Witch Bridge

Norton (Barrowsville) Massachusetts



Field Investigation: 22 May 2007

by Daniel V. Boudillion





   Witch Bridge - Norton, Massachusetts:

What happens when you are a little quick about getting around town in your horse and buggy?  You’re a witch of course!  At least in Norton, where they take "all things in due time" more seriously than the rest of us.  Dead seriously. 


Ann Cobb lived near the pond in the Barrowsville section of southwest Norton.  She was a lady of high morals and general good report.  But then one fateful day in the late 1700’s, she harnessed up her buggy and drove out of Barrowsville to Norton Center to do a pressing errand.  Over the bridge and across Wading River and up Powers Street to Norton Common she went.  Then right at the cemetery, and down West Main Street to Norton Center proper.  All well and good so far.  Nothing witchy about that. 


A few items were purchased at the dry goods store.  Some unbleached muslin maybe.  Or perhaps a little thread.  Good clean purchases, nothing suspicious here.  Its not like Ann was ordering up eye of newt.  Or Godiva chocolate. 


She walked out to the buggy with her sober package of dry goods.  Good gracious, she thought, I’ve forgotten my --------- at home!  We will never know what crucial object Ann had forgotten.  But we do know it was the start of all her troubles, trouble of the apparently consort-of-the-devil kind. 


Ann hopped in her buggy and drove back down West Main Street back to Norton Common, took a left at the cemetery down Powers Street, then went over the bridge, and home.  Once the indispensable object was retrieved, the whole route was retraced.  And rather quickly we are told.


In fact, so quickly was her return – so very swift – so unexpectedly so – that chins dropped, eyebrows raised, and a single word sprung to a hundred lips and from a hundred mouths: "witch!"  Yes, witch.  You see, its just not possible get around town that fast, they said. 


So spread the frightful news like wildfire, "Ann’s a witch – pass it on!" 


Sure, she had a way with a horse and buggy, but its not like anyone saw her fly


Nevertheless, the Court of Fools had proclaimed it and thus it would forever be.  Ann was henceforth a witch.


Children ran pell-mell by her house rather then be caught out in front.  Adults shrank from her.  Animals died in her presence, it was said.  The terror of her extraordinary powers of speedy erranding was upon them all.  Good gracious, what if she turned them into the Colonial equivalent of mall walkers?


History tells us little of her fate other than the fact that she died in 1798.  But her maniac two-mile buggy drive has been immortalized ever since by the bridge next to Ann Cobb’s house: Witch Bridge. 


Next time you cross the bridge over Wading River be on your guard – she had mad powers. 


Witch Bridge Today

Not as scary as it used to be



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Copyright © 2007, 2009 by Daniel V. Boudillion