Monday, September 26, 2011

Love Ghost Stories?: Try Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle

My new nonfiction ghost book release, Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations, published by Schiffer Publishing, is perfect for that Halloween read.  It can be gotten at Schiffer Publishing, AMAZON,  Barnes and Noble (also can be found in their bookstores and ordered through them if not available there),  Walmart , Waterstones , Books A Million and at IndieBound.Org (check here for the nearest indie bookstore near you) . Plus many other online places and brick and motor bookstores, gift shops, and museum shops.

It's a trade paperback that has 192 pages with 121 color images. ISBN: 9780764337468

Take a step back into ghostly history as you tour Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown in the Historic Triangle. Visit Jamestown Island where Captain John Smith and the first English colonists settled. Stroll around Yorktown and follow the same footsteps of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as they walked along Duke of Gloucester Street. Hear odd noises and see apparitions at the Peyton Randolph House, Cornwallis's Cave, Wells's Corner, Sherwood Forest, the Rosewell Plantation, and many, many other places. Be prepared to get to know the ghosts of this Historic Triangle and its surrounding areas. They're dying for you to read their stories.

Pamela K. Kinney

Be prepared to take a journey into Pamela K. Kinney's fantastic dreams of horror, science fiction and fantasy, plus the ghosts and legends of nonfiction ghost books, Haunted Richmond, Virginia, Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales, and Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations.

From the chapter on "Creepy Crawford Road" (this does not include my experiences or the photos--buy the book to read whole chapter plus view the pictures)

"Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places."
H. P, Lovecraft

Crawford Road is in York County, though it also is in Newport News, too. Strangely enough, the spelling is different, depending on what area you live in.

There are assorted legends surrounding the bridge that crosses over Crawford Road. One of them talks that African Americans were hanged at the location. This particular legend goes on to say that an African American woman in a white dress has been seen standing on top of the bridge, right at the edge. Then, right before witnesses' eyes, she falls from it and vanishes just before making contact with the pavement. At other times, she halts in mid-air and begins to swing back and forth, as if hanging by a rope.

There are a couple of stories to explain some of these hauntings. One suggests that a young black bride fled her wedding and hanged herself from the bridge to escape an undesired fate of being married to a man she did not care for. Other suggested folklore mentions that she was hanged there because of her color. There is a story that a few black men were hanged from the bridge by the KKK for a Klan statement. I can tell you there is plenty of KKK graffiti scribbled on the bridge and on the road as you drive up to the bridge. Though I suspect that these are more the work of teenagers thinking it is funny, than as a KKK statement. African Americans' ghosts have been sighted. There have been reports of Civil War soldiers seen, too. Besides sightings, there are disembodied voices heard and strange knocking noises heard by some witnesses.

However, the strangest stories are those about people's vehicles that stop running as they approach the bridge. In many of these tales, those in the car have to get out and push past the "haunted" bridge. Not all cars need to be pushed, though. Some say that their car shifts into neutral and will roll some distance. Afterwards, the drivers get out and discover what looks like handprints all over the paint. Sometimes though, the motor refuses to start and the driver has to call a tow truck to come get them and their vehicle. Would you like to have a disabled car by the bridge at night, waiting until a tow truck finally comes? I wouldn't.

But these are not the only weird tales about this very area, or the bridge itself. A friend of mine had been told by a coworker that years ago a man had his car "carjacked" by a killer who forced him to take money from his cash flow teller somewhere in Newport News and then have him drive at gunpoint to the remote area of Crawford Road. Once they got there, the killer murdered the poor man and dumped his body at the bridge. Does his specter now haunt the bridge, too?

More bizarre stories center on a building off in the woods nearby. Before you come to the bridge, there's a fenced-off road that actually heads back into a clearing. An abandoned building with no doors stands in the clearing. Suddenly, red eyes may appear in one of the open doorways and watch you. When you draw closer to the building, the red eyes vanish. An eerie feeling of something watching has overtaken those who do enter the place. There are claims of some film that caught a shadow moving along the walls (always in the shape of a tall male creeping along). But I have never found any evidence of any such film, even on YouTube. There have also been reports of people feeling like they have had their feet stepped on, voices whispering, and something touching the middle of their backs. Both during the daytime and at night when my husband and I were there, I never attempted to find this building. I couldn't be sure that I wouldn't be trespassing.

Other scary tales tell of a strange black truck that appears and begins to give chase. It looks like it's about to catch up with the back of the vehicle it is pursuing when it disappears. Someone emailed me to tell me his scary experience with a truck that happened on March 14, 2010. He has asked to remain anonymous.

He had been driving with someone else along Crawford Road and said they never ran into any other vehicle. Just as they drove beneath the bridge it seemed that out of nowhere a truck appeared right behind them with his high beams on. The truck began to flash its head lights. Suddenly, the headlights went off. The truck had vanished. Though scared, they turned around and headed back where they had come from, but never found the truck.

Another creepy tale concerns a couple of young men who drove down the road one night. They had just gone beneath the bridge when it sounded like they had run over something on the cement. They pulled over to the side of the road and went back to check to see if they had indeed run over some poor animal or something else. They found nothing. So they climbed back into the car and proceeded away from the bridge. That's when things got freaky. The windows fogged up, and the next thing they saw were handprints making their way up the windows from the outside. When the handprints reached the top of the windshield, they heard a loud thud from the roof of the car, as if something was trying to get in through the roof. The thudding noise stopped and then they heard a smearing noise and the back window looked like someone had fallen off the top of the car and slid down the window. Another bump resounded on the top of the trunk and then they heard the sound again hit the road behind them. Scared, they turned off the motor, got out and checked to see what it could have been. Once again, of course, there was nothing. Could this be a residue reenactment of the murder victim that my friend learned about?

Was that enough of an experience for them to not drive down Crawford Road at night? No. They had been driving around a few years later, listening to a CD they had burnt, and turned onto Crawford Road. Everything was fine until they reached the bridge. When they slipped under it, a high-pitched squealing issued from the track they were listening to on the CD. The noise lasted for about ten seconds until they drove well away from the bridge. What freaked them out was the CD had been fine all—until they approached the bridge. Later on, they also discovered that the noise had been forever imprinted on that particular track.

More legends that concern the haunted area are that something appears out of nowhere in front of a moving car and drivers served to avoid it. They stop the vehicle and get out, but find nothing. Of course, a deer can quickly leap out of the wood and bolt across the road to disappear into the brush on the other side, or even an owl or a bat could fly across the road. That story might be easily explained away . . . except when you are there at night, the creepiness of the area makes you doubt the logical reasons.

There have been paranormal groups that have investigated this area. They have gotten EVPs and photographs, too. Have any ever figured out the truth? Not as far as I have seen.

Another person who commented on my blog had said that she had lived in Newport News for a couple of years before moving back to Southampton County. Her boyfriend and she had visited Crawford Road, aka Crybaby Bridge, a few times. In one photograph they had taken, they noticed later a smoky figure of what looked to be a woman in a long dress. They also once caught sight of headlights from some vehicle. The headlights dissipated.

Another witness had gone there one time with her husband to check out if the stories were true. She did get some orbs in her pictures. Nothing else though happened.

Patty Ceran went there during April 2008 with her husband, Dean. They drove under the bridge and kept going. After driving a few minutes and the road not coming out anywhere she told Dean to turn around so they could go back the way the other way. After crossing underneath the overpass again, she made him stop so she could take some pictures. In her first photo, she got a bright white light. She was in front of the bridge and standing beside the car and there was no one else on the road either way. She wondered where the light came from.

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