Ghosts of Ohio
Lore & Legends

Esther Hale

There is a bridge is Columbiana County where every August, the ghost of a bride-to-be waits, hoping to find someone who will stop and help her. But before deciding to hop in your car and rush out to the bridge, you might want to read a bit further and find out the story behind this ghostly bride.

This story begins in August in the now-deserted town of Sprucevale. The year was 1837 and Esther Hale was preparing for her wedding. Esther spent most of that morning happily prancing around in her new wedding dress. This was to be the happiest day of her lifeóa day she had looked forward to since she was a child.

In all of the versions of this story, there is never a mention given to the name of Estherís groom-to-be. And perhaps that is to the benefit of this young man, for he never showed up for the wedding.

Esther spent the remainder of that hot August day waiting for her future husband to arrive and whisk her away to a new life. But as the summer moon climbed higher in the sky, Esther was forced to face reality; he wasnít coming. And so, Esther Hale quietly walked into her cabin and locked the door. She then pulled all the draped closed and withdrew from the world.

Several days later, when Esther still had not been seen in town, friends went out to check on her. They found the sullen Esther amid the wedding decorations, still dressed in her gown. Her friends sat with her a while and urged Esther to change clothes and come outside with them. Esther politely refused and then asked her friends to leave. Reluctantly, they obliged.

From time to time, friends would continue to check in on Esther. They would always find her alone, sitting among the now-yellowing decorations. And while her guests were sometimes able to get Esther to eat a little, they were unsuccessful in their attempts to get her to remove her wedding dress.

Several months later, a passerby noticed a door to Estherís cabin was open. Seeing that snowdrifts had built up inside the doorway, he notified authorities. When police arrived, they found the decaying body of Esther Hale, still dressed in her wedding gown.

After Estherís funeral (some say she was actually buried in her wedding gown), stories began to circulate that have survived to this day. Motorists crossing the bridge over Beaver Creek, near the spot where Estherís cabin once stood, claim that the decaying figure of a woman in a tattered white dress has lunged at their cars. Oddly enough, this disturbing figure is only glimpsed on August 12th, the date of Estherís ill-fated wedding.

There is another version of this story, which states that if Estherís ghosts should touch you, she will become young again... and you will instantly grow old and die. Just something to consider should your travels ever take you over the Beaver Creek Bridge on August 12th.

For more stories of ghosts in the Beaver Creek area, please visit our Beaver Creek State Park page.

© The Ghosts of Ohio