GHOSTLY LEGENDS OF MICHIGAN
The Urban Legend of Hell’s Bridge
Algoma Township, MI
Written by Michigan’s Otherside
Agroup of teenagers are hanging out at Hell’s Bridge on a cold October night, waiting for something to happen. They glance at their phones and see the time fast approaching midnight. They heard at midnight you can hear the Devil laughing if you are standing on the bridge.
They wait quietly, straining to hear any sound in the darkness around them. The only ghostly thing they see is their own breath floating above them in the cold air. Suddenly, one of them grabs the other and in a frightened whisper asks, “Did you hear that?”
“I heard someone laughing!” Someone else chimes in with, “I think I heard a kid cry!”
Everyone looks at each other for a few moments and get quiet again. Something in the woods is heard but it’s unclear what’s making the sound. At that point, everyone flees the bridge, gets in their cars and leaves the Devil and his laughter behind. They pull up to a Denny’s and discuss it among themselves and post all over social media how they heard the “Devil laughing” and “kid’s crying” at Hell’s Bridge. And the legend continues on…
The very un-intimidating “Hell’s Bridge.”
Photograph by Michigan’s Othesride
Hell’s bridge is a popular urban legend around West Michigan and is the story of the “demon-possessed child killer,” Elias Friske. The small, metal bridge can be found in Algoma Township, crossing what many say is the Rogue River, but is actually Cedar Creek.
The legend says a man named Elias Friske murdered seven children, blaming it on a demon. According to the story, he threw their bodies in the stream where the bridge is located. Paranormal teams around the area have looked into this legend, many of them claiming to have had an experience at this location. Some teams feel there is nothing there and the haunting is exaggerated, while others are convinced the area is rampant with paranormal activity and they could hear the screams and whimpers of “murdered children.” Some even argue the bridge is further down and not the one everyone photographs.
When I first heard about this story in the early 2000s, I checked the census records for a man named Elias Friske in the Algoma area. The legend states the murders happened in the late 1800s sometime, but the Friske family doesn’t show up in the Algoma area until the 1910 census and there’s no one by the name of Elias Friske. However, there is a Friske Road NW in the area that someone could have borrowed the name from that created the character of Elias Friske. In my humble opinion, this is classic urban legend at its finest with absolutely no basis in truth, but the stories continue to be believed and paranormal experiences continue to be had. But are the experiences genuine or just people getting so worked up, that they believe they are experiencing something paranormal?
No matter how much truth you are able to expose about a legend, they still have a way of getting into the minds of the curious, and possessing them like poor, fictional Elias Friske. Have you experienced something at Hell’s Bridge? Write or comment below.
These old reader submissions were sent to the website via email before commenting was the way most people responded to articles. I’ve left a lot of them throughout the website as they still lend some insight into how people have responded to Michigan’s urban legends in the past. – Michigan’s Otherside
My two friends and I just got back from Hell’s Bridge. We walked about 14 feet down the path when another car pulled up with about 5 or 6 people in it. It was pretty eerie so we just decided to all group up. The setting was perfect…pulling onto Friske Drive and watching the entire fog rise from the damp street. The atmosphere alone was freaking us all out.
We trekked further into the woods until we came to the bridge. We got there at about 5 minutes to midnight. As soon as someone said that it was midnight, we heard an ominous laugh come from the woods. We all looked at each other and me, along with 4 of the other people there, walked onto the bridge. For a while, it looked like someone was walking on the water towards us and the girls there had to leave after that. Everyone there heard what sounded like children faintly screaming and whimpering. Me and the guy next to me looked down at the water and saw a kid floating there. That’s when we got the (bleep) off that bridge. The second party of people left while me, my two friends, and my brother stayed back. I got my brother to come to the middle of the bridge with me to see if we could hear anything else before we left. I pointed to the spot where that other guy and I saw the kid. When we both looked, we saw two kids with rope around them floating in the water. We hauled ASS out of those woods.
I just got back from Hell’s Bridge with my friend tonight. All was pretty quiet until nightfall. We decided that something on the side of the bridge opposite the big tree was starting to not feel quite right after the sun went down. That’s where we’d been standing during sunset. We sat down by the big tree when it was dark and let one of our digital voice recorders roll. My friend took some digital photos while I filmed with one of my camcorders. We sat there and talked randomly, then I asked some questions. My friend got a cold sensation down her back (which was facing the tree, I sat facing her). I started to get cold chills. I also thought I heard people talking and walking down the path toward us. Thinking it was more curious investigators, I waited. No one came. Eventually, we started to feel so physically weird and like we were being watched, that we grabbed our stuff and hauled butt up the trail. It was really muddy, but we were trying to move quickly just to get back to the car. We got back to my house and played the recording she took on her recorder after dark when we were experiencing things. We heard a ton of unexplained noises including voices, a child crying, a girl singing, and really bizarre growls.
Also, I found bruises on my right arm that were not there earlier in the day. I do not recall anyway in which I could’ve sustained these bruises. I have three on my upper arm spaced at the width of three spread human fingers, but they look like I was being grabbed by something from behind. At this angle, I couldn’t have done them myself. I also have one in the middle of my lower arm. I did not see or feel any of these until I got home, took off my hoodie, and was washing my hands. There is no way I would ever go back there after nightfall. Ever. I don’t care if it’s Elias Friske, some other spirits, whatever. I don’t scare easily, but that freaked me out. I will gladly return to my beloved haunted Aquinas College before setting foot back in those woods again.
I have always been someone skeptical of the legend of Hell’s Bridge. The road that Hell’s bridge is off of is named Friske Road. If a man by the name of Elias Friske really murdered a bunch of children, then why would they name a road after him? If the road was named before the murder, I would think they would change it instead of letting continue to pay homage to a murderer. I do know that people have had some strange experiences there, so I’m not ruling out that the place is ‘active’. I’m just skeptical of the story around it.