Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Kinton's Bridge Mystery

This is the current covered bridge, built in 1902. The previous structure
was reputed to have been haunted

The following account of the haunting of Kinton's Bridge, appeared in the Bedford Inquirer (PA) on January 30, 1874:

And now we stumble upon a mystery in Harrison Township. About six miles west of this place is a bridge known as Kinton's bridge, which spans the Juniata, and is a spot of no mean significance in the history of the township. By many of the citizens, for many years, this bridge has been dreaded, and there are those who rather than cross it, would wade the sparkling stream at a temperature of 20 degrees, not that the superstructure is faulty, nor that there is any petty jealousy because Smith or Jones built the bridge, but because it is believed that the devil or some other body or thing who has not the interests and happiness of the citizens at heart, wields a terrible, evil, magic influence over it.

Many wonderful, and if they did not come from men of unquestionable veracity, we would say slightly incredible, stories are told concerning what has happened in this famous bridge, but as we have not the space to recount them all, we will give the latest sensation.

One afternoon, some time since, a farmer started with a load of corn to Mann's Choice, and on his way had to pass through the bridge. He was a man not given to fear nor to the belief in spooks, ghosts and hobgoblins. He arrived at the town in safety, unloaded his corn and started for home. Just as the sun was disappearing in the western horizon, his wagon, drawn by two powerful horses, entered the bridge, when all of a sudden they came to a halt-- whack went the whip about the legs of the fiery steeds, who strained every nerve to go forward, but it was a dead stall. The driver dismounted and examined the wagon, found that it had not caught against anything, and proceeded to lead his team, but to his great astonishment the wagon would not move.

He unhitched the horses, led them out of the bridge and tied them to the fence. He then returned with the intention of backing the wagon out, but he found that the wheels were firmly set, the tongue was immovable, and the light bed which he had handled many a time without assistance, was so solidly fixed that he could not move even the one corner. Night came on, and with it anathemas loud and deep. He declared he could not go home without his wagon, to be laughed at by his neighbors. The services of a man and boy who lived near the bridge were brought into requisition. They had a lantern. The trio did all in their power to loose the wagon, but it remained as stationary as though it were a part of the bridge. Finally they gave up in despair. The farmer had already mounted his horse preparatory to starting for home, when the chains attached to the tongue rattled. He went back-- the magic spell was broken, and the wagon followed in the wake of the horses as though nothing had occurred. The affair created a wonderful sensation in the neighborhood, and to this day is a dark mystery.

So late as one night last week two young men in a buggy, drawn by a powerfully built family horse, approached the bridge, and when about two-thirds through, their progress was suddenly and mysteriously stopped. The horse put forth his best licks, but the buggy remained firm. The gentlemen alighted and discovered that their vehicle had grown fast to the bridge and would not give anywhere. After half an hour's pulling and tugging, they concluded to unhitch and go home. When the horse was about half unhitched the buggy became loose and they went on their way rejoicing. We do not pretend to give any reasons for these mysteries, but we are willing to swear that we get our information from as reliable men as Bedford County can produce, and that they are candid in their conviction.

The covered bridge spans the Juniata River (the Raystown Branch, south of Raystown Lake). Known to locals as Kinton's Bridge (also known as the Heirline Covered Bridge), is the longest covered bridge still standing in Bedford County, PA. It is located on the site of an earlier bridge, which was said to have been haunted.

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