Sunday, April 13, 2008

Folklore & Fact

"Folklore is the body of expressive culture, including tales, music, dance, legends, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, customs, and so forth within a particular population comprising the traditions (including oral traditions) of that culture, subculture, or group" states Wikipedia. Ghost stories and local legends often fall in this general catagory. Some folklore has a small grain of original truth around which layers of story have been wound. The better the storyteller, the longer the time, and the more it is told the thicker the layers and the farther removed one is from the grain of truth at the core.
A paranormal investigator must be able, and willing, to tear away those false layers to find the truth of the tale. Sometimes this is not easy. Sometimes the better story is the one that has evolved over time...embellished and enriched by creative minds for many years. The "truth" may lack excitement or conflict and may be as flat as an old tire.
Some tales are purposely created by the bored or the mischievous. These chronicle things that never happended, or never happened in the manner suggested. Some were "boogyman" tales designed to keep children away from unsafe places. Some were created by criminal types to scare off those who might come around to interfer with their "business" dealings or to simply exert power over those more timid.

No, there is no "Real" Oklahoma CryBaby Bridge

" Kelleyville - The real "Cry Baby Bridge" - The original cry baby bridge is in the town of Kellyville. It has spawned many urban legends, (Kiefer, Schulter, Catoosa, and there are 3 more fake ones in Kellyville.)The road has been completely re-routed, and the bridge is no longer standing. The original legend goes like this: Legends states that if you go there you can sometimes hear, or see the woman looking for her baby in the form of a glowing soft blue light. " -- Shadowlands, and numerous other sites that lifted information in total.
Despite some postings like this on various websites this is one story that has to be re-evaluated with facts. Debate on the web as to the location of the "real" Crybaby Bridge in Oklahoma totally ignores the folkloric root of this tale. It is in folklore that the meaning and identification of the bridge must be found.

The story of the Crybaby Bridge always begs the question, which one? Such bridges have been identified through local legend in almost every state from New York to Ohio to Oklahoma and further west. Since the story did not originate in Oklahoma claims that the "real" bridge is in Oklahoma are untrue.

Experts have seen that in the western versions, there is an apparent relationship to the Hispanic tale of La Llorona. This old legend tells of a woman who drowned her children to be with her young lover, who in turn deserted her. The contemporary case of Susan Smith comes to mind as a modern example of just the same type of tragedy. This tale may date back to pre-colonial Mexico and refer to an early native deity.

In these crybaby bridge tales a frequent motif of the shamed daughter rejected by her father, where a baby and daughter died (either through cold or through drowning) a memorial to lost innocence. An old Irish folk song may have helped shape the development of this legend.
“Mary of the Wild Moors” is a haunting tune that has the elements of the shamed daughter, the infant baby, the rejecting father, and the lingering cry heard in the place of their death The cold stoop of the cottage.

Although, many areas have their haunted hollows and stretches of eerie road or wood (one such place was recorded near El Reno in the early 1900 , the sight of an alleged murder). Many of these bridge tales, by comparison, seemed to have all arisen during the 1920's and 1930's.

If, as many believe, urban legends, are as much morality tales cautioning about behavior, then the often dangerous bridges of the early years, coupled with the moral threat posed by a newly independently mobile youth, could easily have led to the development of this tale and explain its enduring appeal.

Oklahoma, like Ohio, has several bridges identified as a Cry Baby Bridge. Most have been closed down over the years, lost as roads were rerouted, or simply replaced by newer bridges. I visited one alleged sight in southwest Oklahoma County. It was down an old dirt road and had been closed for decades. The metal had rusted and the wooden planks were beginning to weaken.

It crossed a narrow ravine where a tiny trickle of dirty water flowed decorated here and there with the debris of cast off appliances and car parts. An old concrete pipe in one side of the ravine served to spill out rain water from somewhere.
In the clear light of day I could hear the wind sighing through the pipe, and knew that in the dead of night it might sound like the whimpering cries of a child, or the mournful pleas of a woman in pain.
Looking around at the lonely road, its tall stand of scrub grasses and volunteer trees, circadian hums playing background music to my musings, I wished I too had come in the night. This was something to be savored and remembered before it too disappeared into myth.

One day the bridge would be gone, replaced by a staid modern bridge, and it would loose something along the way. The modern replacement bridges, with their multiple lanes of harsh glaring concrete with stable, unimaginative barriers spanning waterways the drivers can no longer even see. They are traversed by hurried traffic with no time to pause and enjoy. Every new bridge seems designed to defy any legend, no matter how romantic and enduring, to linger..
--Marilyn A. Hudson. Shadow Tales of Oklahoma (2005-used by permission).

Paranormal Humor

Is there a "Satanic" connection between thunderstorms, and other extreme weather, and the paranormal?Visit for a lighthearted look at the correlations between extreme weather and extreme paranormal activity.
Spoiler alert: keep tongue firmly in cheek while reading!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Visit the OPD web and cast your vote for the : Best Haunted Locale, Best UFO Report, and Best Bigfoot or Mystery Creature Epsiode of the State.

The Oklahoma Paranormal Directory Online

Looking for hauntings, ghosts, bigfoot, scary stories, UFO's and events related to Oklahoma? There is now online a directory designed to be a gateway to help seekers find the information they desire. It is put together by a professional information broker (librarian), supported by several bloggers, authors, and those interested in the mysterious, strange, bizarre, and unexplained in Oklahoma. The OKLAHOMA PARANORMAL DIRECTORY has a goal of providing current, quality, and balanced information.