Natural History

Top 10 Bizarre Roadside Attractions in North America

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The Freemont Troll — Freemont, Washington
Scott T. Smith/CORBIS

5. The Freemont Troll — Freemont, Washington

Visitors of a certain age will recall the tale of “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” in which a mean old troll lurks beneath a bridge threatening to eat anyone who dares try to cross it.

Spoiler alert: The billy goat brothers outsmart the troll and turn out to be the heroes. The troll is never heard from again.

That is, until the Aurora Bridge went up in Freemont. That was 1932.

Almost immediately there were troll sightings below the bridge. Of course, 1932 was the next-to-last year of Prohibition, so home-made booze may or may not have been a factor here.

(In case you’re not up on your fairy tales, a troll is a sort of misshapen dwarf [or sometimes a giant] who lives in dark places, preferably under a nice bridge. They were characterized as being ferocious, ugly creatures fond of eating human flesh.)

Anyway, the stories inspired the town council. In 1989 they commissioned an artist to build this monument to the bad guy who had haunted the dreams of untold generations of children.

Today it is the focal point of such town activities as “Troll-a-ween,” and “Shakespeare at the Troll.”

Note: Never mistake a troll for a gnome or leprechaun. They really hate that.

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