Looking for Little Egypt—Richmond, Kentucky

This is the eighth entry in my Twelve Days of Southern Spirits Series celebrating traditional ghost story telling over Christmas. 

I went and bought myself a ticket and I sit down in the very first row-wo-wo.
They pulled the curtain up and when they turned the spotlight way down low-wo-wo.
Little Egypt came out strutting wearing nothing but a button and a bow-wo-wo.
–“Little Egypt (Ying-Yang),” 1961, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller

In Richmond, Kentucky, one does not need to buy a ticket to see, or rather experience, “Little Egypt.” You simply need to follow a brief ritual. After driving out to one of the more rural areas of Four Mile Road, perhaps to the bridge that crosses Otter Creek, one opens their windows and calls either, “Little Egypt, Little Egypt, come ride with me,” or repeats her name three times.

Supposedly the spirit of Little Egypt will enter the car and make her presence felt while you drive for a bit. After a breezy drive—your windows should remain down—you return to drop the spirit off where you picked her up. If you don’t open your windows, there is a chance that the spirit may cause an accident.

So much of this sounds like the plentiful urban legends that reside on roadsides throughout the country, but there may be something to this forlorn Kentucky spirit.

Madison County Kentucky courthouse Richmond
The Madison County Courthouse in downtown Richmond, near where Four Mile Road begins. Photo by Russell and Sydney Poore, 2007. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Four Mile Road branches off from East Irvine Street in downtown Richmond before it winds through the Kentucky countryside, ending as a mundane dirt road. The story of Little Egypt is anything but mundane, it is as colorful as a field of goldenrod in the spring.

Like so much urban legend, the story takes many forms. Author Rebecca Patrick-Howard presents three versions of the legend in her book on haunted Madison County. In one, Little Egypt was a 16-year-old local girl who was raped and murdered, and her spirit continues to look for the men who murdered her by riding in the cars of passersby. Another version recalls that the girl lived on a local farm and when she announced she was pregnant by one of her cousins, she ran out of the house and into the road where she was killed.

The third version of the story had the girl being abducted, killed, and her dismembered remains being scattered on nearby farm fields. Those travelling along the road are supposed to call her name at the farm and drop her spirit off at the bridge.

Patrick-Howard includes the accounts of several people who have experienced odd things around Four Mile Road, things that could be attributed to the spirit of Little Egypt. One story involved two college girls who performed the ritual at the bridge and didn’t experience anything at first. Then, suddenly, their radio began flipping through channels. Frightened, the girls sped back to their dorm room.

A local amateur paranormal investigator decided to go legend tripping with his friend, though they took a decidedly different route. They visited a cemetery on the road, opened their windows and then closed them. As they drove away, both young men experienced intense pressure on their heads. The pressure was relieved as they got further down the road.

For a Halloween story last year, one of the local news stations, WBON, sent a reporter out to perform the ritual and film the results. The reporter only got some creepy feelings on the lonely bridge, though a passerby did share an odd story. This woman mentioned that people having breakdowns in the area have been aided by a strange man in coveralls who seems to appear and disappear into thin air. The woman noted that he had helped her own daughter, who was not from the area and unfamiliar with the legends.

Perhaps Little Egypt now has a friend along lonely Four Mile Road?

Sources

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