Lydia's Bridge

Phantom hitchhiker stories are not uncommon. Most entail someone driving on a road or highway when they come upon a person walking along side, flagging them down for a ride. A kind person might stop to lend a helping hand only to discover the hitchhiker has disappeared. The story of Lydia is no different.

The legend begins in late December 1923 (the 23rd or 31st depending on who you talk to). Lydia was leaving a dance in Raleigh, North Carolina, some say with her date, on her way home. It was raining and she lost control of the car and hit the Southern Railroad Underpass Bridge. In one version, her date died instantly while Lydia attempted to get help and succumbed to her injuries on the side of the road. The other has her dying instantly in the car accident. Is there any truth to the story? It seems there might be.

Back in the 1920s, car accidents weren’t an everyday occurrence as they are today. So, you would think finding records of a girl dying in such a manner would be easy to locate. It seems a person has come across what is believed to be Lydia’s death certificate. It states a Lydia Jane M****** (I know the alleged last name but chose not to publish it here) died December 31, 1923 from “fatal injuries from a motoring accident”. Is it the same Lydia from the legend? It’s unknown but certainly, won’t help to disprove the stories.

Of course, I saved the most interesting part for last. This is a phantom hitchhiker story after all. There have been many reports since 1924 of motorists picking up a young woman in a white dress along US Highway 70. The driver, who is frequently male and alone in the car, spots her walking along the road and stops to help her. She usually gets in to the backseat of the car, gives her name as Lydia and an address to her home. In previous versions, Lydia was riding home with her beau at the time of the accident. However, in some reports, Lydia discusses an argument she had with her beau during the drive. Once the driver arrives at the address, they goes around the car to open her door only to find she has disappeared.

The driver then goes to the door of the house and proceeds to knock in an effort to make sure the young lady is safe inside (sometimes an article of clothing is left in the car waiting to be returned). An elderly woman explains to the person she is Lydia’s mother and when her daughter died. Shows photos of her and goes on to verify the story.

Lydia’s Bridge isn’t a bridge at all. It is actually a culvert covered in vegetation to carry railroad tracks over a dry steam bed and is no longer in use. Many have mistaken (correct me if I’m wrong readers) the nearby bridge known as the “Graffiti Bridge” to be hers. There are several other paranormal accounts associated with the actual Lydia’s Bridge. Some have witnessed a pale woman standing just past the bridge, heard screams and had feelings of being watched.

For more information and photos go to Haunted North Carolina Paranormal Research and Investigations.


Julie Ferguson said…
I love the phantom hitchhiker stories. There are always a big mystery.
Bianca McCray said…
I live 3 hours from there but I could have sworn it wasn't Raleigh but Greensboro. They call her the Greensboro Hitchhiker. I wrote a story about her for Literature class about two years ago.
Andrea Allison said…
Bianca - From the way I read it, She was coming from Raleigh but died in the High Point/Greensboro area. Am I wrong?
Anonymous said…
Its not in Raleigh but in Greensboro/Jamestown area i live 5 minutes away it's still pretty freaky and is always foggy at night there. I learned the story when i was like 6 and it's still pretty freaky everytime i or my friends go by we get chill bumps. Pretty cool place
Anonymous said…
The. Bridge is in Jamestown, a small community between High Point and Greensboro. The underpass is not the one on the road but actually is barely visible now. I grew up there, our house being the only house there at the time. Now apartments dominate that area. It is near the GTCC campis which was the old TB sanitarium. As a teenager in the 60's, at night me and my brother and sister would sneak out and I would wave my arms near the road wearing a white nightgown. My bad. Sorry to any that may have witnessed this "Lydia". I used to beg her to show herself.
Unknown said…
The 1920 map I found PROVES what you call a culvert over a dry stream bed actually IS the original 1916 underpass. Highway 70 was rerouted to the current underpass in the 1940s. The real accident happened at this old underpass, on the old route, on June 20, 1920, and the woman's name was decidedly NOT Lydia, but Annie. Annie Jackson to be precise.
I have documentation to prove this, and will present everything at the Jamestown Library, Oct 25th, 2016 at 7pm.
Unknown said…
Also, the prom/dance story is fiction, as is the Raleigh connection. Made up details. Not one person in the car was in high school, and in fact, 3 of te 4 were significantly older. The only teen in the car was 19, and was NOT thhe one killed.
Unknown said…
I am author Michael Renegar. Lydia, the character of legend, is a composite of 3 or 4 women who died between 1920, and 1922.
As I said before, they weren't coming from Raleigh, and there wasn't any dance involved. Of the women who were amalgamated into "Lydia," Only ONE died on that road, near the underpass. Her name was Annie Louise Jackson, and she died June 20, 1920. What I say is supported by DOCUMENTED facts, not hand-me-dwn tales... This and more will be revealed at the Jamestown Library, Oct. 25, 2016.

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