Back in the early 1990s, I became aware of this legend when my cousin started dating a friend of mine, and they asked me to take her to her granddad’s farm near Richardsville, in Warren Co, KY. Not being familiar with that area, I had to follow directions on getting there. That first time we went to the granddad’s farm, we turned off of US 31W, out near Warren East High School, north of Bowling Green. While on the way to Richardsville we got in a discussion about the bridge off of Hwy 185.
The three of us were adventure junkies, having spent many nights either on road trips through some really scary.country, or with our gang of adventure junkies at well known haunts, such as Buffalo Ford, Green Mansion (which we found out was not haunted by ghosts!), the old field below the old store at Coral Hill, New Salem Cemetery and the woods behind it, and the old Beechville area in Metcalfe County.
On that particular afternoon, on a screened-in porch of an old farmhouse in rural Warren Co., my cousin’s grandfather told me what he knew of the legend surrounding old Richardsville Bridge. When a young lad, he had been told that a young woman had driven her car off the bridge one night in a storm, and she had drowned in the floodwaters that were the direct result of the bad storm. Grandpa, whose real name is withheld for privacy.reasons, had for many years worked for the.Warren Co. Sheriff’s Department, and he said he had done some research to try to find the name of this young woman, but he had never found any records or newspaper clippings to prove the validity of this.
This historical bridge was built in 1889 by the King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio. It was built with iron., rather than steel, and is a triple truss structure. My fascination with it is that it is a wooden bottom, one-lane structure, and reminded me of the old bridge that spanned the Missouri River at Craig, Montana, near where I grew up.
The old Richardsville Bridge had passed its usefulness many years ago, but yet it’s still there today as a reminder of a bygone era. The impatience one feels on approach to this structure and finding someone else already on the bridge coming from the other way… If you roll slowly across the bridge with the windows of your vehicle rolled down, you will hear the cables and trusses pop and settle as you cross. The phenomena at night is especially fascinating if you have never experienced this sort of thing. As I have stated, I am an adventure junkie, and I grew up near one of these bridges.
But the real urban legend is that if you park on the bridge at night, leave your car in neutral, and powder your bumper with either talcum (baby) powder or flour, you will mysteriously roll across the bridge, and you will find handprints in the powder! As I have said, I grew up near Craig, Montana, crossed the bridge there just about everyday from the time I started first grade until I left there in 1986. If you pull up on one of these bridges, no matter the direction, and put the car in neutral, the framework of the bridge will shift, and a great percentage of the time, your car will start rolling toward the.other side of the bridge, whether uphill or not!
As I mentioned in my article on Martha Divine Hole, I only know of 4 locations in the Barren-Warren-Allen Co. area that are known for handprint phenomena. I have actually witnessed it at this location as well as Martha Divine Hole and one other. I have no explanation for this unusual happening, but I cannot be skeptical of something I’ve witnessed myself.
The night we went to the bridge was a nice night, with a few clouds skidding across the moonlight, and we parked near the bridge for some time. As a matter of fact, I can say I’ve never been there in the daylight. I’ve been by it on the way to Riverview at Hobson Grove, and to Houchens Girl Scout Camp. But I’ve never been to the old bridge in the daylight hours.
While there, the 3 of us walked out on the bridge and stood for quite awhile. The bridge carries a slight electromagnetic frequency, and while there we heard a strange humming, which I was familiar with, but it does sound kinda creepy!
The bridge itself is part of an era long gone, and to have experienced it in its glory days must have been magnificent. I cannot say enough for the engineering marvel that this bridge really is. I am glad that one man stepped forward to save it when it was due for demolition.
I never saw any ghosts the night I was there, but I will say the energy of the place made the hair on my arms stand up, and the handprints definitely intrigued me. I’ve not encountered that phenomena again until a few years ago at the old Swinging Bridge at Skaggs Creek off of Oil Well Road. It is an unsettling phenomena, and leads to the tales of young people having died at these sites. It possibly has some influence, but then I am skeptical about that. No one died at the Swinging Bridge site, although there is a cemetery about a half-mile away with a couple of small children buried in it.
As for the rolling car phenomena, the vehicle rolled in both directions on the bridge for me. But then, I grew up near one very similar to it, and I knew this would happen as soon as I laid eyes on the bridge. Sorry if I ruined your expectations, but I hope it did give a few of you pause to think about this. And if you are an adventure junkie, everyone should go and see the old Richardsville Bridge, off Hwy 185 in Bowling Green. Even if you go in the daylight, you won’t be disappointed. There is a reason it is on the Historical Register!
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