The Times Journal & Russell County News
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Cruisin': The Headless Motorcycle Rider
In Oct. 3 Issue
Russell County News
By Ron Cowell, Columnist

The other day I got to thinking about all the stuff we did as kids when we started driving. We would cruise the Burger joints and dances and just plain driving around looking for girls. I remembered how we would pool our money and have close to a dollar and get gas for the night. That sounds funny now but back then a dollar got you four gallons of gas..

 My wife who works for the Library here in Russell County was getting things ready for Story Hour at work. I noticed she was cutting out pumpkins, and all sorts of Halloween things for the kids. It got me to thinking about the headless motorcycle rider of Elmore, Ohio. Elmore is a small town not far from Toledo where I was raised.

Elmore is located in what used to be called the Black Swamp. That area at one time was all marsh that covered most of Ottawa County. It’s a very small town but has a story that everyone in the area has been to see at least once in their life.

There is a bridge just out of town. Just after World War II a soldier had a fight with his girlfriend and took off on his motorcycle. As he crossed that bridge someone had strung a wire across the roadway and he was decapitated. This all took place on March 21st. Legend has it that on March 21st each year the headless motorcycle rider will appear at that bridge looking for the person who stretched that wire across the bridge that took his life.

Every March 21st people would head to the bridge in hopes of seeing the rider. You had to go after dark of course, pull onto the bridge, flash your headlights three times, then turn off your lights and wait on the bridge.

It never failed, all the sudden you would look down the road and there would be one headlight heading toward you. Even though most do not believe in this, including me, when that light headed for you your heart would start pumping and you would be thinking,, is this really happening.

Before the light could get to you, you had already hit the key and the lights and were out of there. There was a story of one man who got out of the car and did not want to leave until he saw what the light was. The driver of the car took off and left him standing along side the roadway. A short while later they drove back to check on him and found him next to the road all beat up. Rumor has it that all he could say was he saw the light coming at him and just stood there to see what happened. The light came onto the bridge and went past him and there was nothing behind the light. Next thing he know he was laying alongside the road badly beaten.

Yes, I myself made many trips to the Elmore bridge to see the ghost of the headless motorcycle rider. I saw the light but we never stuck around long enough to let it get to us.

Over the years it got that so many would go to the bridge it became a problem for the small town. The police were brought in to arrest kids who were stopping on the bridge at night with their lights out. It had no effect on the legend though.

For all these years the ghost light continues to return to the bridge on March 21st. Is the phenomena really cause by a ghost of a headless motorcycle rider…… or is he a convenient legend like the one of the Rail road man who haunts the Rail Road crossing with a light  where he lost his life. To this day no one really knows what causes the light but you can bet there will be people on the Elmore bridge who hope to find out what the light really is.

Elmore Ohio is located about 15 miles southeast of Toledo just off Highway 51, also known as Woodville Road. The bridge crosses the Portage River just east of town.

If you are in the area on March 21st this would be a great place for you to cruise to and find out for your self just what the light is, that is if you are brave enough to stick around.

The small town now has a celebration on that date just for the legend.

I guess trying to stop people from coming would not work so why not make it into a celebration..

That’s it for this week, till next time “Keep Cruisin”

If your Car Club is having an event and you would like us to tell everyone about or someone who you would like to see featured in this article send all information to, . All information on upcoming events needs to be in at least two weeks before the event.

If your Club or church or group is having an event and you would like to display some classic cars at that event let me know at least two weeks in advance. One or all of the clubs in the area would be more than happy to bring the cars out for you.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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