Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Marland's Bridge may be bridge to another world

            Arguably the most haunted area near Lafayette is just outside the town of Sunset, named by railroad workers who finished the job at dusk where the town is now located — or so the story goes. Marland’s Bridge, next to Chretien Point Plantation is the site of a Civil War battle known as the November 3, 1863, Battle of Bayou Bourbeau between Union troops under the leadership of Brigadier General Stephen G. Burbridge and approaching Confederate troops led by Brigadier General Thomas Green. The Confederates took the Union forces by surprise and chaos ensued, resulting in a solid victory for the South.
            The hero of the day was twenty-three-year-old Lieutenant William Marland of the Second Massachusetts artillery. When Texans approached and appeared to be about to capture him, Marland charged the bridge across Bayou Bourbeau. The surprise action forced the Texans to jump off the bridge into the water and Marland escaped. He was later honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brave actions that day.
            Today the bridge is named for Marland, but that may not be a good thing, for folks near and far claim the bridge and area around the bayou as haunted. Locals have reported seeing unusual lights and hearing strange noises near the bridge, plus a woman wearing white has been spotted walking on the bridge — and she’s anything but alive.
            LouisianaSpirits made several visits to Marland’s Bridge and recorded unusual phenomena and “a large orange light crossing the bridge.” The photo is posted on their web site.
            GhostsN Spectors of Breaux Bridge experienced paranormal activity on three occasions at the bridge, including “phantom smells, disembodied voices, sub-zero temperature drops, unexplained free floating EMFs (Electro Magnetic Fields), shadow figures, feelings of being watched, feeling that you are being touched, and growls emanating from unknown origins…,” they reported on their web site.
            “One of our parked vehicles had the head lights and interior lights turned on when all investigators were across the bridge and this phenomena took place at the time we captured an EVP saying ‘get in your truck and leave,’” they claimed on the web site report, along with a recording of the actual EVP. “While walking the area on the anniversary of the battle, an investigator complained of sudden pain in the arm as if she’d been struck with something. After removing a jacket and rolling up a sleeve, a round red mark about the size of a dime was visible. The investigator reported feeling as if she’d been ‘hit’ with something small and it burned like being stabbed with a hot iron. The description of the sensation is similar to that given by gunshot victims. The pain eased after about thirty minutes but the mark lasted a few hours then faded.”
             They have posted paranormal activity — in this case EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) — on their web site as well.

This was excerpted from "Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana" by Cheré Coen, published by The History Press.

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