John W. Smith designed and built a one-lane bridge to provide passage over Gold Brook (so named for flakes of gold that were found on its banks) for residents of nearby Stowe, Vermont in 1844. He dubbed it the Gold Brook Bridge but it is more commonly known as "Emily's Bridge" due to the legend and strange occurrences shrouding the structure.
According to the story, a beautiful young woman named Emily (sometimes called Emily Smith) grew up in the town of Stowe at some point in the nineteenth century. She didn't possess the inability to attract a suitor. Her abusive and overprotective family kept her from being courted by any of the young men in town. However, it didn't stop a young handsome man (sometimes known as Donald) from capturing her heart one day why doing chores.
Madly in love, Emily introduced him to her parents, but his poverty status dissuaded them from allowing her to be with him. Thus, had the young man dragged from their home while Emily watched in despair. He was determined to be with her and met Emily while she was away from the house doing chores. Their love deepened until he asked Emily to run away with him and elope. Her heart overflowed with joy. Not only would she be marrying the man of her dreams, but he would be taking her away from this oppressive life. They made plans to meet at The Gold Brook Bridge the following night.
Unfortunately, her plans didn't remain a secret for long. On the night the couple was to elope, her parents sent local thugs to find her beloved and beat him unconscious, preventing him from joining her at the rendezvous. Emily arrived at the bridge and waited. The night grew cold. Emily collapsed and began to sob upon realizing he was not coming to claim her. The thought of returning to her abusive parents filled her with rage. Emily began to pound the sides of the wooden bridge until her hands were bloodied. Unwilling to return to her living nightmare, Emily untied the rope wrapped around her belongings. Then, tied one end of the rope to a rafter. The other around her neck and hung herself in the cold night. The next morning, her lover arrived to find Emily dead. Brokenhearted, he cut her down and buried her near the bridge.
Other versions of this legend has Emily jumping off the bridge, being trampled to death by a horse-drawn carriage or even accidentally driving her own carriage over the side after misjudging the corner. No matter the variation there are no historical documentation any of these stories ever happened. Supposedly, this bridge's haunted status became known after a high school student wrote a paper about doing a Ouija board session on it and an entity named "Emily" presented itself in 1968. About year later, residents of Stowe passed a resolution to forever maintain the Gold Brook Bridge.
Many people have experienced paranormal phenomenon on Emily's Bridge. Reports include being scratched and finding scratch marks on their cars, and dragging sounds across the roof of their vehicle as they drive across. Others have reported seeing a white apparition or a young female spirit inside and around the area mostly at night, heard sounds of Emily sobbing or a voice crying for help and noises such as footsteps, ropes tightening and a girl screaming. Some believe the bridge is actually haunted by three entities: Emily, a child who was lynched on the bridge and a third unknown spirit. Reports state the height of activity takes place between midnight and 2 a.m. and the spirit(s) has a tendency to gravitate towards women sometimes not in a good way.
Emily's Bridge Official Website