I Might Not Rock, But Some People Still Think I’m Cool

Zak Bagans rocks!!!! You do not rock!
–anonymous e-mail I received after reviewing an episode of Ghost Adventures for The Ghosts of Ohio Newsletter

Over a decade ago, I bumped into a beautiful woman named Stephanie who, for reasons known only to her, decided to join me on my strange and spooky adventures (she also foolishly agreed to marry me, giving “strange and spooky adventures” a whole new meaning).

Looking back, we probably should have checked that Face Painter’s credentials BEFORE we agreed to be test subjects

I can still remember our first spooky excursion as if it were only yesterday: We decided to check out the ghostly legends associated with Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark, Ohio. In fact, if you own a copy of Weird Ohio, turn to the Cedar Hill Cemetery story and you’ll see I even managed to capture that memorable day in photographs–that’s Steph with her ear to the door of the Baker mausoleum, listening for ghostly cries.

Not long after that day, Steph started uttering what has become something of a catch phrase of hers when we’re out on adventures: “I’ll wait here.” Usually, I’d hear these words if I pulled up to some spooky location in the middle of the night…in the middle of nowhere. But truth be told, my journey has taken me to some pretty sketchy locations that are spooky in broad daylight. And by that, I don’t mean that I’m trespassing or breaking any laws. It’s just that some of these places tend to be located in areas where, at any minute, you’d expect to hear banjo music off in the distance. Oh yeah, and there’s usually all sorts of broken glass, trash, and debris laying all over the place. In other words, a romantic setting this ain’t!

Of course, when our daughter, Courtney, was born back in 2010, Steph started saying “I’ll wait here” a lot more. And with good reason. Say what you will about me, but I’ve yet to entertain the thought of dragging my daughter through places filled with garbage, bugs, and god knows what else. So the two of them usually hang out in the car while I go roaming about.

“Come on, guys, it totally looks safe!”

Such was the case recently when I decided to visit the infamous Crybaby Bridge on Fudge Road. While I had visited the bridge many times in the past, I recently received an e-mail saying the bridge was in bad shape and was in danger of being knocked down. So I wanted to get some pictures of it for my Ohio Crybaby Bridge Project before it was gone for good.

As we drove to the bridge one afternoon, I filled Steph in on all the legends swirling around not only the bridge, but Fudge Road in general. Of course, there are just as many stories about people being chased down the road by angry neighbors as there are ghosts. Long story short, when people ask me about the bridge, I tell them it’s probably not a good place to visit. So it didn’t really surprise me that much when we pulled off to the side of the road in front of the Road Closed sign near the bridge and I heard “I’ll wait here.” Well, at least I heard it from Steph. Courtney was so engrossed in her Justice League Vs. Bizarro League DVD that I don’t think she even heard me get out of the car.

Fudge Road Crybaby Bridge

I guess I had been out of the car for 5 minutes or so, busily snapping pictures and even walking across the closed bridge, when I heard Steph call out “Jim?” My immediate thought was “oh s**t, someone’s here.” As soon as I looked towards the car and realized I couldn’t see it from where I was standing, I admit it: I panicked and started running towards Steph’s voice as I yelled back “coming! What is it?!” I was almost halfway across the bridge when I heard Steph’s response:

“We’re getting out. Courtney said she wants to see your spooky bridge.”

And see it she did. For the next few minutes, Courtney wandered along Fudge Road and the Crybaby Bridge, sometimes hand-in-hand with Steph, asking questions about ghosts and bridges…and hawks (she saw one in the trees). She even made me and Steph pose for a picture on the bridge. All the while, I kept trying to hide the tears in my eyes. Courtney still doesn’t comprehend that sometimes, people cry when they’re happy.

Photo courtesy of Courtney

So yeah, I don’t rock. But I have a wife who, after all these years, still loves and supports what I do. And I know she’s not even five yet, but my daughter still thinks I’m cool.

I can live with that.

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