Van Sant Crybaby Bridge – New Hope, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura
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New Hope, Pennsylvania

Van Sant Crybaby Bridge

A historic covered bridge is but one example of an oddly prevalent American urban legend. 

As the legend goes, many years ago a young woman got pregnant out of wedlock. Her family wanted nothing to do with her and her child. So upset was she by this that after giving birth, she crept out in the middle of the night with her baby in her arms and headed to the nearby bridge. Once there, she flung her baby into the water and then hung herself from the bridge’s rafters.

This particular legend refers to the Van Sant Bridge in southeastern Pennsylvania, but different iterations of it are associated with several different so-called “Crybaby Bridges” across the United States. Whatever the particular details might be, the core elements of the myth remain the same: a child (or multiple children) met an untimely death at the bridge sometime in the past; the bridge is therefore now haunted, and the haunting manifests in the form of ghostly cries of the departed children that can still be heard to this day.

In the case of the Van Sant Bridge, the story goes that if you park your car in the middle of the bridge you can hear not only the wail of the poor forlorn babe, but also the toes of the hanging woman scraping your car roof. One intrepid ghost hunter, however, surmises that the crying sound actually comes from red foxes that apparently inhabit the area.

The bridge was built in 1875 and spans Pidcock Creek. It is also known as Beaver Dam Bridge. Apart from the unwed mother of the crybaby legend, the Van Sant Bridge is also reputed to have been a hanging place for horse thieves.