Cry Baby Bridge
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 13:00:18 -0400
Subject: Cry-baby Bridge
This story is one more piece of Northeastern folklore I’ve heard over the years. The actual bridge is in Maryland (within an hour of Baltimore, closer to Annapolis). I originally heard the story from a friend of mine who has actually been to the bridge. (A little bit better than the classic “friend of a friend”, I guess.) She is not sure if she experienced actual “phenomena” — or if she was unconsciously fulfilling pre-existing expectations. Here’s the story:
Legend has it that there was a young woman, 17 years old, in the 70’s living in this area of Maryland. Her family was very conservative (in some versions, her father was a preacher). Well, she had a bit of a wild streak, and liked to drink and smoke cigarettes (tobacco and otherwise). There was one particular boy she took a fancy to, perhaps because he fit her roguish image, and they began dating. Soon, she became pregnant. Knowing that her father would be very upset, and probably throw her out of his house — she became distraught. She asked her boyfriend for help, only to learn that he wanted nothing more to do with her or the baby. If she tried to press matters, he would deny that he had fathered the child. Seeing no other choice, she decided to stay with an aunt in Virginia for a while. She hoped that once the baby was born, her father would soften up and take her and the child back into his home.
The aunt was sympathetic, but firmly told her that she could only stay until the baby was born. The aunt had many children of her own, and didn’t feel she had enough space for two more. The girl agreed. All went well, and she had a healthy baby 8 1/2 months later.
One night soon after, she packed up their few belongings, worked up her courage, and left for her father’s house. There, things took a turn for the worse. He was furious that she had not told him all this time. What made him even angrier was the public scandal this would cause. He viciously berated (and some say beat) her until she ran from the house in fear of her life. She took her baby with her. Hysterical, she had no idea where to run, and ended up at a nearby bridge. Looking down into the cool black water, sparkling in the moonlight, she began to see an answer to her problems. At the time, it must have seemed like the only solution. She and the baby would leave this miserable life together. As they plunged into the forgiving waters, they did just that. The bodies were never found.
If you go to the bridge on a cool dark night; especially if you’re in emotional pain or distress, it is said that the baby’s cries can be heard. Some say they are carried by the cold wind; others say they emanate from the depths of the cool water. No matter, they are reportedly unmistakable.
Now for my friend’s experience:
She and another female friend went late one November night. It was still warm for that time of year, but seemed to get nippier once they got closer to the water. (No surprise there, as humidity generally makes the air feel cooler). She said that she was in fine spirits, but that her friend had just broken up with a boyfriend and was pretty miserable. The parked, got out of the car, and walked to the middle of the bridge. She said they had been there for about ten minutes when the wind kicked up. Her friend immediately heard cries that she believes to be those of the baby. My friend said that she herself thought the wind sounded very strange, sorrowful and whiney — but that she wouldn’t call it the unmistakable cries of a baby. They both agreed that the place was depressing, and making the second friend’s sadness intensify, so they left.
This story reminds me of “La Llorona” which I know had been discussed on afg. I believe there was also a song written about this story featuring a different part of the country. Can anyone think of local legends similar to this from other parts of the country? I’ve only heard it about Maryland and points South.
Hope you enjoyed,