Project: Copyediting Errors in MTSU Sidelines

A piece of Smyrna folklore: the legend of ‘Monkey Woman Bridge’

Sidelines version:

A piece of Smyrna folklore: The legend of ‘Monkey Woman Bridge’

By Eric Goodwin/Assistant News Editor

Many stories around town describing haunted buildings, landmarks and cemeteries depict spirits, ghosts and strange sounds from unknown sources. The story of the “Monkey Woman Bridge” adds a flair of its own: a hybrid monkey and woman who would disturb anyone who spent too much time around a specific old bridge in Smyrna.

State historian Marty Luffman, who specializes in Smyrna history, said he gets asked about the story a lot. Luffman said that while the story is “nothing but a legend,” it’s a fun story to tell.

The story unfolds in a number of ways depending on who is telling it, but Luffman’s account describes a “woman on all fours” who was “like a little spider monkey.” She appeared from under the bridge when couples would escape there in the dead of night to spend some personal time together.

Luffman said there was a cemetery nearby couples would drive to to make out on. The bridge, which was about a hundred feet away, housed the monkey woman.

“As legend went, you would be sitting out there making out with your girlfriend, and the windows would start steaming up, so you would roll the windows down to get a lot of fresh air in your car,” Luffman said. “Next thing you know, the guy would be sitting there laying back his head with his arm hanging out the window, and he’d just be tapping the side of the car, and the little woman would come up and crawl up his arm, to try to get in the car.

Next, the story goes, the person being harassed by the creature on his arm would slap the side of the car to try and shake the monkey woman off. Thus, anyone traveling to the bridge slapped the side of their cars, not to incite the monkey woman, but rather to shake her off the person’s arm.

While there are no known documented photos of the acclaimed monkey woman, one slice of credibility comes from the well known Murfreesboro journalist, Ed Bell. According to Frank Caperton, President of the Rutherford County Historical Society, Bell allegedly visited the bridge to discover for himself what happened.

Caperton said that during the ‘50s, Bell visited the bridge with his wife and had a bizarre experience of his own.

“He’s the journalist who (said) that something jumped on the hood of his car, banging on the windows,” Caperton said. However, Caperton acknowledged the story of Bell’s run-in with the monkey woman has likely been embellished over the years.

In addition, Bell “may have been nipping at the bottle a little bit, like he was known to do,” Caperton said.

The story continues when a construction crew allegedly discovered the remains of a woman near the bridge when the crew set out to move the bridge.

In 1976, Jesse Messick, a figure now known in Murfreesboro for curating the city’s annual Uncle Dave Macon Days music festival, was helping to build Cannonsburgh Village. According to Caperton, a construction company had planned to raze the bridge in Smyrna. The company manager told Messick he could have the bridge, and Messick accepted the offer.

Construction workers were “going up and down Stewarts Creek, and they came upon what looked like a camp,” according to Caperton. It was at the camp where the workers discovered the remains, the story goes.

Little else is known about the ‘monkey woman bridge.’ In the years since, the road which passes over Stewart’s Creek via the infamous bridge has been rerouted. One Mile Lane replaced the road, and a concrete bridge sits not far from the first bridge’s location. The old location of the bridge is now on a tract of private property, but the legend will likely never disappear.

This story originally ran in MTSU Sidelines’ September 2017 print edition. For more information, contact Editor-in-Chief Brinley Hineman at editor@mtsusidelines.com.

 

My Corrected Version 

A piece of Smyrna folklore: The legend of ‘Monkey Woman Bridge’

By Eric Goodwin/Assistant News Editor

Many stories around town describing haunted buildings, landmarks and cemeteries depict spirits, ghosts and strange sounds from unknown sources. The story of the “Monkey Woman Bridge” adds a flair of its own: a hybrid monkey and woman who would disturb anyone who spent too much time around a specific old bridge in Smyrna.

State historian Marty Luffman, who specializes in Smyrna history, said he gets asked about the story a lot. Luffman said that while the story is “nothing but a legend,” it’s a fun story to tell.

The story unfolds in a number of ways depending on who is telling it, but Luffman’s account describes a “woman on all fours” who was “like a little spider monkey.” She appeared from under the bridge when couples would escape there in the dead of night to spend some personal time together.

Luffman said there was a nearby cemetery couples would drive to to make out in. The bridge, which was about a hundred feet away, housed the monkey woman.

“As legend went, you would be sitting out there making out with your girlfriend, and the windows would start steaming up, so you would roll the windows down to get a lot of fresh air in your car,” Luffman said. “Next thing you know, the guy would be sitting there laying back his head with his arm hanging out the window, and he’d just be tapping the side of the car, and the little woman would come up and crawl up his arm, to try to get in the car.

Next, the story goes, the person being harassed by the creature on his arm would slap the side of the car to try and shake the monkey woman off. Thus, anyone traveling to the bridge slapped the side of their cars, not to incite the monkey woman, but rather to shake her off the person’s arm.

While there are no known documented photos of the acclaimed monkey woman, one slice of credibility comes from the well known Murfreesboro journalist, Ed Bell. According to Frank Caperton, President of the Rutherford County Historical Society, Bell allegedly visited the bridge to discover for himself what happened.

Caperton said that during the 50s, Bell visited the bridge with his wife and had a bizarre experience of his own.

“He’s the journalist who (said) that something jumped on the hood of his car, banging on the windows,” Caperton said. However, Caperton acknowledged the story of Bell’s run-in with the monkey woman has likely been embellished over the years.

In addition, Bell “may have been nipping at the bottle a little bit, like he was known to do,” Caperton said.

The story continues when a construction crew allegedly discovered the remains of a woman near the bridge when the crew set out to move the bridge.

In 1976, Jesse Messick, a figure now known in Murfreesboro for curating the city’s annual Uncle Dave Macon Days music festival, was helping to build Cannonsburgh Village. According to Caperton, a construction company had planned to raze the bridge in Smyrna. The company manager told Messick he could have the bridge, and Messick accepted the offer.

Construction workers were “going up and down Stewarts Creek, and they came upon what looked like a camp,” according to Caperton. It was at the camp where the workers discovered the remains, the story goes.

Little else is known about the ‘monkey woman bridge.’ In the years since, the road which passes over Stewart’s Creek via the infamous bridge has been rerouted. One Mile Lane replaced the road, and a concrete bridge sits not far from the first bridge’s location. The old location of the bridge is now on a tract of private property, but the legend will likely never disappear.

This story originally ran in MTSU Sidelines’ September 2017 print edition. For more information, contact Editor-in-Chief Brinley Hineman at editor@mtsusidelines.com.


 

Central Magnet School boasts history, haunted hallways

Sidelines version:

Central Magnet School boasts history, haunted hallways

By Alexis Marshall/Reporter

Principal John E. Ash works in his East Main Street office on a chilly September afternoon. Like nearly any principal’s office, photos, artwork and merchandise brandishing the school logo occupy the shelves. However, the Central Magnet School principal’s office is also home to fading leather-bound yearbooks from former incarnations of the school, the campus of which has been in use for 175 years. The school’s long history combined with numerous unexplainable occurrences contribute to the belief of some that its hallways may be haunted.

The campus was first home to Union University in 1848. It closed between 1861 and 1865 due to the Civil War and again in 1873 because of a cholera outbreak. In the early 20th century the school was replaced by the Tennessee College for Women which stayed there until the ‘40s. The original Central High School was built on a different part of the campus, according to Ash. However, that structure burned to the ground in 1944. Today’s building has stood since 1950 and housed the high school and a middle school before converting to Central Magnet in 2010.

“It’s an old building,” Ash said. He said that the elevator doors have been known to open and close without any known cause in the middle of the night. He added that people have reported seeing people and hearing noises in the school when it is empty. Despite these claims, he said he has never experienced anything out of the ordinary since he started work there in 2010.

Sergeant Scott Culp, a school resource officer , said he he knows some who have had a different experience. Culp described a night when he and another SRO worked security during a basketball game. During the game his SRO went outside to grab something from his vehicle. The SRO reported seeing a ball of light inside a second-story classroom above the cafeteria, moving across the darkened classroom.

“When it got in front of the dry erase board, the light stayed the same, but there was the shadow of a person on the dry erase board,” Culp said. Culp said that at night all the classroom doors are locked. He also explained that motion sensors will usually turn on the lights when a person enters a classroom.

“We tried to debunk it,” Culp said. The officers tried to see if reflections from headlights on the road behind the school may have caused an optical illusion, according to Culp. He said they could never recreate what the SRO saw that night.

This wasn’t the first time that somebody working at the school had been spooked. According to Ash, a custodian at Central Middle School quit her job because “she kept seeing a figure that couldn’t be explained.”

Another night shift custodian will not go to the auditorium by himself..

“The first time he worked, he walked (into the auditorium) and someone said his name over his shoulder,” Culp said.

Culp also mentioned video surveillance from the school that appears to show a shadowy figure briefly moving through a stairwell.

“The cameras are set to only record when there’s movement, and the school had just opened,” Culp said.” I was just going back to make sure that the cameras were recording right, and for some reason that one camera recorded at three in the morning.

After watching the surveillance footage, Culp said he felt unsettled. “I have no explanation for it. Kinda creeped me out,” Culp said.

Despite the stories and reports, few said that they had first-hand experience with the paranormal at Central. Several teachers had heard similar reports to those shared by Ash and Culp.

Band Director John Mears said that he has noticed some strange happenings in his annex classroom.

“The air conditioner could be off,” Mears said. “There could be not a person in here, and all of a sudden a random door will just start to creak open after being closed for hours.”

Mears also mentioned a “haunted music stand” that, if left alone, will lift itself up without a user.

“We’ll push it down and leave it there, but when we come back the next day, it’s taller than the rest of the stands,” Mears said.

Mears said he is unsure of whether or not hydraulics in the stand could potentially cause this phenomenon, but he said that it happens consistently overnight.

“Something creepy is happening. It’s an old building,” Mears said.

Mears said with regard to Central’s long history, “A lot of stuff has gone on. I think the confluence of all those things has existed for a long time at this place. It’s created a little bit of a shaky atmosphere.”

Many are skeptics of the paranormal at Central, and among them is Ash. However he had this to say in closing: “It’s haunted by intelligent kids.”

 

My corrected version:

Central Magnet School boasts history, haunted hallways

By Alexis Marshall/Reporter

Principal John E. Ash works in his East Main Street office on a chilly September afternoon. Like nearly any principal’s office, photos, artwork and merchandise brandishing the school logo occupy the shelves. However, the Central Magnet School principal’s office is also home to fading leather-bound yearbooks from former incarnations of the school, the campus of which has been in use for 175 years. The school’s long history combined with numerous unexplainable occurrences contribute to the belief of some that its hallways may be haunted.

The campus was first home to Union University in 1848. It closed between 1861 and 1865 due to the Civil War and again in 1873 because of a cholera outbreak. In the early 20th century the school was replaced by the Tennessee College for Women which stayed there until the 40s. The original Central High School was built on a different part of the campus, according to Ash. However, that structure burned to the ground in 1944. Today’s building has stood since 1950 and housed the high school and a middle school before converting to Central Magnet in 2010.

“It’s an old building,” Ash said. He said that the elevator doors have been known to open and close without any known cause in the middle of the night. He added that people have reported seeing people and hearing noises in the school when it is empty. Despite these claims, he said he has never experienced anything out of the ordinary since he started work there in 2010.

Sergeant Scott Culp, a school resource officer(omitted extra space), said he he knows some who have had a different experience. Culp described a night when he and another SRO worked security during a basketball game. During the game his SRO went outside to grab something from his vehicle. The SRO reported seeing a ball of light inside a second-story classroom above the cafeteria, moving across the darkened classroom.

“When it got in front of the dry erase board, the light stayed the same, but there was the shadow of a person on the dry erase board,” Culp said. Culp said that at night all of the classroom doors are locked. He also explained that motion sensors will usually turn on the lights when a person enters a classroom.

“We tried to debunk it,” Culp said. The officers tried to see if reflections from headlights on the road behind the school may have caused an optical illusion, according to Culp. He said they could never recreate what the SRO saw that night.

This wasn’t the first time that somebody working at the school had been spooked. According to Ash, a custodian at Central Middle School quit her job because “she kept seeing a figure that couldn’t be explained.”

Another night shift custodian will not go to the auditorium by himself..

“The first time he worked, he walked (into the auditorium) and someone said his name over his shoulder,” Culp said.

Culp also mentioned video surveillance from the school that appears to show a shadowy figure briefly moving through a stairwell.

“The cameras are set to only record when there’s movement, and the school had just opened,” Culp said.” I was just going back to make sure that the cameras were recording right, and for some reason that one camera recorded at three in the morning.

After watching the surveillance footage, Culp said he felt unsettled. “I have no explanation for it. Kinda creeped me out,” Culp said.

Despite the stories and reports, few said that they had first-hand experience with the paranormal at Central. Several teachers had heard similar reports to those shared by Ash and Culp.

Band Director John Mears said that he has noticed some strange happenings in his annex classroom.

“The air conditioner could be off,” Mears said. “There could be not a person in here, and all of a sudden a random door will just start to creak open after being closed for hours.”

Mears also mentioned a “haunted music stand” that, if left alone, will lift itself up without a user.

“We’ll push it down and leave it there, but when we come back the next day, it’s taller than the rest of the stands,” Mears said.

Mears said he is unsure of whether or not hydraulics in the stand could potentially cause this phenomenon, but he said that it happens consistently overnight.

“Something creepy is happening. It’s an old building,” Mears said.

Mears said with regard to Central’s long history, “A lot of stuff has gone on. I think the confluence of all those things has existed for a long time at this place. It’s created a little bit of a shaky atmosphere.”

Many are skeptics of the paranormal at Central, and among them is Ash. However, he had this to say in closing: “It’s haunted by intelligent kids.”


 

Stone keepers: Keeping away negative spirits in Murfreesboro

Sidelines version:

Stonekeepers: Keeping away negative spirits in Murfreesboro

By David Chamberlain

Vibrant banners hang from the ceiling at a small store in the heart of Murfreesboro. The walls display a variety of peaceful herbs, positive scented candles, and enchanted stones. Relaxing music plays softly through the radio to create an easy going environment. The calm and tranquil aroma fills the air inside Stonekeepers to rid any negative spirits to replace those with ones that will bring spiritual empowerment.

Stonekeepers isn’t so much haunted, but rather a place to purge ghostly or negative spirits out of the body. Stonekeepers believe that the human body isn’t the only place where negative energy or spirits reside but the very soil and roots of the earth.

Owner Carrie Adams’s parents opened the store when she was 13-years-old in 1996. Stonekeepers grew out of their home garage in Murfreesboro and was originally meant to just clear space. Adams mother and father were fascinated with stones and what they could do. Her mother even used the stones to make jewelry. For Adams, what began as a hobby in her garage for cutting and polishing stones turned into a business to promote prosperity and spiritual healing.

Even Adams was unaware of the stones potential until her customers started to pose the question, “Did you know these stones do things?”

From that moment forward it became an interchangeable bond between Adams and her customers where both parties learned from one another and began to grow a greater knowledge and respect for stones that were more than just decoration. The bond and relationships that Adams has built through Stonekeepers has helped her find more about her own beliefs and spirituality.

“Our customers were spiritually minded people and they kind of took us on a spiritual journey and discovering a lot of different things such as meditation,” Adams said. “Today, our purpose is to help people find spiritual tools that empower their goals or what they are working towards.”

The stones distinct colors represent a certain mood or emotion for each person to connect with. The stones can also be used to alleviate stress and sooth the body and mind. Adams said that a few people will even come into Stonekeepers just to smell the fragrance of the store without any intentions to shop, but to have a sense of cleansing negative spirits. Mainly, the stones or burning of candles allows a physical representation to be made so a connection can be formed between the object and individual.

“It’s like a physical manifestation of a spiritual or emotional or physical goal. Whether they’re using stones or candles, it helps them focus their spiritual energy to manifest the things they’re wanting to do in their lives,” Adams said.

There is a meaning between the bonds of people and the stones, whether it be the colors or shapes, and the candles will give a scent of relaxation or motivate oneself. According to Adams, the combination of the two will give people a chance to focus their own spiritual energy.

Another main source of vanquishing negative spirits is by burning herbs such as sage. A process known as sage smudging can be done to an object such as a stone to give bring clear energy and purpose. The sage can also be smudged throughout a room into open air which allows the mind to calm and think clearly on positivity and concentrate on personal objectives.

“As the sage burns, the smoke represents the spiritual energy and that energy has the intention of cleansing their space and the smoke can go where they cannot,” Adams said. “The smoke can be used to purify and cleanse negativity and removing negative spirits.”

Stonekeepers recently embarked on a journey known as the Crystal Grid Project. The Crystal Grid Project is meant to cleanse the earth of any negative spirits and give positive ones back to the roots of the earth so it can prosper. The process is also meant to have a personal meaning so the mind and body of oneself can prosper also. The place of the burial is meant to be significant to the owner and buried with positive intentions so that the earth can reap the benefits of the uplifting purpose it was buried with.

“We’ve given out over a thousand crystals that we charged with peace, protection, and prosperity, and we buried the first one at the Geographic Center of Tennessee. Then we started giving them to people and getting them to bury them with that intention of spreading peace, protection, and prosperity,” Adams said. “It’s the actual physical action of putting that energy back into the earth.”

Stonekeepers can be used as a tool for anyone who may be frightened that they have negative or ghostly spirits to put their body and mind at ease. Stonekeepers allows the opportunity to remove those spirits and replace them with positive ones. It can provide help for those looking for a fresh start on the day or maybe even life. Adams and Stonekeepers started an unknown journey that transformed into an objective driven store to help those who may be fighting with negative spirits. Stonekeepers still remains true to its main goal as Adams has said.

“Our main mission is to uplift people.”

This story originally ran in MTSU Sidelines’ September 2017 print edition. For more information, contact Editor-in-Chief Brinley Hineman at editor@mtsusidelines.com.

 

My corrected version:

Stonekeepers: Keeping away negative spirits in Murfreesboro

By David Chamberlain

Vibrant banners hang from the ceiling at a small store in the heart of Murfreesboro. The walls display a variety of peaceful herbs, positive scented candles, and enchanted stones. Relaxing music plays softly through the radio to create an easy going environment. The calm and tranquil aroma fills the air inside Stonekeepers to rid any negative spirits to replace those with ones that will bring spiritual empowerment.

Stonekeepers isn’t so much haunted, but rather a place to purge ghostly or negative spirits out of the body. Stonekeepers believes that the human body isn’t the only place where negative energy or spirits reside, but the very soil and roots of the earth.

Owner Carrie Adams’s parents opened the store when she was 13-years-old in 1996. Stonekeepers grew out of their home garage in Murfreesboro and was originally meant to just clear space. Adams mother and father were fascinated with stones and what they could do. Her mother even used the stones to make jewelry. For Adams, what began as a hobby in her garage for cutting and polishing stones turned into a business to promote prosperity and spiritual healing.

Even Adams was unaware of the stones potential until her customers started to pose the question, “Did you know these stones do things?”

From that moment forward it became an interchangeable bond between Adams and her customers where both parties learned from one another and began to grow a greater knowledge and respect for stones that were more than just decoration. The bond and relationships that Adams has built through Stonekeepers has helped her find more about her own beliefs and spirituality.

“Our customers were spiritually minded people and they kind of took us on a spiritual journey and discovering a lot of different things such as meditation,” Adams said. “Today, our purpose is to help people find spiritual tools that empower their goals or what they are working towards.”

The stones distinct colors represent a certain mood or emotion for each person to connect with. The stones can also be used to alleviate stress and sooth the body and mind. Adams said that a few people will even come into Stonekeepers just to smell the fragrance of the store without any intentions to shop, but to have a sense of cleansing negative spirits. Mainly, the stones or burning of candles allows a physical representation to be made so a connection can be formed between the object and individual.

“It’s like a physical manifestation of a spiritual or emotional or physical goal. Whether they’re using stones or candles, it helps them focus their spiritual energy to manifest the things they’re wanting to do in their lives,” Adams said.

There is a meaning between the bonds of people and the stones, whether it be the colors or shapes, and the candles will give a scent of relaxation or motivate oneself. According to Adams, the combination of the two will give people a chance to focus their own spiritual energy.

Another main source of vanquishing negative spirits is by burning herbs such as sage. A process known as sage smudging can be done to an object, such as a stone, to give bring clear energy and purpose. The sage can also be smudged throughout a room into open air which allows the mind to calm and think clearly on positivity and concentrate on personal objectives.

“As the sage burns, the smoke represents the spiritual energy and that energy has the intention of cleansing their space and the smoke can go where they cannot,” Adams said. “The smoke can be used to purify and cleanse negativity and removing negative spirits.”

Stonekeepers recently embarked on a journey known as the Crystal Grid Project. The Crystal Grid Project is meant to cleanse the earth of any negative spirits and give positive ones back to the roots of the earth so it can prosper. The process is also meant to have a personal meaning so the mind and body of oneself can prosper also. The place of the burial is meant to be significant to the owner and buried with positive intentions so that the earth can reap the benefits of the uplifting purpose it was buried with.

“We’ve given out over a thousand crystals that we charged with peace, protection, and prosperity, and we buried the first one at the Geographic Center of Tennessee. Then we started giving them to people and getting them to bury them with that intention of spreading peace, protection, and prosperity,” Adams said. “It’s the actual physical action of putting that energy back into the earth.”

Stonekeepers can be used as a tool for anyone who may be frightened that they have negative or ghostly spirits to put their body and mind at ease. Stonekeepers allows the opportunity to remove those spirits and replace them with positive ones. It can provide help for those looking for a fresh start on the day, or maybe even life. Adams and Stonekeepers started an unknown journey that transformed into an objective driven store to help those who may be fighting with negative spirits. Stonekeepers still remains true to its main goal as Adams has said.

“Our main mission is to uplift people.”

This story originally ran in MTSU Sidelines’ September 2017 print edition. For more information, contact Editor-in-Chief Brinley Hineman at editor@mtsusidelines.com.

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