VIDEO: Crybaby Bridge and Other Quad-City Haunts

I have been known to go to great lengths for a good story. But this piece could have been the one that did me in. Here are three haunted places I personally have investigated for their haunt factors.

1. Ghosts at 'Crybaby Bridge'
Hell. No. That's what I was thinking when I put my car into neutral on "Crybaby Bridge" and it began to roll backward, slightly uphill. In an arduous trip to Monmouth to check out this little-known bridge, I drove down country roads, gravel roads, and dirt roads. When I saw the turn for "Crybaby Bridge," well, I just kept on going. Surely that's not it. A steep plunge down a gravel road?

Here's the video of what happened when I put my car into neutral at Crybaby Bridge.

Legend has it that a school bus full of children crashed into Cedar Creek and the children perished. They say you can hear their cries, but I didn't. Legend also says if you put baby powder on your bumpers, the hands of the children will be seen.

Here's a shot of my bumper (after I turned around and was heading back across).

When I stopped before my trip at the Rock Island Walgreens to buy baby powder, I told my friend Jessie where I was going. She grew up in Galesburg, near Monmouth. "We had a unit on it in school," she said. "Better wear a diaper when you put the car into neutral."

The road is very steep, narrow, and in terrible shape. Don't go there after dark, and definitely not with a large vehicle or one that doesn't have excellent tires and front wheel drive. Take U.S. 67 South to Monmouth. Turn right on 230th Avenue before Farm King. Take that to 230th Street (yes, Avenue, then Street) and turn left (only way to go).

2. Hotel Blackhawk's gown-wearing ghosts
Davenport's Hotel Blackhawk is the nicest hotel in town, just as it was when it was built. But for many years, that wasn't the case.

Several years ago, before renovation, a meth lab on the eighth floor caught fire. The eighth floor also is where Hollywood icon Cary Grant died in 1986, giving way to the famous Quad-City Times headline, "A legend dies in our arms."

People have said for years that the place is haunted (the eighth floor in particular). I believe it. It was really creepy before its renovation and even now has a "feel" to it I can't explain. Some of the ghosts are women who wear evening gowns, according to reports.

3. Downtown Rock Island businesses
Some people joke that Rock Island is a "ghost town," and many business owners have reported ghosts. I wrote a story once in the 1980s about the former Dutch Inn at 1700 3rd Ave. and the owner told me it was haunted.

The owner of the former Augie's on 20th St., which later became the now-shuttered Lucky Shamrock, told me it was haunted too, and even showed me once many years ago where two beds had burned upstairs several decades ago and left marks on the floor. The upper floors allegedly were a brothel.

David Heitz has been a journalist for three decades and has scoured every inch of the Quad-Cities. He says he knows too much so he mostly writes about health these days, but still enjoys pointing out what's right about the Quad-Cities.