The REAL Crybaby Creek Bridge

I know you have heard this one. The one about the bridge where you go and hear the baby cry after you call out “Crybaby, crybaby!” Sure. It’s just around the corner. Well, here is the story about the real Crybaby Creek Bridge.

Just a note. Everywhere I look on the net I see this refered to as “Crybaby Bridge”. Maybe it’s just the local southern thing of having to make sure that you know the reason the bridge is there. We call it Crybaby Creek Bridge here. Perhaps it’s one of those things like having to call it “Wal-Marts” or K-Marts”. Of course my favorite is “Let’s go to the Wal-Marts!”

In the early 1940’s a young mother was on her way home on Hwy. 601 in the northern part of South Carolina, just south of Pageland. She was tired and it was late at night, all she wanted was to get her little one home and to get some much needed rest. Her husband had been away fighting the good fight for his country and would be arriving home the next day. It had been a long three years since she had seen him and she was very excited about holding him in her arms again. So excited that she took the bridge over Flat Creek a little to fast. The next thing she knew, she had been thrown from the car and was searching frantically for her baby whom she could hear crying in the dark. Search as she might she could not find him, and as she searched the crying got fainter and fainter until it stopped all together. As did her heart. It broke right there on the spot.

Now on the right night, you can go there and call to that lost little soul. Maybe he will call back to you. Maybe mommy will help you to find him……

I first heard of this place in Jr. High. A very spooky story for someone that is impressionable like we all were at that age. I on the other hand had this as one of my first pieces of the supernatural history of my state. So I started to check stuff like this out. Now I will admit to using this place to scaring a few girls. That’s a given. But I didn’t realize until the advent of the internet just how many of these there were.

The following is a portion of the Wikipedia entry on “Crybaby Bridge.”:

The Crybaby Bridge Phenomenon As Internet Hoax: One Case In Point In Maryland
A clear case can be made for the existence of at least one Crybaby Bridge story as being due to a selective, and almost overnight “seeding” of the Shadowlands Ghost Website in 1999. As Jesse Glass, author of Ghosts and Legends of Carroll County Maryland (Carroll County Public Library, 1982, 1998) and The Witness; Slavery in Nineteenth Century Carroll County, Maryland (Carroll County Historical Society and Meikai University Press) presents it, the “Crybaby Bridge” said to exist near Westminster, Carroll County, Maryland allegedly because of the hanging of runaway slaves, and the infanticide of African American babies there by the Ku Klux Klan, is a hoax because of these points:

1) The almost overnight appearance of “Crybaby Bridges” in Maryland and Ohio, which indicates seeding of selected Internet websites devoted to ghosts and the paranormal. One of the most popular websites in the late 1990’s was the Shadowlands listing of hauntings in each state. Glass recalls noting the sudden appearance of “Crybaby Bridges” on that website and bringing them–particularly the one in Westminster–to the attention of the owner of the site. The story was almost identical in every location, with certain variations indicating a facile knowledge of the history of the area. In the case of Westminster, KKK activity happened in the 1970’s, and received extensive newspaper coverage, so it would not have been difficult for the hoaxer to connect the KKK to the story in Westminster.

2) The lack of any historical documentation of events remotely connected with forced infanticide and deaths of slaves at the bridge. Westminster, Maryland maintained two vital newspapers during the historical period in question,The American Sentinel and The Democratic Advocate. Both papers gave extensive coverage to local events, even the most lurid. This includes hangings, lynchings, and the deaths of African-Americans as well as the activities of the KKK and KKK-like groups during the Reconstruction period. These papers would have reported events like those the Crybaby Bridge story purports to have happened, yet there is not a single mention in any of these papers of those events.

3) The complete lack of any local oral history connected with the bridge in question before 1999. In the 1970’s Glass interviewed elderly residents of Westminster and Carroll County, Maryland to compile the stories in Ghosts and Legends of Carroll County, Maryland, and though he talked to residents who could recall stories of what happened in the area pre-dating the Civil War, not one person mentioned anything remotely connected to the bridge in question. Glass himself spent his formative years in the Westminster area and similarly heard nothing about this story until its abrupt appearance on the Internet.

4) Because of these points Glass, a Maryland folklorist and historian whose work has been recognized by the Maryland Humanities Council and the Library of Congress, concludes that the Westminster Crybaby Bridge story is the result of an Internet hoax, and by extension, suggests that other Crybaby Bridge stories that appeared at the same time as the Westminster story are most probably conscious attempts at creating regional fakelore.

Fakelore? HAH! I like that. Well, I have to go by my little slogan of “True or not! Just looking for a really good story.”

I have been here several times with friends and family. I even place a geocache here. This particular spot is now DNR land and I don’t know if you have permission to go here at night. Which really ruins the story. I mean, you HAVE to go to Crybaby Creek Bridge at night. It’s part of the mystique. I know people that absolutely WILL NOT venture here at night. And with good reason…..

Several years ago when we were first married, the wife and I got into a little bout of “ghost hunting”. We had come down to visit my parents in Kershaw, SC, just a few miles from the site in question, with the intention of going out to Crybaby Creek to do a little filming. I have to say now that I have since lost the tape we made that night. I know that really sucks! I wish I had it to show here and had I known I would be doing this site all this time later I would have guarded that tape with my life.

Anyway, it’s about sundown and we make our way to the site. You have to park at the main road for this one. Years ago you could drive all the way out to the bridge. Now there is a steel gate barring your way. So, a half mile walk on an abandoned highway (this keeps getting better) and you get to the bridge.

By now it’s completely dark. Nothing to light our way but a rechargeable MagLite and the light from the cameras LCD screen. We stayed for about an hour and called out the obligatory “cybaby,crybaby!” All with no results. By this time the full moon had come out from behind the clouds and made the spot all eerie. The surrounding landscape being a piece of swampland really sets the whole thing off. This spot is eerie even in the day time. So we film for a little while longer and head home thinking we have nothing.

We took the ride home to Monroe, NC and set up the camera to watch what we had filmed on the TV. I left the room for a few minutes to get some popcprn and some drinks when I hear this blood curdling scream from the bedroom. I run in and all I hear is a muffled “Turn it off! Turn it off!” from beneath one of the pillows. I, being the loving husband that I am, directly disobeyed and rewound the tape. She left. After a few minutes of VERY amateur film shots there appeared on the screen a perfect image of a babys face in the water of the creek below. I was speechless. She was mad and would not come to bed until I turned off the tape.

I went over and over the tape. Watching the same few seconds over and over again. There it was. A babies face in the water. Power of suggestion? Seeing what I wanted to see? Nope. I took the vid to work and to friends houses to let them watch without telling them what I had seen. Each time the response was “HOLY #$%@! There’s a babies face in the water!”

I can honestly say that this bridge was famous (infamous) for it’s particular peculiarity well before the internet became a popular tool. This story was passed around word of mouth to every kid who would listen. Believe me or not! Better yet, go there yourself and call out to him, if you dare.

So, say what you want about the other Crybaby Bridges, this one is real!

Hanging Rock, Heath Springs, SC

I have been visiting this area since I was a child and I have to admit that even as an adult, going out there by myself is not something I look forward to. This site as you will see below was a Revolutionary War battle site. Alot of blood has been spilled here and I am quite certain that this spot is haunted, whether it is by old ghosts or more recent ones is unknown.

When I am here alone I get the distinct feeling that someone is watching me. There is no one there of course, no one that I can see. I get a feeling of sadness and lonliness there as well. I would suspect that with as much as has happened there that the area would, for lack of a better word, record what has happened.

Hanging Rock was a British post garrisoned by the Prince of Wales’ American Regiment, part of the British legion, and a large force of Loyalists, all under the command of Major John Carden. On August 6, 1780, General Thomas Sumter made an attack on this position with a band of Patriot militia and won a great victory, although short of ammunition and outnumbered two to one. Among the impressive rock formations in the vicinity of the battlefield is the huge boulder known as the Hanging Rock.

Ahhh! But here’s the thing, this isn’t the actual battlefield. The actual battle (or two) was actually fought a few miles away. So what am I feeling out there?

A friend of mine who geocaches was out at the site checking on some of her caches at the site and I quote:

“The kids started crying and didn’t want to get out of the van. Then the dog absolutely will not budge. I started feeling the hair on the back of my neck raising and then it was time to go.”

So what are we feeling out there? Maybe the historians are wrong. Maybe this was the battlefield. It would certainly be a great place to defend from. High ground. Then again maybe some of the soldiers mad to this spot before the perished. Then again maybe some wandering spirit has found his way here and just likes it enough to check up on me sometimes, who knows?

Alice’s Grave

Like I said before, I geocache. Luckily we get the chance to see some strange places on the road so I can sort of combine the two hobbies. This past weekend it was Alice Flagg’s grave that we got to visit. Here is the back story…..

From Nancy Rhyne’s
MORE TALES OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA LOWCOUNTRY

Dr. Allard Flagg moved into his new home, The Hermitage, on Murrells Inlet, in 1849 and invited his widowed mother and his sister Alice to live with him.

With delicate features, luminous brown eyes, and thick auburn hair that hung to her waist, Alice was a girl of unusual beauty.

Alice had not shown any interest in a beau, but her older brother Allard was beginning to cast interested glances toward Penelope Bentley Ward, and her other brother, Dr. Arthur Flagg, was openly courting Penelope’s sister, Georgianna Ward.

The Wards of Brookgreen Plantation were the most noted of the planter families in the Low Country during the late 1840s. The amount of rice and oats cultivated by the Wards on their various plantations amounted to millions of pounds, and the vegetables grown in the gardens were harvested in enormous amounts. Each year several thousand bushels of corn, peas, beans, and sweet potatoes were brought from the large gardens. The Wards also had a salt-making system on the nearby seashore, which was capable of producing from thirty to forty bushels of salt per day.

The rector of All Saints Episcopal Church at Pawleys Island considered the Wards among his most devoted and loyal parishioners, and all other planter families in the parish looked up to the Wards as far as achievement and prestige were concerned. So when word spread that Dr. Allard Flagg was interested in Penelope and Dr. Arthur Flagg was interested in Georgianna his best friend, no one thought a thing of it. It was a natural course of events.

Alice Flagg was pleased that her brothers had chosen cultured young women of good taste as their friends, and she delighted in the merrymaking that prevailed when the Ward girls came to The Hermitage. But for Alice, prestige, achievement, culture, and good taste weren’t the only qualities to look for when considering someone to marry. And for this, she had someone in mind.

One day a handsome young man came to call on Miss Alice. She had met him when she was shopping one day. Tall Dr. Allard met the man in the flower garden under a huge spreading oak tree and at once came to the conclusion from his speech, manners, profession, and background that the man was not suitable to be a friend of his sister. The caller was sent away without even a word with Miss Alice.

Alice was outraged, and Dr. Allard tried to console her. ”Alice,” he said, ”he is not a professional man. He is a common turpentine dealer. Can’t you see that if you choose him as a friend you will be choosing beneath yourself?”

”No!” Alice screamed defiantly. ”He has a honorable profession. Don’t you recognize the potential of a profession in the pine trees of this region?” ”Yes,” Dr. Allard answered. ”But in spite of that, the young man is beneath the notice of a Flagg. Let me hear no more about it!”

But Alice was not to be cowed, and she secretly kept in touch with her friend. After several weeks had passed, she boldly invited him to visit her again at The Hermitage. He agreed to come and told Alice that he would take her for a ride in his buggy, pulled by a team of fine bay horses.

He arrived early in the afternoon and was ushered by a servant into the imposing drawing room of The Hermitage. In a few minutes, Alice descended the staircase in the hallway and hurried into the drawing room. She did not disguise her happiness over seeing her friend. They left the drawing room and went to the wide porch and down the steps, where Alice’s beau helped her into his carriage. Just as the suitor was ready to step up into the other side, Dr. Allard appeared on the porch. ”Wait!” he cried out.

He ran down the steps, pushed the young man aside, and got into the buggy beside his sister, taking the reins. ”I have sent someone to bring my horse,” Dr. Allard said. ”You’ll ride the horse. I’ll ride in the carriage with Alice. You may ride beside us and talk to Alice.” The young man reluctantly agreed to the arrangement, but there was very little conversation between him and Alice that afternoon as they rode along, he on the horse, she in the carriage with her brother.

Dr. Allard, Dr. Arthur, and their mother had a family meeting, and it was decided that Alice would not be permitted to see her friend again. In the meantime her friend had secretly met her and slipped a ring on her finger and told her to consider it an engagement ring. She was ecstatic. They were very much in love.

When Dr. Allard saw the ring, he demanded that Alice remove it and give it to him so he could return it to the young man. She removed the ring, promising that she would return it, but she slipped it on a ribbon and tied the ribbon around her neck, concealing the ring beneath the collar of her dress.

In another family meeting, it was decided that Alice would be sent to Charleston to attend school so that she would forget about her beau. This was against her wishes, and she went reluctantly, but there was nothing she could do about it.

Alice cried for hours before she unpacked her trunk. She disliked everything she’d ever heard of Charleston: the mansions set far back from the bay, the almost-noble aristocracy, the societies that afforded merriment for the upper class, and most of all, the school where she was now stuck! Tears ran down her cheeks and fell on her dress, the one she treasured above all others, the soft white one with the wide ruffle that served as a collar as well as sleeves, for it draped over her shoulders and arms to her elbows.

When she had finished unpacking, she pushed her trunk under the bed. It was only then that she looked around the room that she was to occupy. The bed looked comfortable, but the curtains were of a coarse gauze, and the entire room lacked color. It lacked Warmth. Everything was so different in Charleston, and she missed her young man so much.

Several weeks passed before Alice began to get accustomed to the city. The pace wasn’t quite so leisurely as at Murrells Inlet, and the sounds were startling. There was much screaming and talking when the fishing fleets came in at sunset, some of the fishermen taking care of the sails and cleaning the boats while others prepared the fish for market. Other sounds that surprised Alice were the street cries. Shrimp men chanted ”shrimpy-raw-raw-,” while vegetable women carried their products in huge baskets balanced on their heads as they called out, ”vejjy-tuble, vejjy-tuble!” Then, there was the rattle of empty milk tins being taken from doorways and full ones left in their places, the ice wagon and the clop,clop of the robust horses that pulled it, and the fire engine’s clanging bell as it rushed to a fire. She could hear the chimney sweeps on the roofs and the lamplighters in the evening. Though Alice did her best to adjust to Charleston and apply herself at school, she did not forget her turpentine dealer back home for one minute.

Although he was considered to be ”beneath the notice of a Flagg,” she loved him with all her heart. Many times a day she pressed a hand to her chest to make sure her ring was still hanging on the ribbon around her neck.

Late on night, after attending a ball at the St. Cecilia Society, Alice became ill. The physician concluded that she was afflicted with malarial fever. Her family must be notified immediately, he told the school authorities.

When word of Alice’s illness reached Dr. Allard Flagg, he left The Hermitage at once for Charleston in his carriage. By the time he reached Alice’s bedside, she was delirious. Dr. Allard gave her some medication and ordered that her trunk be packed. He was taking her home to The Hermitage.

The journey to Murrells Inlet was not an easy one. It was raining, and the sky was dark with heavy clouds. There were seven rivers to be crossed by ferry and the roadways were sandy and the edges ill-defined, causing the carriage to slip into a ditch at times. Finally, Dr. Allard arrived between the avenue of oaks leading to The Hermitage. When the frail girl was lifted from the carriage, her brother saw that she was much, much worse.

Alice Flagg drifted into and out of consciousness all night long. Sometime during that first night she was back in her home in Murrells Inlet, she reached for the ring on the ribbon. It was not there! She begged, weakly, ”I want my ring. Give me my ring.” But her ring was not returned to her. By morning she was dead.

The body of Alice Flagg was dressed in her favorite white dress, and she was buried in the Flagg family plot at All Saints Cemetery near Pawleys Island. A plain marble slab was placed over her grave. Only one word is on the slab – ALICE.

Many times since the death of Alice Flagg there have been accounts of her being seen at The Hermitage. She comes in the front door and moves silently up the staircase to the bedroom that belonged to her. Sometimes she comes early in the evening, and at other times she makes her visits late a night.

Also, it is said, she has been seen in the ancient graveyard at All Saints Church. But wherever she is seen, she always seems to be searching for something, while holding her hand over her chest.
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I HAVE BEEN HERE SEVERAL TIMES, AND WHILE i HAVE NEVER SEEN A GHOST (HERE ANYWAY) THERE IS A REAL SENSE OF FOREBODING. GO THERE AND CHECK IT OUT FOR YOUR SELF.