push them over the bridge.
According to legend, on June 11, 1864 the Huntgate Massacre occurred in the area. Nathan Huntgate, his wife Ellen, and daughters Laura, 3-years-old, and Florence, 4-months old, were scalped and killed by Indians. Today spirits from the massacre supposedly haunt the bridge.
Ghost Bridge has been the sight of numerous accidents including the deadly teen car crash in the summer of 1997. Two cars packed with alcohol, teens, and preteens (15 in all) sped down Road 50 that June, looking for a scare on the Ghost Bridge. The raced down the dirt road at nearly 70 mph instead of the suggested 25 mph. Both cars crashed on the bridge, killing 2 young girls, critically injuring a boy, and paralyzing one of the drivers.
A few months after the accident, road crews took 12 feet off of the hill on the west side of the bridge in an effort to make the area a bit safer.
Another story often shared about the bridge is the unsolved murder of Randy Wilson. Wilson was returning home from Bennett in June of 2010, but he never made it home. About a mile from Ghost Bridge his suffocated body and car were found.
A few years ago another teen accident connected to the bridge happened near Byers, Colorado. Though the crash wasn’t at Ghost Bridge, the teens in the car were from Aurora, out looking for the bridge. Obviously they needed better directions. They went at least 20 miles too far.
Last year, my parents were affected by the Ghost Bridge too. Some teen girls wrecked their car and crashed through my parents’ pasture fence when – you guessed it – they were out looking for the bridge.
I’ll admit that the stories about Ghost Bridge freak me out, but not for the reason you might think. The Indian massacre, spooky fog and horse riders don’t bother me a bit – it’s the thrill-seeking, first-time-driving-on-a-dirt-road, Ghost-Bridge-hunting teens from the city that really scare me.