Three Haunted Roads in Nebraska
Three Haunted Places in Nebraska Series
Smitty’s Curve – Geneva
Down Road R near Geneva is a stretch of gravel road with two bridges where a man lost his life one winter night. According to legend a man named Smitty decided to take his new car out for a drive one winter night in order to see how fast he could maneuver through the empty country roads. Riding along and hitting top speed, Smitty came around a curve without enough time to see a bridge. After hitting the side railing, the car descended down, crashing into the creek below. Even after such a traumatic and incredible event, Smitty still managed to free himself of the car and crawled out of the creek and up to the bridge. After searching around, he found a barn and went inside. Either from injuries from the crash or by succumbing to the frigid temperatures as he waited for help, Smitty died and was found in the barn the next day. Lore states that Smitty never left the barn or the area near the bridge where he crashed. Today, visitors of the area report hearing disembodied screams and groans at night. If you park on the second bridge on road and honk your horn three times, flash your headlights twice, and then get out of the car and close the door Smitty will lock them causing the curious visitor to be stranded. Others have reported engine issues when parking on the bridge. On occasion the ghostly apparition of a man can be seen. People who see Smitty’s ghost and try to help him only get the chance to see him disappear before reaching him.
Another legend associated with the area is much different that the sudden death of Smitty. Some locals believe a young boy hung himself in a barn near the road. Whether or not this is the same barn where Smitty died is unknown, however, the boy's spirit is said to haunt the area, perhaps looking for what he could not find in life.
The moral of the story is to slow down, be careful, and pay close attention to bridges around curves.
Nine Bridges Road – “Witches Bridge” – Grand Island
According to legend a recluse woman lived in a house at one end of the road bridge on Nine Bridges Road in Grand Island, Nebraska. Gossip among locals deemed her a witch who practiced witchcraft and devil worship with other neighbors nearby. Taking justice into their own hands, the townspeople tied her to a stake and set her house on fire. The fire eventually took her along with it, burning her alive. Since her death, the bridge has been known as “Witches Bridge” and seems in many ways to be cursed by the woman who was murdered there several years ago.
Years later on the road bridge a terrible accident occurred. One winter day, railroad workers attempted to rid the tracks of ice that had formed on the rail bridge not far from the road bridge. The project attracted locals to come and watch dynamite explosions from the road bridge as the workers took care of the ice. Sudden strong blasts sent a shockwave through the countryside, shaking the adjacent road bridge occupied by the onlookers. The vibration caused a woman holding her baby to stumble and drop her baby over the side of the bridge to the river water below. The frigid water swiftly took the baby downstream. Workers and townspeople searched for several days for the child, but the infant was never found. Through enormous grief, the mother continued to search alone for several more days, but still was never able to bring her baby home to be buried properly.
Today, car malfunctions are common on the bridge. Engines will stall or cars will simply not start. When the car suddenly shuts off the sound of the faint cries of a woman can be heard sobbing and crying out for her child. Other reports include leaving the car to look over the side of the bridge to the water below. When doing this, people have reported feeling as if they are being pulled down by an unknown grasp, most likely that of the witch who was burned near the end of the bridge. Fatal car accidents are also a common occurrence associated with the bridge.
The area where the “witches” house once stood is also known to be haunted. An abandoned house nearby is said to be haunted as well. People report seeing a rocking chair on the porch move on windless nights along with being chased by an entity.
20th and Washington – Lincoln
According to legend, a cold spot can be felt on the southeast corner of 20th and Washington in Lincoln, Nebraska. All of the other corners seem to be much warmer, causing people to believe a spirit lingers there because of a tragic event that occurred at the turn of the twentieth century. The ghost story involves two iterations. The first story tells of a young man walking down the street on a winter evening. As he approaches the intersection of 20th and Washington a car comes speeding down the road from behind him. As the car approaches it skids to a stop right next to the man. Suddenly, two shots are fired from inside the car at the young man before the car speeds off. Neighbors hear the gunshots and find the man clinging to life on the street corner. He attempts to say something, but no one can understand what he tries to say. In one final attempt to provide a message, the man begins to write something in his blood on the sidewalk, but dies before anyone can decipher the message.
The second version of the story involves a young boy playing near the intersection. The second story is similar in regard to the fact that a car also drives by to kill the child and he also attempts to write a message in his own blood.
Whether or not the ghost is that of a child or a young man, the cold spot on the corner remains a fixture to passersby who make their way through the historic Lincoln neighborhood.
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