Wednesday, May 27, 2009


THE STORY: One day long ago a baby had drowned while parents were picnicking. It is said that if you drive over Crybaby Bridge in Pryor, Oklahoma at night you can hear a baby crying. The bridge has since been torn down, but some residents claim that a faint noise of a baby crying can be heard either coming from the woods near the site of the former bridge or below where the bridge once stood. There are a number of other quaint old bridges in the area. The 9th Street Bridge in Pryor is also rumored to be haunted by a ghost that will let few unsuspecting people see it. EVIDENCE: Anecdotal. There are multiple instances of the urban legend of the Crybaby Bridge across the United States. Link:

THE STORY: Located in Pryor, Oklahoma, where more that 50 people were killed during the tornado that struck on April 27, 1942. The tornado ranks as the fifth deadliest in Oklahoma history. Originally named "Coo-Y-Yah", Cherokee for "huckleberry", the city was later renamed Pryor Creek, then shortened by the US Postal Service to "Pryor". Local folklore holds that pool balls flying off tables, balls and tables found rearranged in the morning. One resident reports that the paranormal activity occurs at the location of the original pool hall, now a diner, and not at the current location of Side Pockets Poolhall. EVIDENCE: Photographic evidence.

THE STORY: According to locals, many years before it was a military school it was a orphanage. A tornado hit the orphanage on April 27, 1942 and killed many of the children who lived there. The Thunderbird Youth Academy in Pryor, Oklahoma was launched in September of 1993 under the National Guard Bureau, as a three-year federally funded pilot program. Permanent funding was obtained in September 1996 when the state of Oklahoma allocated funds to support the program. The cuirriculum draws upon a "quasi-military" approach. Two quiet friendly spirits are said to have been observed wandering the campus. The third platoon building is reported to be haunted by a child named Hector. Other residents have reported paranormal activity in a storage room near the nurses station. Other TYA residents have reported lights going on an off, a ball rolling across the floor, shadowy figures moving across hallways, etc. According to one witness if you are awake at night you can here the talking and laughing of children. The witness reported being awakened at night to see a small girl standing next to his bunk. There are different legends about Hector told by residents, including that he was killed by the cook at the orphage and fed to the other children, and that he was hung by the custodian. In all accounts Hector was reported to have been a "difficult" child. EVIDENCE: Numerous first hand eye witness accounts reported by former TYA residents.


  1. If not haunted it is for sure a haunting place, in the girls building the sinks sit low,built for children's height. I was at TYA in the winter and the whole campus seemed to be lost in a grey haze even in the night you get this feeling of not being alone. in my day they were using a carpeted room as a sick room it was built like one of those "padded cells" that you see in movies. my question is if it was an orphanage..why the padded room?

  2. The Bridge in the picture at the top, Part of it is still standing.

  3. There are many other activities that many civilians do not know. I just gratuated from Thunderbird Youth Academy and i lived in second platoon. I went to second platoon after not getting along with third platoon fellow cadets. Hector does in fact live in third platoon but he has also been spotted in second platoon. Halloween day this year,cycle37, my fellow cadets and i have seen hector with our own eyes in second platoon building, aslo known as 306.

  4. I heard the legend of Crybaby bridge connected with the bridge on Hickory Street over Polecat Creek in Sapulpa. Scared me to death as a little girl in the 1960s. Not much of that bridge is left now.

  5. i was told the TYA was built on an indian cematary not an orphanage. the name thunderbird in its self is an idain name almost hinting at its dark past. evan though the graves where removed the area still would be a sacred site, and could very well be haunted but not because of some orphanage that some one said was there.

  6. As someone who has spent a lot of time at TYA and done some homework on the history I can set a few "rumors" straight.
    1. The tornado never hit the Whitaker Orphanage a far as I can tell from my research( Library has a excellent documentation on what happened with hundreds of newspaper clippings and I have talked to people who are still alive and remember what happened.)
    2. People who were hurt by the tornado were brought to the orphanage for triage. Some did die on grounds. (newspaper verifies that.)
    3. TYA as far as anyone knows was not built on a burial ground. The Thunderbird comes from the 45 infantry division headquartered out of OK city. All the youth challenge programs are named after the division they fall under.

    Having worked at TYA for a lengthy time I can say some rather unusual things happen and many of the staff have had unexplained encounters.

  7. I have heard the baby crying. When I lived in Pryor.

  8. i just graduated from tya i was in first platoon in the new building and i heard a bunch of stories about Hector and the little games he plays with the cadets from the sergeants and a few past cadets and graduates
    i was told that once a sgt kicked the ball on the way to the old female barrics and she said the ball came back
    as well as how hector would mess with cadets shoes, the little girl laughing..and much more
    i do wish i would have been able to stay in old barrics rather than the new so i would have been able to hear more….

  9. The bridge in the above picture is the old Lindsey Mayes Bridge over the Grand River between Pryor and Locust Grove (yes part of it is still standing.) Crybaby Bridge was over Pryor Creek in the industrial park and is now gone. It was on the east-west road that used to lead to the west side of Low Water Dam.

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