The Stories of Seven of America’s Most Haunted Bridges

Cross over to the other side.

As a nation, we're collectively obsessed with haunted bridges.

Though the most famous may be New York's Brooklyn Bridge and San Francisco's Golden Gate, almost every state in America has dozens of haunted bridges. Why do these modes of transportation lurk in so many of our minds? Perhaps it's because bridges often carry us over bodies of water or across great heights, meaning that we have to put our survival in their hands as we ride over them. Although we know consciously that they'll keep us elevated, maybe we can't help but think of what might happen if the boards break and we go crashing into the river below, or if we were to slip and drive over the edge.

Also, bridges are shadow-cloaked and easy places to hide, and so they've often been used as locations for murders or other illicit activities. They're wooden and concrete spectators to hangings, deaths, suicides, and escapes, and are often coated with graffiti and neglect. They're places where the boundary between the human world and the natural one grows thin, and maybe because of this, we can't help but suspect that the boundary between the realm of the living and the dead might grow thin around them too. The old trope of the imp, troll, or ghoul lurking under the bridge might relate to this, as do many of the upcoming legends, which may or may not be grounded in truth—but which certainly reveal truths about our inner paranoias and deepest fears.

1. Bunny Man Bridge, Fairfax Station, Virginia

Atlas Obscura

This Virginia bridge is shrouded in urban legends, but they all actually stem from a true story. According to a Washington Post report, on October 18, 1970, a couple was sitting in a car near the Colchester Overpass when a man wearing a bunny suit and brandishing a hatchet ran out and threw his weapon into their car window. A week later, a private security guard spotted a man on the porch of a house near the bridge, still clad in the bunny suit. When the guard approached him, the man said, "All you people trespass around here. If you don't get out of here, I'm going to bust you on the head."

The hatchet-wielder was never found, but his threats spawned a multitude of disturbing legends. According to one, the bunny man was an escapee from a nearby lunatic asylum who hid out in the woods and left a trail of gutted bunnies in his wake until one Halloween night, some teenagers ventured out into the forest—and were found gutted just like the bunnies.

2. Goatman's Bridge, Denton, Texas

Texas Hill Country

The story of Goatman's Bridge begins with an African American entrepreneur named Oscar Washburn, living in the 1930s in Denton, Texas. Washburn became a successful goat farmer and was soon known around town as the "Goatman." When he hung a sign on the nearby bridge that read "This Way to the Goatman," it provoked local Klan members, who stormed Washburn's shack and hanged him on the bridge on one dark night. But when they looked over the bridge, according to legend, Washburn was nowhere to be seen, and the noose was empty. This made the Klansmen even more angry, and they went on to set fire to Washburn's shack, killing his wife and children.

Naturally, the Goatman's bridge is still viewed as haunted by many locals and folklore-lovers. Travelers have reportedly spotted glowing eyes peering through the trees and have caught glimpses of Satyrs and goatlike beasts. Another legend says that before Washburn, another African American man named Jack Kendall was lynched near the bridge and still haunts it today.

Some legends say that the Goatman and his ghostly coterie only spirit away people with the blood of slaveowners or Klansmen in their veins. The bridge (and the legends that surround it) is a reminder that the atrocities of the past cannot be cleansed away with time. "If history is the self-congratulatory narrative of a community written by its victorious elite, then our ghosts will often problematize and haunt such tidy romanticisms of back in the day," writes Shaun Treat of why these kinds of legends and ghosts persist in our minds. Even if there are no real ghosts, America is certainly a deeply haunted land.

3. Sachs Covered Bridge, Pennsylvania

Wikipedia

This legendary scarlet bridge was built in Pennsylvania before the Civil War, but according to legend, three confederate soldiers were hanged there after deserting the troops during the Battle of Gettysburg. Since then, passersby have recorded cannonball sounds, ambient screams, mysterious fogs rolling through the bridge, and even full-on ghosts dressed in traditional military uniforms. Clearly, the ravages of war can live on long after a peace treaty has been signed, burrowing into DNA and passing along threads of trauma far into the future.

4. Emily's Bridge, Stowe, Vermont

Emily's Bridge

Vermont's Gold Brook Bridge is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a girl named Emily. There are a lot of different legends about how she might've died, most involving some kind of love affair gone wrong. According to one, Emily was supposed to meet her lover on the bridge, but when he failed to appear, she hung herself from the rafters. Another one says that Emily was supposed to marry her groom, but when he didn't arrive at the wedding, she took her family's wagon out to find him. She whipped the horses into such a frenzy that when the time came to make the turn onto the bridge, she failed to do so and the wagon went crashing into the stony river below.

Actually, there aren't any official records of Emily's existence. The legend first officially appeared in the late 1960s, in a story by a high school student who said he'd summoned a ghost named Emily while using an Ouija board on the bridge. Since then, visitors to the bridge have reported contacting a girl named Emily, hearing screams, seeing a girl dressed in white, and hearing the sounds of dragging or splintering.

5. Hell's Bridge, Kent County, Michigan

maps.roadtrippers.com

The star of this eerie fable, Elias Friske, isn't real—but he's such a chilling bogeyman that he may just haunt your dreams anyway.

In the mid-19th century, a bunch of children went missing around Kent County, Michigan, and townspeople requested advice from an elderly man named Elias Friske. The old man told them that the abductions were the work of demons. Later that day, the townspeople left their children in Friske's care while they went to search the woods. When they returned, the townspeople discovered that Friske had killed their children and left their bodies in a nearby river underneath what is now known as Hell's Bridge. He told them that demons made him do it.

Today, visitors to Hell's Bridge report all manner of paranormal activity, from strange orb sightings to floating nooses.

6. Seven Gates of Hell, Collinsville, Illinois

Hunters of the Unknown

Apparently there's a portal to hell in Indiana, by way of Collinsville, Illinois. Legend has it that if you go cross the Seven Gates of Hell Bridge at night, you'll pass through (you guessed it) seven gates, and then you'll reach the door to Hell, where you'll be pursued by hellhounds. Legends say that the bridge is haunted by spirits of devil worshippers who used to use the bridge for their rites.

Though the legend about Indiana's Seven Gates of Hell Bridge doesn't have much basis in fact, there are dozens of bridges across the country that are said to be portals to the fiery realm of the damned. California's Bridge to Nowhere in Azusa is supposed to be a portal to Hell, and New York's Hell Gate is a famously haunted bridge.

7. First St. Railroad Bridge, Marysville, California

If you cross this bridge, be sure that you have a rosary or protective talisman with you. If not, according to legend (and to the advice of some local psychics and tarot readers), the bridge is populated by shadow people who will try to pull you away into the demon realm. Eerily, these shadow people are the ghosts of those who were spirited away before. So be careful, unless you want to spend your afterlife abducting travelers forevermore.

According to one urban legend, a husband and wife were walking unprotected across the bridge when the husband was pulled forcefully away, and he started screaming that the devil had a hold of him. He was able to escape...but he still has the scars.

Once you start looking for it, you'll realize that according to our myths and legends, America is literally riddled with portals to other dimensions.

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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.


Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).


Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!

Travel

So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—Workaway.info.

Workaway Workaway


Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).

Workaway WoIsango.com

You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway


Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker