Vehicle bridge over water
While there are multiple different legends associated with this bridge, the most popular version doesn’t really have anything to do with something happening on the bridge itself. According to that legend, three small children were playing in the Muskingum River near the bridge when they decided to venture out and explore the small islands near the center of the river. Sadly, they never made it to the islands, and all three drowned in the river. In this version, it is said that people report hearing the ghostly sounds of children crying and screaming for help whenever they cross the bridge.
There are several slight variations to this legend, both of which get this tale closer to a traditional Crybaby Bridge story. In one, a male “teenager” babysitting his infant brother decides, for reasons that are never stated, to drive his brother out to the bridge and murder him, throwing the body into the water afterwards. A final variation has the teenager driving across the bridge with his infant brother when they are both killed in a car accident. Both variations include being able to hear ghostly cries and screams, but the “car accident” version adds “ghostly crashing noises” to the mix.
None as of this writing. Ghostly sounds can apparently be heard regardless if you are driving or walking across the bridge.
Bridge crosses the Muskingum River and is located on Bridge Street, which connects Old River Road (6)/Circular Street in Philo with Water Street/Main Street (60) in Duncan Falls.
Research has uncovered an event that took place near the bridge that may have sparked the Philo Crybaby Bridge story.
On the afternoon of June 30th, 1953, 13-year-old Larry Moyer of Philo, Ohio, was swimming in the Muskingum River at the old Philo beach with two friends—Robert Haines (13) and Sidney Holland (11). At some point, Moyer attempted to reach one of the small islands in the middle of the river when he disappeared below the surface. When he didn’t resurface, his friends attempted to find him and then rode their bikes away from the area in an attempt to find help. When village Marshall arrived at the river, he jumped in and eventually located Moyer’s body, approximately 100 feet from shore in 12 feet of water.
Now, while Moyer’s tragic death is not directly related to the bridge itself, there are specifics in the Moyer event that pop up in the original Philo Crybaby Bridge story. Specifically, they are:
- Three individuals swimming in the river
- An attempt to reach an island in the middle of the river
Interestingly enough, both variations of the legend also involve a teenage boy. So it would stand to reason that the Moyer death was the basis for the original Philo Crybaby Bridge story as well as the additional of a teenager to the variation when the story changed over the years.
A somewhat happy ending to the incredibly sad tale of Larry Moyer is that his death brought about change to the area. As a result of Moyer’s drowning, residents of Philo as well as neighboring Duncan Falls realized the currents of the Muskingum were far too dangerous for people looking for a way to beat the summer heat, especially young children. In Moyer’s honor, the good people of Philo and Duncan Falls came together and raised funds to construct a public swimming pool that would serve both communities.
Got a story to tell about this bridge? Tell me about it!
With regards to the Philo crybaby bridge, I am not familiar with the story and I grew up in the area. (And graduated from Philo High School) I would recommend finding out when the story originated and whether or not it involves the current bridge. My understanding is that when the current bridge was built, it replaced another one that was not in the same spot. There are talks of replacing the current bridge in a similar manner.
–Tim Shaner (via strangeandspookyworld.com)
I too have grown up and live in the area. I remember people being very vague of how it is “haunted” but never the story or legend behind it. However, until recently with our Philo group, I wasn’t even aware of the drownings that initiated the Philo pool project.
I recently reached out to a very informative lady who has lived locally for as long as I can remember. She has helped run our village pool for many years. I confirmed with her that a young boy, Larry Moyer, did die in the river in the 50’s. I know it is very little information but it is a start for something I have recently become extremely interested in.
We have a couple of pages for Philo, one is regarding the bridge itself as it is has been undergoing construction and evaluation of a possible future move. Our page contains a lot of history regarding the original bridge and when the bridge moved to its current location, and updates as the engineers office allows them for the future of the bridge. I think all of us locals have been to the bridge and the locks, I live about a 1/2 mile, if that, away from the bridge. I have never personally heard anything strange, but then again, I have only walked it or went down to the locks or the dam during the day and usually with a loud group of people. It is a unique location to visit if you are ever able to do so.
I would be happy to share what information I turn up when I am able to conduct research.
–Amanda Touvell (via strangeandspookyworld.com)
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