Airtight Bridge

Download this issue! Airtight Bridge – Rural Coles County, IL
By Michael Kleen

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Airtight Bridge spans the narrow Embarras River in rural Coles County.  It was designed by Claude L. James and built in 1914.  In 1981, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historical places on account of “event, Architecture/Engineering.”

Before this “event,” the bridge was known as a drinking spot for local teens as well as students from Eastern Illinois University.  Otherwise, the bridge, which even 26 years ago was described as “old” and “creaky,” had a pretty mundane existence.

That all changed on the pleasant Sunday morning of October 19, 1980.  According to newspaper reports, two men from rural Urbana spotted what looked like the body of a nude woman about 50 feet from the bridge as they drove past.  A local man soon joined them at the scene and the three quickly discovered that the head, hands, and feet were missing from the cadaver.  They called the sheriff’s office, and 20 minutes later a full investigation was underway.

What happens next? Click here to download the entire issue (.pdf) and find out!


Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 2 Digital Edition

Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2008 in a special digital edition for your favorite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 2: Archer Cemetery, Sunset Haven, Peoria State Hospital (Bartonville Asylum), Airtight Bridge, University of Illinois, Calvary Cemetery and ‘Seaweed Charlie,’ Lakey’s Creek, Peck Cemetery, Blood’s Point Road, Old Union Cemetery, Hartford Castle, and more! Plus, read letters from our readers, book reviews, ghostly games, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues from the archives of the Legends and Lore of Illinois.

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  1. This is in my hometown. My high school teachers talked about this one sometimes. They said that she was pregnant and the fetus was found, too, but that could be conjecture. They said it was horribly gruesome and blood and marks were found on the bridge. It is said to be haunted and not even my most fearless friends would hang out there at night. I did not see a report of the witch’s grave in the area on your site. The death date says Feb. 30th.


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