Haunted?While there is supposedly a gravestone in the Stowe cemetery bearing the name "Emilie" there is no record of a ghostly presence before the 1960s. The earliest and best-known written source for the legend is a high school paper written in 1968 or 1969 by a teenager named Susan.
A 1978 newspaper story on Emily's Bridge stated that by that point, ten years after Susan wrote the paper, both she and a friend admitted to consulting a Ouija board to form one version of the legend that was included in the high school paper. Other versions in the high school paper came from local residents. The legend of the ghost named Emily was already circulating in the community when Susan wrote her paper (her awareness of the story was what inspired her to pick it for her paper topic). The legend originated sometime during the late 1950s or early 1960s, and likely was the work of other local teenagers. It quickly spread throughout the years.
Several stories explain the legend.
In one, Emily was to have met her lover (of whom her parents didn't approve) at the bridge so they could elope. Emily waited at the bridge and when he did not arrive sadness drove her her to hang herself from a beam inside the bridge.
Another says Emily, on her way to her wedding, was run down by a runaway team of horses (or her horse threw her and she plunged to the rocks below the bridge).
Or, homely Emily was pregnant by her boyfriend, who hanged himself on the bridge when her father demanded marriage. After the birth of twins, Emily did the same.
One woman said she made up the story to keep her children from crossing the bridge.
Regardless of which story is to be believed, there are various accounts of first-hand experiences with Emily's ghost, said to be quite threatening (many people refuse to cross the bridge alone or at night); there are just as many debunks of those stories. Most paranormal experts that visit the bridge do not find any compelling evidence of activity on the bridge.
Many people that have visited Emilys Bridge have experienced disturbing paranormal activity. People have reported scratch marks appearing on vehicles that were parked on the bridge, and being touched or scratched by Emily's ghost. Often strange noises are heard on the bridge, noises such as footsteps, ropes tightening, and a girl screaming. Many also have reported seeing a white apparition around the area of Emily's Bridge. People that have parked their vehicle on the haunted bridge say they tend to hear banging noses from Emily hitting the vehicle on the outside, or the sound of something dragging across the top of the car. The most paranormal events tend to take place between the hours of dusk and 9pm. Stowe police often do rounds to the bridge since there are so many noise complaints and teenagers drinking under the bridge.
Visitors to the bridge are asked to remain quiet after dark to respect the many Stowe residents who live near the bridge. Visitors are asked not to litter or defame the bridge in any way, as it is a registered National Historical Site. Keep Emily's Bridge hauntingly beautiful.