Excerpts from Haunted Colville Covered Bridge
from Patti Starr’s book Ghosthunting Kentucky
Haunted Colville Covered Bridge
In the late 1700s covered bridges were being built in small towns all over Kentucky. At one point there were over four hundred of these magnificent wooden, covered passages that provided protection for travelers, wagons, cargo, and cattle as they crossed a river or creek. Of all these bridges, there are only thirteen left, and of the thirteen, only four are still open to vehicular traffic. Most of these covered bridges were lost to fire, burned by troops on both sides during the Civil War. Today, all the remaining covered bridges are listed with the National Registry of Historic Places. Stories are told about the bridges as stages for hanging a slave, or hacking off someone’s head, or losing control of a car and crashing into the water below. There are bridge stories about Civil War ambushes and unwanted babies tossed into the water. Such incidents are the source for many ghost stories.
Facts about the Haunted Colville Covered Bridge
It was built in 1877 by Jacob Bower, and it traverses over Hinkston Creek in Bourbon County. The bridge featured truss construction and a multiple king post style with a single 124-foot span. During this era the Kentucky wilderness was covered with an abundance of poplar trees, so the truss structure was built with poplar timbers. After many years, the bridge was in dire need of repairs and was restored by Louis Bower in 1913. His son, Stock, restored and raised the bridge to its present height in 1937. Sadly, the rough-hewn structure that served its community so well was dismantled in 1997 and had to be totally rebuilt. It didn’t open to traffic again until 2001.
Investigating the Haunted Colville Bridge
Once I had collected my information about this haunted location, Chuck and I drove to the Colville Bridge by the way of Paris Pike, one of the most scenic roadways in the Kentucky Bluegrass Region. This quiet route affords spectacular views of horse farms amidst the historic rock fences that line the road for twelve miles.
A blanket of shadows formed around us as we entered the blackness of night along the country road. We turned off onto a more primitive road, and shortly the headlights revealed a bright white-and-green covered bridge directly before us. We pulled off the road and stopped before entering the bridge. I grabbed my flash light and left the car to go stand in the middle of the bridge. It was a cool October evening with a slight breeze that carried the scent of the water below. There was no moon that night so the only light that brightened my path was the torch in my hand. Chuck called out from the car, “Hey, Patti, don’t go too far, I don’t want to lose sight of you.” I yelled back, “I’m okay, don’t worry about me!” and at that moment I felt a slight touch on my shoulder. I jerked around and flashed the light towards where I was standing. Nothing was there. Just about that time, a set of headlights came up behind me, and as I turned I could see that it was the rest of my investigation team. I had decided to invite Pete Eclov and Mary Beth to join us at the bridge. They were two of my newer ghosthunters and needed to get more experience in the field. I knew their expectations would run high, which, to me, seems to render better results on a ghost investigation. It sure did pay off because we started to get results as soon as we began gathering our data.
After we had discussed some of the bridge legends, which included the teenage couple who drowned under the bridge and Ms. Mitchell, we decided to turn on our EMF meters, recorders, and the Ovilus. While walking down the center of the bridge, our EMF meters started beeping, alerting us to a disturbance in the electromagnetic field. Even though the disruption only lasted for a couple of minutes, we were able to get responses to a few of our yes and no questions. The Ovilus, which indicates energy through reciting words, started to talk shortly after the meters registered. As I lifted the Ovilus up, it spouted out, “Car lights,” and we looked at each other in amazement, since one of the stories involved car lights coming up behind a parked car on the bridge. Then I asked if Ms. Mitchell could come through, and shortly after that question the Ovilus said, “Sarah Mitchell.” This name is not programmed into the vocabulary of the Ovilus, so you can understand our astonishment. Mary Beth said, “Are you here with us, Ms. Mitchell?” Pete decided to rewind his audio recorder to see if we got a response to the question. Sure enough, we heard a woman’s voice clearly answer “yes” to Mary Beth’s question.
I always tell people that I do not have proof that ghosts exist, but I’ve been known to get some pretty convincing evidence. I feel the evidence we collected that night at the bridge was a good indication that the Covered Colville Bridge is definitely haunted and worth the trip to investigate.