Ghost still haunts imagination of county
They say the Edna Collins Covered Bridge near Clinton Falls is haunted.
Like any place shrouded in mystery, the exact details are murky and vary greatly. But the widely held belief that a restless spirit lingers at the bridge is well documented.
The short version of the story goes something like this: Little Edna Collins'parents used to drop her off to swim in Little Walnut Creek on their way into Greencastle. Edna was a strong swimmer (some stories say she even had her big dog with her) and her parents didn't worry. When they returned from their trip, they would drive onto the bridge and honk three times to let Edna know that it was time to go. One day, they honked three times and she didn't come. They later found her down steam, drowned. Some stories say she was trying to rescue her dog. Some of the more violent ones, even have her murdered, not drowned.
But regardless, the people who tell these stories say her untimely and tragic death gave her unfinished business in this world and she hangs around the bridge, appearing for wayward travelers who stop on the bridge and summon her with three car horn honks.
Last weekend, four amateur ghost hunters from Miami County set out in an attempt to scientifically prove this most unscientific of legends.
Curtis and Kenny Humble, the founders and leaders of the Indiana Apparition Expedition, have been hunting ghosts on and off since the 1980s. They use relatively simple methods to track down the inexplicable. Flash photography and video and audio recording are the tools of the trade. The most advance piece of equipment that they use is an Electromagnetic Field Meter, a device that they say can measure the increased energy that disembodied spirits emit.
Curtis and Kenny are a far cry from the stereotypical tinfoil hat-wearing crazies. Even after all theyβve seen and more than a handful of admittedly-inexplicable occurrences, they still hesitate when asked whether they can say for sure that ghosts walk among the living.
"I think I'm the biggest skeptic of them all," Curtis Humble said.
The mantra of the Indiana Apparition Expedition can be summed up in a banner on the group's Web site, www.indianaapparitionexpedition.com.
"Our task is to disprove all other possibilities before considering the paranormal as an answer," it reads.
The Humbles found out about Edna Collins on a website. Indeed, a Google search for the name brings up dozens of websites recounting personal ghostly encounters at the bridge.
Their methodology is straightforward. The group, Curtis and Kenny Humble and their wives Donna Kay and Angie Humble, arrived at the Edna Collins Bridge about a half hour before nightfall. They walked around the area, taking photos of the site in the fading daylight in an attempt to get a feel for it.
When darkness fell, Angie drove the group's SUV onto the bridge, turned off the engine and honked three times. Meanwhile, Donna Kay Humble, and the Humble brothers walked around the bridge taking photographs, video, audio recordings and EMF readings.
They took records meticulous records of everything they did and saw as they went.
Part of the legend of Edna Collins involves mysterious handprints showing up on the paneling of any car stops on the bridge. With flashlights in hand, they carefully examined their vehicle for signs of the inexplicable.
They said when they returned home they would pour through the photographs, video and audio, looking for any suspicious voices, sounds or images.
But barring any startling revelations upon closer examination of the data, it seems that Edna Collins didn't feel like coming out Saturday night.
However, the four Humbles saw something almost equally exciting. Two separate carloads of people showed up, hoping to catch their own glimpse of the paranormal.
The first group, two families from Indianapolis who were in Putnam County, touring the covered bridges, came just before dusk. They knew all about the haunted reputation of Edna Collins.
βThis one's got a little extra flavor," said Greg Friar. "I kind of thought we'd save this one for last."
Friar said he, like the Humbles, had read all about the story of Edna Collins online.
Later at night, near the witching hour, a truckload of local teenagers showed up, hooping and hollering, intent on catching their own glimpse of Edna.
Logan McMurtry, 18, had heard a slightly different, if more graphic, version of the Edna Collins story, involving Edna's mother being so distraught she hung herself.
He had it on good authority (from his sister) that Edna's ghost often tried to climb into the vehicles of people who stop on the bridge, leaving handprints across the car. So, he washed is big, red diesel pickup special for the visit to the bridge.
But regardless of the differences on their stories, both groups were intrigued by the Humbles. They took their business cards and breathlessly asked questions whether the ghost hunters had ever actually seen ghosts.
And so, even though nothing particularly spooky appeared, the Humbles called their trip to Putnam County a success.
"This was definitely one of our most interesting trips," Kenny Humble said. "Far from the creepiest, but definitely one of the most interesting."