JAMESTOWN, N.C. (WGHP) — A Jamestown legend won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
On Friday, onlookers watched as the “Legends & Lore” marker for Lydia’s Bridge, one of the Piedmont Triad’s most well-known ghost stories, was unveiled for the first time.
The marker comes thanks to Carolina Haints, a podcast written by Jeffrey Cochran and hosted by Dan Sellers. The podcast explores “ghost stories, folklore legends, unexplained mysteries, dark history and true crime” all across the Carolinas.
“Lydia particularly is such an important part of the town of Jamestown,” Sellers said. “It’s really a big part of the history and the fabric of the community. They need to come visit this wonderful walkway and visiting experience the town has made.”
The marker reads:
Since the 1920s, apparition of a young woman has been seen hitchhiking here, only to disappear when drivers come to her aid.
North Carolina Folklife Institute
The walkway runs alongside East Main Street in Jamestown. There’s a place where the path crosses under the train tracks, and it’s there that the legend lies.
Paranormal author Amy Greer, who researched the legend alongside Michael Renegar, says the story dates back to June 1923.
“She was coming home with her boyfriend from some dance, and she came in and they got into the curve and had an accident,” Greer said. “They crashed, and it killed her instantly.”
In the years since, stories have been passed around of a girl or woman, still lurking near the bridge where she lost her life. Different people have described her in different ways.
“She just looked, as they put it, just horrifying,” Greer said. “And so they took off. They didn’t even allow her to get into the vehicle and go with them.”
The Truth behind the Legend
While the legend run deep in Guilford County, Greer and Renegar weren’t content with stories. They wanted answers. The two began investigating, searching for the real Lydia behind Lydia’s Bridge.
Greer remembers the moment Renegar found their answer.
“He says, ‘Look. You’ve got to look at this.'” Greer said. It was an article from 1920 describing a crash that left a Miss Annie L. Jackson dead with the “L” possibly standing for Lydia.
“And I blew it up. I’m like, ‘That’s her. This is it. This is it. Wow. Oh my gosh. This is it. This is the needle in the haystack we’ve been looking for forever now.”
According to a death certificate, Annie L. Jackson, of Greensboro, was already dead when she arrived at the hospital at about 10:30 p.m. on June 20, 1920. The document doesn’t offer much more in terms of who she was, but it does tell us that she worked in the sample room at Vick’s Chem Co. and she was buried at Holt’s Chapel on June 22.
Her grave marker says she was born on April 28, 1885, making her 35 years old at the time of her death.
As it turns out, Lydia’s legacy was more than just ghost stories.
Robin Mitchell Taylor grew up in Greensboro, hearing the stories of Lydia’s Bridge. She had been working on her family’s genealogy when she learned that her great-aunt Annie had died in a car crash. She went looking for an article, and that’s when it clicked.
“I’m in the public library reading this, and I’m like, going, ‘Oh my goodness. I think my aunt could be Lydia,'” she said. “And I thought, ‘Man,’ and I kept reading it and reading it. I’m like, ‘Yeah, I think she really could.'”
Greer believes the sightings have slowed or perhaps even stopped.
“At that point, I felt like she was at a peace. You know, it was like she wanted us to find that article, for us to know her real name,” Greer said.
But Taylor still drives by from time to time, hoping to catch a glimpse of her great aunt.
Hear even more
If you’re interested in hearing even more from Paranormal Investigator Amy Greer Biltmore and the possible niece of Lydia herself, Robin Mitchell Taylor, we’ve got it all here in the Hauntings in the Piedmont podcast, hosted by FOX8’s Michael Hennessey.