Ghosts of Ohio
Lore & Legends

Brubaker Bridge

Although currently residing in The Ghosts of Ohio’s "Hard to Believe" files, we are currently conducting experiments to see if we can "meet" the ghost of Brubaker Bridge. In the meantime, here is the story regarding this particular haunting.

According to legend, in the 1930s there was a horrible one-car accident near Brubaker Bridge, which crosses Sams Run Creek in Butler County. Having occurred in such a rural area, there were no witnesses to the crash and the victims were not discovered until later that night by a neighboring farmer.

The farmer immediately summoned help and a total of 12 bodies were recovered. The bodies were all brought to a local funeral parlor, where they were all identified and eventually given proper burials by their respective families. After such a horrible and tragic accident, the town was eager to try and put the incident behind them.

However, shortly after the accident, the farmer who originally discovered the bodies claimed that while crossing Brubaker Bridge one night, his car suddenly dies. Further, he stated that he then heard 13 distinct knocks on his car, followed by a strange hissing noise.

Stories are heard even today of motorists’ car suddenly stalling as they cross Brubaker Bridge, followed by someone or something knocking 13 times on the car. And then, right before the car starts up again, a hissing noise is heard. It is said that the noises are caused by the 13th victim of the 1930s crash—a victim whose body was never recovered. Apparently, his spirit is attempting to coerce a someone into finding his body and give it a proper burial. According to legend, this spirit is forced to beat on cars with stumps that were once his arms... the rest having been devoured by animals. In like fashion, the spirit can only make hissing noises since his tongue has rotted away.

Research Notes:

While this story is very similar to several others that appear on The Ghosts of Ohio site, there are a few aspects of this particular one that lead us to doubt its validity.

First and foremost is the recurrent references to the number 13; the spirit belongs to the 13th victim of the accident and he chooses to rap 13 times on motorists’ cars. In the world of superstition, the number 13 has long been considered an unlucky number. It is alleged to be originally connected with Jesus at the Last Supper (Christ and 12 Apostles).

Another interesting superstition says that if there is a meeting consisting of 13 members, the first to leave will die within a year. Even today, fear of the "unlucky" number continues and most hotels and high-rise buildings skip 13 when numbering their floors. Even the rock group, who used their own unique catalog numbers when they released singles (Queen1, Queen2, etc.) refused to issue a Queen13. When we take into account how wide-spread the stories of the number 13 are, it is not surprising that it has worked its way into many of our folk tales and urban legends.

If we choose to believe that it was just a coincidence that this person was the 13th victim (example, if he had been the 6th victim, the spirit would only knock six times), we still have to consider that the accident is alleged to have occurred in the 1930s, a time when motor vehicles were still in their infancy. During that time, cars and trucks alike were a far cry from the "family-size" vehicles we know today and it appears highly unlikely that 13 people would be able to squeeze into one of them.

Perhaps most telling about this case is that we are dealing with what is termed an "intelligent" spirit. This is best described as a ghost that remains because it has unfinished business to tend to. Here we are dealing with a spirit that desires a proper burial. Most intelligent spirit appear to the observer looking like they did at the moment of their death. And while there are many cases involving spirits missing body parts, it should be noted that this is tied to how the victim died. A good example of this is the spirits of individuals who were decapitated. Brubaker Bridge is unique in that the spirit apparently continues to suffer at the hands of nature and the elements (limbs being eaten away, etc.). In all of the cases that The Ghosts of Ohio have investigated, this is the first time we have encountered this.

Also, while there are several versions of this particular tale, they all describe the appearance of the ghost’s wounds in great detail. Unfortunately, The Ghosts of Ohio has yet to find a single account wherein a witness describes making visual contact with the spirit. In all accounts, the sighting is limited to audible contact. This leads us to believe that the visual description of the spirit was something that was embellished over the years.

Still, The Ghosts of Ohio are not ready to close the book on this case. We have found three different 1930s-era vehicles where is might be possible to fit 13 individuals inside. And we do not like to dismiss a case simply because we have never encountered something like it before. So we will continue to attempt to gather evidence or better yet, entice the spirit of Brubaker Bridge into making contact with us. Perhaps one of our readers has some missing evidence. If so, please let us know. Otherwise, this intriguing tale, like its unfortunate victim, may slowly fade into obscurity.

© The Ghosts of Ohio