Every town has a legend, a ghost story that survives
one generation after another, and Valdosta is no exception.
Lowndes and Brooks County meet along the Withlacoochee
River, where an abandoned bridge stands--host to stories of star-crossed lovers, satanic worship and a cold-blooded murder.
The bridge, known as Spook Bridge, was not always such
a scary place. According to Charles Arnold, electrical superintendent for Quitman, the bridge was probably built in the late
teens or early ‘20s. The Cunningham family owned the land, and the Blue Springs resort was located across the bridge
at a train stop. The resort was a site that attracted tourists from all around Georgia, complete with Blue Hole, a natural
spring, and cabins for the tourists to stay in.
Throughout the years, the bridge has been host to fun
times as well as tragedy. According to Larry Cunningham, nephew of late land owner Walter Cunningham, a crash occurred on
“In the mid-40s, a gas truck crashed into the
railing on the Brooks county side. The truck tore out 50 to 100 feet of railing,” Cunningham said. The railing was never
At least two drownings occurred at Blue Hole prior to
1970. “There’s a tall Cyprus at the end of the spring,” Cunningham said. “People have died after getting
drunk and diving off the tree into the 15-ft diameter hole. If they made the hole, they were okay, but if they missed, the
surrounding water was only about 4 feet deep.”
A flood in the late ‘40’s washed out the
roads surrounding the bridge. In 1950, a new bridge opened in conjunction with Highway 84. Around 1970, Blue Hole dried up,
ending the tourism, and the abandoned bridge began to take a life of its own.
“In the early ‘70s, everybody went down
there,” Arnold said. “Then about 20 years ago, satanic people started taking over.”
Cunningham said, “Around ‘74 or ‘75,
graffiti started showing up, like pentagrams, and people began calling it Spook Bridge.”
Legends began circulating about ghosts and satanic rituals
occurring on the bridge.
“I have heard at least two or three stories about
Spook Bridge,” Dr. Kathleen Lowney, professor of sociology, said. “The old house on the Brooks county side, a
couple used to live there, the man went crazy and killed his wife. He, or she, I’ve heard both, haunt the bridge. The
same couple, a different version goes, were out walking on the bridge and the man pushed the woman off the bridge. She haunts
the bridge, trying to climb up out of the water.”
Susan West, a Brooks county resident West Brook High
School 1982 graduate recalls a different legend popular in her school days.
“Supposedly a boy and girl who were dating were
driving and their car went off the bridge,” West said. “If you drove your car over the bridge, you could hear
them beating on your hood.”
Richard A. Chafin, Brooks County Sheriff, agrees the
bridge possesses an element of peril, but for very real and dangerous reasons.
“We patrol the abandoned roadway all the time,”
Chafin said. “We’ve had dozens of arrests there for trespassing. It’s a dangerous place and the bridge needs
to be torn down.”
According to Chafin, about a year and half ago, a murder
occurred at the bridge.
“A man was shot off the bridge, twice in the head,
execution style,” Chafin said. “We believe it was a drug deal gone bad.”
Whether the bridge is host to ghosts or satanic rituals,
one may never know. However, the legend of Spook Bridge lives on: in Valdosta schools, in the streets of Quitman, and perhaps
at the abandoned bridge itself.