Lydia's Bridge Mystery Solved: Famous Ghost Traced To Real Tragedy & Local Family

Lydia's Bridge

If you grew up here, you know the Lydia's Bridge Legend -- the story of the Triad's most famous hitchhiker ghost who supposedly haunts the old bridge through Jamestown.

It is a mystery that dates back to the early 1900s, and a local ghost hunter finally might have solved it.

As the story goes, a pretty hitchhiker in a white dress flags down drivers near the old Jamestown bridge, then asks for a ride. She quietly gets into their cars, tells them to take her home, then vanishes.

Last Halloween, we connected the Lydia legend to a real person and real tragedy. This Halloween, we've tracked down her family, who believes perhaps the ghost can finally go home.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Lydia's Bridge Mystery Haunts Jamestown]

"This young woman was thrown from the car, hit her head and died almost instantly. But her name wasn't Lydia," explained ghost hunter and author Michael Renegar.

Renegar and his co-researcher and author Amy Greer had studied the Lydia legend for 30 years, before discovering an old Greensboro Patriot newspaper article. It said there had been a bad accident in Jamestown on a rainy summer night. Three people in the car survived, but 30-year-old Annie L. Jackson was killed. It happened June 20, 1920 beneath the old bridge. Shortly after that, the reported ghost sightings began.

[SPOILER ALERT]

"I immediately started to try to find family. I began to assume there wasn't anyone left, at least in Greensboro. Then this year, I was contacted by Robin Mitchell Taylor."

He got a Facebook message from Robin Mitchell Taylor, who claimed to be Annie L.'s great-niece. She was living in Greensboro.

"As a child growing up in the area, you always heard the ghost stories at Halloween about Lydia. All my life, I've heard about Lydia," Taylor explained.

But Robin, like everyone else, knew Lydia only as a ghost. Then one day, her love of history led her to research her own family background. A Genealogy report revealed her grandmother had a sister the family never talked about. Her name -- Annie L. Jackson. Cause of death -- fall from automobile.

"So I went to the local library and dug up (old newspaper clippings) and found out she died in a car accident on the Jamestown High Point Road, and I'm like that's by the bridge!"

By bridge, she meant the famous Lydia's Bridge.

Her (my great-aunt's) middle name had an L. So I'm like {gasp}! There was that connection. That was kind of my 'ah ha' moment. Oh my gosh, my great-aunt possibly could be Lydia!"

And in her research, she learned of Renegar, who thought the same thing.

"It was like lights came on everywhere--not only to hear from a relative of "our Lydia" but also to find she (Taylor) had independently come to the same conclusion we had," Renegar exclaimed.

In the past few months, Taylor and Renegar have compared notes and agreed--their Annie, their Lydia, are one in the same.

"It's always nice to solve a mystery--something that has haunted you, for lack of a better word, for 30 years," Renegar said.

WFMY News 2's Meghann Mollerus accompanied Taylor back to the bridge, to visit the spot her great-aunt died. It was her first visit since knowing about Annie and believing she could be Lydia.

"It...gives you goosebumps."

But Taylor said she felt not scared but at peace.

"Putting me and Michael (Renegar) together...that was just a wow. Maybe she (Annie/Lydia) put us together to help identify her and say hey, we know who you are, and it's OK."

OK, Taylor said, for the story to end...and OK for Annie L. to go home.

###

As for why the ghost is called Lydia and not Annie, Renegar said it's possible Annie's middle initial stands for Lydia. But, he thinks more than likely, multiple ghost stories got mixed together over the years. There were three other Guilford County Lydias who died in that same time period but not at the bridge.

Renegar and Greer have written a new book and are hoping to get Looking for Lydia published by next year. 

Copyright 2017 WFMY


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