Haunted Fort Hays: The Spiders of Jellison Bridge

BY CJ GIBSON

While the following account of Haunted Jellison Bridge may not be true, the frights and nightmares sure to be induced certainly are. Happy Halloween…

While Jellison Bridge has been used for crossing Big Creek since before the 1930s, it was not used as a crossing to the spirit world until much later. The plaque in front of the bridge honors Bill D. Jellison, Vice President for Student Affairs, but the real reason for the name comes from a much darker story.

Jay L. Lisen was a freshman at FHSU in 1989. On Halloween, Jay broke past his initial attitude that he was too old to dress up and took advantage of his Spider-Man mask and performed a grand-scale prank: Jay and his frat buddies, all in superhero costumes, TPed the campus.

It was the prank of the century. In less than half an hour, a dozen drunk upperclassmen managed to vandalize every tree, every statue, and every awning with a truck full of toilet paper they had been smuggling from the dorm bathrooms since the spring semester.

While the rest of his friends were wasted out of their gourds, as a freshman, Jay wasn’t so anciently inclined. Thus, Jay was made the designated decision-maker.

When they finally reached the last structure free from the web of one-ply, red and blue lights broke up the superhero squad. In a frantic escape attempt, the befuddled bros shoved their way off of the bridge and out of sight, pushing their scrawny Spider-Friend off the railing. 

Jay landed in the creek head-first, knocking him unconscious. Jay drowned in the remainder of that week’s rain. As his soul left this plane of existence, so did the toilet paper. No one ever saw the blanket of TP that covered almost the whole campus, and the legacy died with him.

When the prank patrol sobered up the next day and realized their young friend had disappeared, they searched for him. Once they found the body, they buried it right below the bridge, never to be caught for their intoxication manslaughter. 

Since then, whenever a student descends the stairs to the floor of Big Creek and tries to summon a ghost at night, they are greeted by a man in a decaying Spider-Man suit, still looking out for his buddies. Jay’s spirit throws toilet paper on the people who see him, and if the TP touches them, the mud swallows them like quicksand. When they reach Jay’s corpse, a thin silk rope appears, and the victims pull themselves up. Each tug of the web transforms them into spiders, trapped for eternity to vandalize the one place the bros missed: Jellison Bridge.

So whenever you pass Jellison Bridge at night and the lights show you the spiderwebs, remember that they won’t hurt you; they’re busy weaving the end of a scheme that Jay was never able to finish.

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