A Visit to Hell’s Gate Bridge

There are apparently two bridges with the unofficial name “Hell’s Gate Bridge”. There might be more, but there are two that I’m aware of. One is in New York City. I’m not likely to visit that one anytime soon. The other is located in the town of Oxford, Alabama, and I visited it this past weekend.

Why is the single-lane wood and steel truss bridge, built in 1930 and spanning Choccolocco Creek, considered the most haunted bridge in Alabama? There are two reasons, and both are bunk.

You can’t cross the bridge–but you can go around the barricades to go underneath it!

According to legend, a couple back in the 1950s drove their car off the bridge and drowned in the creek below. If you stop on the bridge—no longer possible, as the whole thing is blocked off—and then drive away, when you get home you’ll find a wet spot in the seat of your car, from where one of the ghosts was sitting.
Here you can see the chain-link fencing meant to keep visitors off the bridge.

Nature is slowly reclaiming the bridge.

The only problem with this story is that no such automobile accident ever happened. The other story is that, if you cross the bridge at night, put your car in park, and look in your rearview mirror, you will see not the bridge but the “gates of Hell.” (What you’d really see is the creepy bridge illuminated by your brake lights, which, if you’d been partaking liberally of alcoholic beverages, might look like the gates to Hell to you.)
I might have wiggled around the barricade for this photo. Might have.

No, the town of Oxford has dedicated a lovely park, of which the Hell’s Gate Bridge is a part, on the site of what was once the Creek Indian town of Choccolocco. Any supernatural occurrences there are due to its history of Native American occupation. The stories just developed after the fact to explain the phenomenon.
The ceremonial Indian mound at Choccolocco Park.

Indian legend, and accounts from European explorers, state that every rock in this stone mound was carried to the site in memory of someone who died when an Indian village near here was destroyed by a flood.

Sadly the Hell’s Gate Bridge has been slated for demolition for the past three years. The city ought to reconsider and make the bridge an official landmark, preserving it for posterity.
Who but your illustrious host would dare visit a haunted location wearing a red shirt?

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.

Denn die totden reiten schnell!

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