Lydia's Bridge
Greensboro, North Carolina
Just outside of Greensboro, at the U.S. Highway 70 underpass there has said to have been the ghost of a
beautiful young girl who has been appearing here since 1923. She stands next to the US Highway 70
Underpass in a white evening gown and waves frantically for someone to stop and pick her up. Those
hapless travelers who do are introduced to a young woman who says her name is Lydia and she always ask
them to please take her to an address in High Point. She always tells them that she has spent the evening at
a dance in Raleigh and is anxious to get home, having run into car trouble on the way. Just as the drivers
approach the house, the girl always vanishes from their car, never opening the door and getting out. There
are many versions to the story but the most common one that I have heard is that Lydia was at a dance one
night and was trying to get home. She was apparently hit by a car and now she hitches rides home from the
bridge. When the person gets her to her house, she disappears. She never says anything other than her
name is Lydia, she needs to get home, and her address. Either way, she died in 1923. The road that linked
High Point and Greensboro was a different road than is there now. There are train tracks that are the
reason for the bridge. The bridge now is called the graffiti bridge, for obvious reasons. To the left of this
bridge, about 40 ft away and hidden in massive amounts of kudzu, is where the original bridge is, and it's
Lydia's bridge. One report of a group of friends in the 80’s that would venture there had two girls in this
group and every time they would get close to the bridge, the girls would pass out. Some say that Lydia is
merely an urban legend but more information has come out recently that proves that Lydia was a real
person.
There are many variations of this story. Some say that Lydia was in High School and that the dance was
the prom. Others say that Lydia was a student at High Point University. Either way, the story of Lydia’s
Ghost is a spooky one that has been passed down over the years. Lydia’s Bridge is also a popular
attraction where locals and tourists alike hope to catch a glimpse of the infamous Lydia. The bridge is
rumored to be the spot of the accident that snatched Lydia’s life. Many people have reported seeing a
woman in white standing by the bridge. Screams have also been heard from beneath the old and now
overgrown bridge. The bridge is now nearly 50 ft from the new overpass that leads into Jamestown, which
makes Lydia’s efforts to get home even more difficult. But Lydia remains. At least that what many locals
will tell you. Some say Lydia is still trying to get home from the dance. They believe that one day she may
find her way home.
Lydia's Bridge is an on US-70 A or High Point Road, just south of Jamestown.

From I-85 South/Highway 70, take exit 118, which is also business 70.

From this road, takefirst exit you come for Jamestown / Sedgefield, and turn right at the top of the exit on
to Vickery Chapel Road.

Go about half a mile to the traffic light where Vickery Chapel Road veers off to the left. Take that left, go
another mile, and you'll come to High Point Road. Take a left on to High Point Road, the road curves
around and goes under a railway underpass near the "Welcome to Jamestown" sign.

There's a turn-out spot on your right where you can park. Lydia's Bridge is the old underpass there on the
right, just through some trees.
Directions
On certain rainy nights, where US 70-A twists around a sweeping curve that passes by an old, overgrown
underpass, drivers will see a young woman in a white evening dress standing by the side of the road,
desperately trying to flag down a passing car. If anyone pulls over to help the young lady, she climbs
meekly into the back seat of the car and explains that her name is Lydia, and that she’s just been to a
dance and now she’s trying to get home. She gives the driver an address not too far away, and he kindly
agrees to take her there. The driver may try to engage Lydia in conversation, but she seems distracted and
in a world of her own, so he just leaves her in a respectful silence and concentrates on the road ahead.

When the car pulls in to the address that the young woman gave, the chivalrous driver invariably hops out
to open the door for her — only to discover that she has vanished.
Perplexed, the man goes to the door, where an old woman answers. The man explains that he’s picked up a
young lady named Lydia by the overpass who asked to be brought to this address, but she’s no longer in
the car. He wonders if she may have run out before he could open the door, and he just wants to know if
she’s safe and if everything is as it should be.

A faint, pained smile of recognition passes over the old woman’s face, as she reaches for a picture in a
silver frame sitting on a table by the door. It’s a photograph of the young woman the man drove to the
house. “Lydia was my daughter,” the old woman says, “She died in a car wreck by that overpass in 1923.
You’re not the first one, and I suppose you won’t be the last. Every so often, her spirit flags down a passing
driver. I suppose she still doesn’t understand what happened to her. I suppose she’s still trying to get
home.”

With vanishing hitchhikers, like any oral tradition, these stories have shifted through the years. A few
central points of the North Carolina legend remain stable – the girl’s white dress, her sitting in the back
seat, and the fact that it’s raining seem to turn up in every version. It’s only relatively recently, when the
influence of the internet began to give our oral culture a more static format, that the variant where the girl
is named Lydia and specifically identified with the overgrown bridge has become the most often told one.

Versions of the story circulating in the Sixties usually insisted that the girl’s name was “Mary” and that
she was trying to return home to Greensboro, having attended a dance in Raleigh, and the point where the
driver picks her up is usually given as somewhere along US 70. But the bonus of having a specific, and
genuinely creepy, destination associated with the story seems to have fixed our homegrown hitchhiker
halfway to High Point and perpetually flagging down passing motorists from Lydia’s Bridge. The fact that
Lydia’s Bridge is not actually a bridge, but a culvert to carry the railroad tracks over a now-dry stream
bed is accounted for, in the wonderful way that oral tradition compensates for unhelpful reality, by the
story’s usually specifying that the road “has been rerouted.” Recently, the tidbit confirming that a ghost
hunter found the death certificate for a “Lydia Jane M       ” who died on December 23 (or 31st) 1923 from
“fatal injuries from a motoring accident” has been circulating with online versions of the story.

So what does the story of the phantom hitchhiker mean? Why do we keep telling it time and time again? Its
probably worth noticing that most versions of the story place the accident sometime in the 1920s, a time
when the death of a young woman in an automobile accident would have been a relative rarity, and not the
unfortunately common occurrence it is on today’s overcrowded roads. There may be similar folk memories
of that first, fatal accident which took the life of a young woman from the town kept alive in the phantom
hitchhiker stories. There also may be something in the way the story captures the excitement of a teenager’
s first few years driving, where making the journey from Raleigh to Greensboro alone at night can seem
like an adventure and where anything is possible — even picking up a hitchhiker who died nearly a century
ago.
The Legend
Lydia's story has been one of the more fascinating stories I've come across in my more than fifteen years
researching the paranormal. There have been many ups and downs in the case such as a few years ago
when I came across the information about a Lydia Jane M, who was born in 1904 in High Point, North
Carolina and died on December 31, 1923 from an automobile crash. I never found anything else out and
the source never added to it. Still I was pretty convinced that this might be her. Just recently I came
across the information that a woman did die in a car crash at the original 1916  railroad underpass on
June 20, 1920. However, her name was not Lydia, nor was she a teenager on her way home from a dance.
She also did not live in High Point, and her parents were both dead for years when she was killed.

The woman killed in 1920, which was the only documented fatality of the sort, was 35 year old Miss
Annie L.Jackson, who lived at "Mama Bertie" Gannt's boarding House at 201 North Davie Street in
Greensboro. The driver was Joseph Calvin Hutchinson, who fled the scene. The car did not hit a tree or
anything else. It flipped on its top on the rain slicked road near the underpass, and Miss Jackson was
thrown, fracturing her skull, and dying almost immediately. This information has been proven as
historical fact, borne out by a death certificate, and newspaper articles in the Greensboro Patriot and
High Point Enterprise.

"Lydia" is a composite character, put together from the stories of 4 or 5 different women and young
girls, some with ties to Jamestown, who died in Guilford County, 1916 - 1928. This includes 18 year old
Lena Mary Farrington, who died in a car crash on Winston Road on Feb. 25, 1922. Miss Farrington was
from High Point and she is buried in Oakwood Cemetery (Jackson is in Holt's Chapel, Greensboro) in
High Point, where the legend has "Lydia" buried. People mistakenly place her death in Jamestown
simply because of confusion.
The possibility exists that her middle name was in some "Lydia" form such as
Ludia or Louise and with the dialect of the time could have been mistaken Lydia.
From an interview with local author and ghost hunter Michael Renegar, who basically solved Lydia's mystery.
"We checked death records from 1900 to 1938 looking for the name Lydia. So, I began to think it's either a
myth or her name was something else," Renegar said.

He came across an old Greensboro Patriot article dated June 21, 1920 -- a date consistent with the time
period for the Lydia legend. The article is about a fatal car crash that happened the night before.

"It was a rush job with misspellings, mistakes. Four people were in the car, and they were on High Point
road. The car lost control on the rain-slicked road and overturned. This young woman was thrown from
the car, hit her head and died almost instantly. But her name was not Lydia... her name was Annie L.
Jackson."

Jackson's death record shows at the time of the crash, she was 30 years old and lived in Greensboro.
Renegar found out her address matches that of an old boarding house. So, he believes the car was
traveling toward Greensboro -- not High Point -- the night of the crash. He thinks that piece of the puzzle
explains why a ghost still lurks there, because she's still trying to get home.

"She's on the side of the road, as if she wishes to be taken to High Point. Of course, Annie (Jackson)
realizes we're going the wrong way again! And, she disappears."

But will solving the mystery spoil the story?

"The story resonates with people. Everyone wants to go home. If this is Annie (Jackson), and the mystery
is solved...maybe she can move on and not be there anymore, though the story will still be there."
The True Story
Photos
Annie Jackson
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.
There have been two different versions of Lydia. During daylight or nights that are normal, Lydia is
somewhat tranquil and as normal looking as possible. On rainy nights she appears with a more frightening
appearance. She's extremely injured, terrified, sad, and desperate. Some say she is reliving the aftermath
of the crash. One story that has been told is that of two young men that stopped to pick her up and left
hurriedly because she seemed to be angry and had a negative personality.
There are reports that in 2008, efforts were made to help Lydia cross over, though no one knows if it
worked. There are still reports trickling in of her appearance.
My Take
Again, this is a fascinating story. There are pros and cons for sure but at least we now can back up the
stories with some proof. My own belief is there may be more than one ghost. Whether or not thats true is up
for debate. To be honest, I don't think we'll ever really know.