Haunted Azalia Bridge scene of crime
The village of Azalia, platted in 1931 and believed to be named for the flower, is a short distance south of Columbus on US31. According to local lore the founders had hoped the community would be pure and undefiled, a model of temperance in all aspects.
Unfortunately a young unmarried girl in the community did not live up to the dreams of the founders. She became pregnant, but was able to conceal her sin until spring when the baby was born. Shunned by both her family and the community, she and the baby left the village.
No one knows where she and the baby stayed. Some farmers said they saw them around decaying, abandoned barns. Afraid to enter the town or seek aid from her family, she would scavenge and even steal food to survive.
She must have gone insane. What else could explain what she did with her tiny baby? Not too far from town is the Azalia bridge spanning Sand Creek. Normally, the water should be little more than ankle deep. However, with the melting snow and spring freshets, the creek was running fast and deep with icy cold water. The crazed young mother, holding her baby wrapped in a thin white blanket, stood on the bridge watching the wild currents rushing past. Leaning over the edge, she opened her arms and let the baby fall; she watched as the current carried the bundle away until it was out of sight.
Sometime later a fisherman found the remains of the baby still wrapped securely in its blanket. The haggard mother, wild-eyed, ranting, moaning and crying, was left alone, as was the custom of early-nineteenth-century villages, to wander the countryside and repent. She continue to forage and steal food and found shelter wherever she could, This was a far worse sentence than any court of law could have given.
For many years she lurked around the creek bed and sat at the foot of the Azalia bridge, rocking and wailing. Those who saw her, though frightened, believed she was truly sorry and mourned for the child she had killed.
One day she was seen sitting on the bank, but unlike other times she was not rocking and was silent. She was dead. No one knows who buried her or where. There are those who say if you go to the Azalia Bridge and dare to look over you might see the baby, wrapped tightly in a white blanket, lying at the edge of the water crying for its mother. Wait long enough and you’ll get a glimpse of the desperate, insane mother and her her mournful crying.
Also in Southern Indiana is Story (on State Road 135), read all about the Haunting of Story by Wanda Lou Willis, author of Haunted Hoosier Trails.