Journal News – 10/31/2004

Are They Urban Legends Or Are They True?
A phantom woman, mysterious death at school part of area’s rick spooky folklore

October 31, 2004
By Jen Weaver

You’re driving down an empty road. Rain beats on the roof of your car as you squint through the fog at the road ahead. Suddenly, you see something moving down the side of the road — it’s a young woman wearing a tattered pink dress.

You slow down as she turns to look back at you. She waves her arms furiously, screaming, “Watch out! Be careful!”

Should you stop?

You roll down the window, “Do you need help?”

“Could you give me a ride?”

“Where are you headed?”

“Not far, just up the road. I’m trying to get to the prom to see my boyfriend.”

You let her in the car, as you wonder what school has its prom in October. You notice there’s something strange about her.

“Be careful around the turn,” she says. “Stop here.”

There are no houses in sight, but she motions for you to stop the car. “Are you sure?”

She smiles as she gets out of the car. “Thank you. Please be careful.”

She walks toward a gate that you figure must lead to her house. Through the fog you can just make out a sign — “Rose HIll Cemetery.”

The woman waves, then disappears into the foggy night.

This story has been passed down at campsites and slumber parties. No one really knows how it started, but several Web sites agree where it started — in Butler County.

The young woman, supposedly killed in an automobile accident, who wanders down the road some nights to warn motorists of the danger at the site of her crash has been spotted on Princeton Road in Fairfield Township in Hamilton.

The Ohio Exploration Society,, lists other spooky tales from the area.

Death at the middle school

Another spooky legend is set at what once was the Fairfield Middle School. It is not known when the story began. It is likely set in the old middle school building, which is the current Fairfield Intermediate School.

As the story goes, a 12-year-old boy got in trouble with the principal and was afraid to face his parents. After school ended, he went to the restroom in the 200 wing of the school near a Spanish room. He was found dead the next morning, apparently killed by a piece of a broken mirror.

The spooky hook is that if you stay after school hours, sometimes you can hear his screams coming from the restroom, according to the Ohio Exploration Society’s Web site. But is there any truth behind this legend?

Fairfield Township Police Chief Richard St. John said he vaguely remembered hearing about someone dying in the school, but he doesn’t remember any specifics.

Neither Gayle Niehaus, Intermediate School principal, nor Lt. Colburn of the Fairfield Police Department, said they had heard of anything unusual happening at the school.

The Screaming Bridge

Colburn did, however, recognize one of the legends, which is set outside Fairfield Township on Maud Hughes Road between Princeton and Millikin roads was the Screaming Bridge.

Several spooky stories are set at the bridge, which Colburn said is not surprising because the bridge had a 90 degree turn over railroad tracks and a dip at the north end. The bridge has recently been redone, he said.

Colburn shared one version of the Screaming Bridge tale recently with his son.

“I remember I heard that a woman was suspended by her arms off the bridge, down over the tracks, and you can hear the screaming from right before the train hit her,” he said.

And if you turn your car off while on the bridge, it won’t start again, said Colburn, though he said he never tried it.

Ohio Exploration Society added some twists to the tale. A car carrying a man and woman stalled on the railroad trestle one night. The man went to get help and came back to find the woman hanged from the bridge. If you stop your car on the bridge at night, you can hear the couple talking, a woman scream and then a man scream, according to the Web site.

Another version of the story goes like this: On October 24, 1909, two engineers were scalded to death on a steam freight train. People have reported seeing the two men walking down the tracks, according to the Ohio Exploration Society Web site. A phantom train and orbs of light have also been reported at the Screaming Bridge, according to the Forgotten Ohio Web site.

Calls from the graveyard

Although no one could confirm that there was any truth behind any of these legend, St. John said he does remember something strange from his 25 years at the Fairfield Police Department.

“Very rarely on midnight shifts we got calls about people hearing things or seeing suspicious people at an old cemetery on River Road,” St. John said

He did not remember the name of the cemetery, but said it was on the border to Colerain Township. The Richards-Gilbert Cemetery fits his description.

He said any time the police officers would investigate the calls nothing was ever found to explain the mysterious events.

And all of the legend of the Fairfield area continue to go unexplained.

Copyright © 2004, Cox Newspapers, Inc. – The Journal-News

Thank you to Jen Weaver for mentioning the OES repeatedly in her article about the legends around Hamilton, Ohio.