LYDIA'S BRIDGE

Abandoned Bridge near current bridge on East Main St, Jamestown, NC

Status: Famous Haunted Tunnel

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History

On a rainy night in 1923 a car speeds along High Point Road in the driver’s desperate effort to get his date home before her curfew. As he tries to negotiate a particularly tight curve the driver loses control of the car and hits the Southern Railroad underpass killing himself instantly. His date, a teenage girl named Lydia, is seriously hurt but lives through the crash. She crawls back to the road in an effort to get help but no one picks her up. Lydia succumbs to her injuries and dies by the side of the road having never reached home.

Or so the story went. . . That is until the real story behind the so-called Lydia’s Bridge was uncovered by Michael Renegar and Amy Greer. There was a terrible car accident at the same site on a rainy night June 20, 1920. Three people survived but Annie L Jackson, a 30-year-old woman, was ejected from the car, hit her head and probably died instantly. So the truth behind the Lydia legend has been discovered.

As for the mix up in the names it may be Annie’s middle name was Lydia but it was probably caused by a melding of legends in which the name Lydia came through.

That road has since become US 70 and has since been altered (to make it safer) eliminating the hairpin curve that cost Annie her life. The Southern Railroad underpass is still there though although it is now completely overgrown and barely visible. The current underpass is just a few yards from the old one.


Paranormal Activity

Much like Resurrection Mary this haunting is one of the possibilities as the origin of the Phantom Hitchhiker urban legend.

On dark rainy nights drivers, since the accident, have picked up a young woman on the side of the road who says her name is Lydia and desperately needs to get home. Lydia gives the address of a house nearby and has been driven home many times by many drivers (usually men). During the ride Lydia seems to be distracted and either unwilling or unable to talk much beyond her need to get home. Upon reaching the house Lydia will suddenly disappear into thin air.

Based on the year of the original accident Lydia’s mother has probably passed away but many story has been told of men coming to her door telling what happened. Lydia’s mother then explains what has actually happened; that Lydia is forever trying to get home to meet her curfew. It is said that this happened so often that the mother started showing the men Lydia’s photo which they identified as their passenger.

The apparition of Lydia is also reported to have been seen still in her blood-stained dress glowing luminescently in the tunnel.

Now obviously this part of the legend has been embellished a little as well. The ghost stating her name as Lydia is probably selective hearing; what the drivers expect to hear. It’s certainly possible at 30 years old Annie was still living with her mother but, again, this part could be pure embellishment.

As to whether the discovery of Annie’s true identity will finally give her the rest she deserves. That still remains to be seen.