Exploring The Legend Of Gibbs Bridge

Tales of haunted bridges dot the landscape of Ohio legends. They’re commonly referred to as “crybaby bridges” and are said to terrorize any who should wander across them in the dark of night.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Tucked away on the western edge of Lucas County is a small, lonely bridge on Gibbs Road. Crossing the muddied expanse of Ten-Mile Creek, this bridge has entered northwest Ohio folklore as a place where the dead cannot find peace.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

I arrived there on a Saturday morning in October, shortly before 10:00am, and I was immediately impressed by how quiet and peaceful the area seemed to be. I only bother to mention it because I noticed it. Does that make any sense?

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

The tranquility of the place was such that I couldn’t help but notice it, sense it, stand in awe of it. I don’t know if it was the scenic view of the creek from either side of the bridge or the awareness that I was standing in a place believed by many to be haunted, but I was struck with the notion that this place was somehow special.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Or maybe I just have a thing for bridges.

According to legend, this one-lane, narrow bridge was the site of a deadly auto accident. (Seeing as how it was built in 1923, it has most likely seen its fair share of accidents.)

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

The stories never say how many died, but, based on the kinds of phenomena claimed to be experienced here, I would gather at least one adult and several children lost their lives on or in the area of this bridge. There are even rumors that more than one person has used this bridge to commit suicide.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Visitors to this bridge have reported experiencing car failure, hearing the laughter and/or crying of children, and even being chased from the bridge by dark, shadowy figures.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

There are also some claims that the spirits of Gibbs Bridge cam be summoned simply by parking near the bridge and honking your horn three times and flashing your headlights three times. Even though some have claimed this odd ritual is effective at commanding the spirits to appear, I remain skeptical. When I first heard about this portion of the legend it immediately reminded me of another infamous haunted bridge.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Elmore, Ohio is home to a bridge that’s said to be haunted by a phantom motorcyclist who was decapitated in a horrific accident. This spirit, too, is summoned by honking your horn three times and flashing your headlights three times. So when I first heard the similarities between the two bridges, I immediately suspected that somewhere along the way, in all the tellings and re-tellings, someone got the legends mixed up a little. But, who knows? Perhaps it’s a common theme among all haunted bridges.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

One thing is certain: Gibbs Bridge is definitely “haunted” on a fairly regular basis – by people.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

As can be seen from all the graffiti, Gibbs Bridge is haunted frequently by bored teenagers who enjoy performing burn-outs and fine-tuning their artistic talents with spray paint.

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Credit: Christopher Tillman (c) October 2015

Is Gibbs Bridge truly haunted? Is it truly a place where the living can encounter the souls of the dead? I don’t know, but I hope to find out on future investigations!

Credit: Google Maps

Credit: Google Maps


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Christopher Tillman

Author | Filmmaker | Speaker Christopher Tillman has been actively exploring claims of the paranormal since 1993. He currently resides in Toledo, Ohio.

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