Ghosts of Ohio
Lore & Legends

Elmore Ghost Rider

The legend of the Elmore Rider opens on March 21st with our hero returning from a successful tour of duty in the war. The moment he steps inside his house, he greets his parents, throws big bags down, and hops on his motorcycle, riding off to surprise his girlfriend who lives just on the other side of the bridge nearby. As our hero reaches his girlfriend's house, he notices movement from her bedroom. Making his way to her window, the young man prepares to knock and surprise her…and is horrified to see her in the arms of another man. Enraged, he climbs back aboard his motorcycle peels out of the driveway, spraying dirt and rocks from his rear tire. As our hero tears down the road towards the bridge, he realizes too late that he is driving far too fast to negotiate the terrain. Tires squealing, the man slides off the road and into a barbed wire fence, decapitating himself in the process.

Today, it is said that if you go to the bridge on March 21st, the anniversary of our hero death, his ghost will appear and reenact his fateful drive to the bridge. Just flash your headlights three times and shortly after that, a ghostly white headlight will appear and move towards your car. Just before the light reaches the bridge, it will disappear.

Of course, just the mention of having to flash your headlights three times makes the whole story sound like an urban legend. And to be honest, the story of the Elmore Rider might very well have faded into obscurity save for the "research" of one man; Richard Gill.

Richard Gill is a man who has managed to become something of a folklore hero as he is the one said to have conducted the only "scientific experiments" related to the Elmore Rider. According to Gill, in 1969 he and an unnamed friend drove out to the bridge on March 21st and attempted to summon the Rider. They were successful and the light passed by their car. Excited, Gill and his friend decided to try an experiment. Stretching a long piece of string across the road, they once again flashed their lights and summoned the Rider. Once again, the ghostly headlight appeared and moved down to the section of road with the string across it. After the light had disappeared, Gill went and inspected the string and found that it was still intact and unbroken, even though the ghostly light appeared to have passed right through it.

Undaunted, Gill decided to go a step further and asked his friend to stand in the middle of the road to see if he could make out anything specific about the ghostly light. The friend agreed and took his place in the middle of the road while Gill summoned the Rider. As Gill watched, the light appeared in the distance and began moving towards his friend. As the light reached the section of road where his friend was standing, Gill lost sight of his friend. When the light finally disappeared, Gill ran to the place in the road where he had left his friend, only to find it vacant. Eventually, Gill found his friend lying in a nearby ditch, semi-conscious and disoriented. He had no recollection as to how he had gotten there. At that point, Gill wisely decided that the experiments were over for the evening.

Such is the famous story that has allowed the Elmore Rider to linger on. As with any good ghost story, though, there are questions. For example, no one has even come up with the Rider's real name or for an explanation as to why you have to flash your headlights. Indeed, even the very location of the bridge in question is open to debate. But when all you need to see a ghost is a calendar and working headlights, what have you got to lose? So go ahead; drive out to the bridge of your choice in Elmore on March 21st, flash your lights three times and see what happens. Just a bit of advice, though; try not to stand in the middle of the road.

© The Ghosts of Ohio