Lots of small towns and rural areas across America have areas that are said to be haunted. Lonely stretches of backroads and highways where spirits seem to linger long after they have parted this world. Places where tragic events play out over and over or a lost soul still seeks to hitch a ride with an unsuspecting driver. With 55 out of 67 counties in Alabama considered rural (see stats here), we have lots of those places. Let's take a midnight drive and explore: 5 Haunted Highways and Roads of Alabama.
1. The Ghost of Highway 5
As many states do, Alabama has it's own version of the young woman who never made it home from prom night and haunts the highway where her short life ended with tragedy. In Winston County near the town of Lynn, Alabama, late night drivers have supposedly seen the apparition of this young woman wandering the lonely stretch of road. Truckers often avoid this route at night and take highway 13 instead. Many have said that she bangs on their doors and steps up to the passenger side window to peer inside their cabs. Have you seen her? Leave your story in the comments!
2. Cry Baby Bridge
There are a couple of these in the state of Alabama - maybe more. In fact, almost every state in the U.S. has some version of this story that goes along with a creepy old bridge located on a desolate rural road. The story is similar with each location: for some horrible reason, a young mother supposedly killed her infant in the water below the bridge . Stories vary from the mother trying to hide from Union soldiers to the mother tossing her baby into the water. Either way, the result is the same: a haunted bridge where motorists and visitors at night can still hear the cries of a lone unconsoled baby. There is one cry baby bridge located on Kayo Road in Hartselle and one in south Alabama on Kali Oka Road near the very old Oak Grove Plantation (watch video here).
3. Henry's Hill
Here's another type of haunted location that you can find in almost every state in the U.S. A place that defies all logic and the laws of physics. In Alabama, we have Henry's Hill near Mt. Hope on County Road 25. As the story goes, a man named Henry was traveling along this stretch of road very late at night when his car broke down close to a sharp curve in the road. Wanting to get his car out of the way of other vehicles, he got out to push his car onto the shoulder of the road. While pushing his car, another vehicle rounded the sharp curve and struck poor Henry, killing him instantly. It is said that if you stop at the place where Henry met his untimely death and put your car into neutral, that Henry himself will push your car seemingly uphill to a point of safety. There are lots of similar spots such as this around the world, actually. One internet search of "gravity hill" or "magnetic hill" will bring up hundreds of these locations. Some are connected to a ghost story and some aren't - but they all seem to be a place where cars and other objects defy gravity and roll uphill. What's really going on at these places? Here's a great video from Julian O'Shea at Magnetic Hill in Australia explaining what actually happens (see it here).
4. The Jazz Man
No collection of ghost stories centered around haunted roads and highways would be complete without at least one entry of the proverbial hitchhiker ghost. There is a story in north Alabama that takes place near the town of Elgin that has all the right elements to fit the bill: the legend of the jazz man. Often late at night on the Second Creek bridge on highway 72, motorists have seen a man that is seemingly from a bygone era - a man walking along the bridge dressed in a white zoot suit from the 1940's. Sometimes he is seen carrying a trumpet. That, along with his attire, has caused people to call him the jazz man. Drivers who have given the man a ride say he often mumbles something about his trumpet before vanishing before their eyes. Supposedly, he was a local who was walking along the highway when he was struck by a car on the very bridge where he appears. Have you seen the jazz man? Leave a comment about your experience!
5. Hell's Gate Bridge
In a previous article, "Urban Legends of the Shoals," I covered the legendary Ghost Bridge of Lauderdale County (read it here). There is another bridge in Alabama that witnesses and locals say is also haunted and it's known as Hell's Gate Bridge in Oxford. The legend surrounding the bridge concerns a young couple who met their demise while traveling the dark road where the bridge is located. For unknown reasons, their car plunged from the bridge into the dark waters below where they were both drowned. To this day, it is said that if you stop near the bridge, that two wet spots will appear in the rear seat of your car from the young ghostly couple trying to catch a ride with you. There is another legend associated with the same bridge that gave it it's macabre name. Apparently for years, people said that if they stopped on the bridge and looked in their rear view mirror, the appearance of flames and the fiery gates of hell could be seen. Yikes! Maybe it's a good thing this bridge was closed in the mid 2000's. Although motorists can no longer drive across the bridge, the legends remain and locals say the area around the bridge is just as haunted.
Do you have a favorite haunted road or highway in Alabama? Have you experienced something otherworldly on a lonely stretch of Alabama backroads? Leave it in the comments - I would love to hear your experience and I may include it in a future article! Please follow me for more local, state and national articles!