You’re driving through the dark and cold of Maryland in the fall. Beautiful leaves and colors are muted in the moonlight, and you come across a covered bridge. In crossing the bridge, you decide to turn your car off, because you’ve heard the legends. If you turn your lights out and honk, behind you in the rear view mirror is said to appear the silhouette in the night of a swinging body from the rafters, hanged over a century ago and still echoing in the enclosed covered bridge across the Little Gunpowder Falls. Would you be brave enough to cross the bridge, knowing that spirits and specters still haunt the eerie covered structure?
Today, we explore the legends and hauntings of the Jericho Covered Bridge in Joppatowne, Maryland.
The covered bridge was built in 1865 as a crossing for the Little Gunpowder Falls. It’s been renovated over the years to keep it modern and current as commuters use the bridge to access Hartford County from Baltimore. In 1978, the bridge attained National Historic Landmark status, ensuring it will remain for generations to come. But it’s the previous generations who have turned it into a living legend with tales and stories about its history.
Some say the rafters were used as makeshift gallows for enslaved peoples, outlaws, and civil war prisoners of war. While the timeline doesn’t line up with all of the death it’s said to have witnessed, as the civil war ended the year it was built, those who believe say the swinging bodies appear in the darkness just the same.
While driving across the bridge, many people have reported their vehicle stalling mid-way through the 80 foot structure. Uneasy feelings and noises would follow, potentially with an appearance of a ghostly figure bathed in the moonlight and silhouetted against the light outside the bridge. Some believe that a grisly car accident in the bridge might be the reason for the hauntings, with souls trapped in the covered bridge to this day.
Another rumor about the Jericho covered bridge includes a hermit that homesteaded near the bridge in the 1970s, with a taste for hitchhikers and hikers in the area, literally. Legend says he would dismember and eat those unlucky enough to cross his path by crossing the bridge. Finally, another legend says that if you hear a lullaby being sung in the echoing bridge, it’s the spirit of a mother who lost her child in the waters below, still searching in the afterlife for her infant. Some even say it was the mother who caused the death of her child, throwing them into the water and hanging herself from the bridge’s rafters.
You might see those bodies swinging from the bridge if you’re not careful, or if you’re seeking a thrill. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you of the paranormal activity you might experience if you cross the bridge at night.
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Born in Death Valley and raised on the prairie, Deborah is a Wyoming-based paranormal researcher and a senior at the University of Wyoming, studying Communication. Her interests lie in folklore, history, rhetorical analysis and research. With an obvious love for ghost stories, frequently those interests combine with her work on Ghostlandia.