Michigan's Most Haunted Bridges - Hell’s Bridge in Algoma Township #hauntedbridges

Hell’s Bridge is an infamous little metal footbridge in the middle of the woods that crosses over Cedar Creek (that feeds into the Rogue River) in Algoma Township, near Rockford. Some records suggest that the original bridge was stone but it crumbled into the water and was replaced by a metal structure.

Many in Michigan have heard the horrible tale of the diabolical child murderer Elias Friske.  It has been told, and retold, and embellished upon then retold again. Numerous websites keep republishing the horrific tale.
The entire story was been debunked in Ghosts of Grand Rapids by Nicole Bray and Robert DuShane.

The tale seems to have originated with a now- disbanded group of paranormal investigators who once worked together at Studio 28, an old movie theater.

The legend started with a serial killer in the mid-1800s stalking a town known as Laphamville, which is now Rockford.

Story goes that a bunch of children went missing and the townsfolk were scared. They turned to the church for comfort, answers, and help.

An older man was at the church and asked to preach that day. He spoke of fire, brimstone and demons. He prayed for the children to be spared from the evil.

Inspired by the sermon the townspeople organized a search party to go looking for the children.

They left the remaining children in the care of Elias Friske. He said he’d take them on a picnic.

Big mistake.

Friske tied the children together under the guise of “not wanting to lose anyone else” and marched the tethered ones into the woods. When they arrived at the river Fiske tied the children to a tree.

As they moved around they caught whiff of a horrible stench. Friske pulled away the leaves and branches to uncover the skinned and rotting bodies of the other children.

Friske then proceeded to kill the children one-by-one and dump the bodies into the river.

The townspeople returned to town only to find everyone gone. They went back out and walked along the river until they found the bodies of their young floating in the water.

They followed Friske’s bloody footprints and found him babbling and covered in blood swearing that the devil made him do it.

The men of the town grabbed the rope Friske had used to tie up the children and hung him on the spot. But the rope snapped and the river swelled, the suddenly fast moving current quickly took him down the river. His body was never found.

Now people say the area is infested with the evil forces that drove Friske mad and the water is haunted by the murdered children. Many have claimed to see the faces of children in the water and have heard their anguished screams piercing the night. Glowing red eyes have been seen on the bridge and in the nearby woods. Some even claim that hands have reached out from the water and tried to pull them in as they cross the bridge.

One urban legend says that if you hang out on the bridge at midnight you can hear the devil laughing.

Researchers have not found any truth to the story of Elias Friske and the murdered children.

Nicole Bray dug deep to try and find any truth to the story. She found members of the Friske family but no Elias. There were no newspaper articles or criminal records involving anything similar to the legend.

Turns out even the bridge is wrong.

The bridge that everyone goes to is actually a metal footbridge that crosses a creek that feeds the Rogue River. It’s only about 5 feet from the creek. Not high enough to hang anyone from.

Some think the bridge in the legend is north of the metal footbridge  and now part of the White Pine Trail.

The whole thing makes a good story and that’s why the legend continues to be shared. Visitors still claim to see children floating in the water, and often hear laughs and screams, even singing coming from the bridge and surrounding area.

Hell’s bridge is located in the woods of Algoma Township, northwest of Rockford.  If you visit please respect the location and private property.

1 comment:

  1. What a fine legend but I agree - no way you're hanging anyone from that metal footbridge.