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Challenge To Cult Pastors Names of the Men Who Died on the Bridge

Seek The Truth Blog

Challenge To Cult Pastors: Names of the Men Who Died on the Bridge:

William Branham claimed to have seen a "vision" of sixteen men falling from the Clark Memorial Bridge that connects Jeffersonville, Indiana to Louisville Kentucky "twenty-two years" before its construction. Many are now aware that numerous problems exist with this "prophecy," ranging from the inaccurate "twenty-two-years" to the alleged sixteen men. But the largest problem overlooked is often missed by cult escapees: Why are "ministers" in the "Message" cult afraid to tell their congregations what they know to be false? Wouldn't they be more trustworthy if they were open and honest with their congregations? Are they not concerned about the truth?

As each new person we speak with escapes from William Branham's "Message" cult, they are filled with questions. Questions range from the personal experiences my family described having been so close to the Branham family to the research that has presented several tough questions. Some of these questions are very difficult for the "ministers" that have been cult enforcers for over 60 years. The most common question: "Why are the pastors not telling us these things? Didn't William Branham ... and the Bible ... say to prove all things?"

Of the escapees, the former cult ministers seem to suffer the most. The past literally plagues them, having said so many things from behind a pulpit that they now realize were myth. One former "Message" cult pastor told me, "I found several things that didn't add up over the years. Some things I knew weren't right. But I just put it on the shelf and ignored it."

It seems this "putting on the shelf" is more common than not. That same former cult minister said that when he eventually came to terms with the many other things that he realized were false, he could no longer preach it. "It became agonizing to stand there in front of my people and say what I knew wasn't true," he said. "For a long time, I started preaching from the Bible instead of the "Message," and just left 'Brother Branham' out of it altogether. Eventually, people stopped asking me to come speak for them. They didn't really care what the Bible said. They wanted to hear what 'Brother Branham' said, even if it was not what the Bible said."

Why is this? Why would people place more value on a mortal human being who ... says ... he is preaching the Bible says? If they differ, shouldn't they believe the source rather than the one "pointing them" to the source?

But the problem is much deeper than that. For decades, these ministers have boasted that the "Message" is flawless. Some have even went as far as to say that it is the "Spoken Word of God," "absolute truth," "inerrant," and even the "Word for our day." William Branham himself said that it was the "voice of God to you." These men have ridiculed other Christian churches for not believing their claims -- and challenged them to "come and see!" Yet, to my knowledge, not a single cult minister has ever "seen" for themselves and remained in the cult. Why do they make these challenges with no substance?

Even William Branham himself made the same arrogant boasts. He challenged ANYONE to go to his hometown and verify his statements:


You can go to my hometown and find it one time, in all the times that It's ever told anything, that didn't come to pass just exactly the way It said. Now, you pin a sign on my back as a false prophet, and I'll walk through your streets. Cause it's not myself, I'm a man, but He's God. And He's the One Who does the saying. If I would say it, it could be a lie, 'cause I'm subject to any—any mistakes, lies, anything else, like anybody else. But when He says it, it's not me talking; it's Him. And when He speaks I'll stand by His Word. And I know that It's true. It never fails. Watch It on the platform. Many times It'll tell the people just what's—what's wrong with them. I pray for the person. But when you hear It speak out of, THUS SAITH THE LORD, you watch what It says, just lay your life right there, because it'll be just that way.
-- Branham, 53-1106 - Do You Now Believe?


Why, then, have cult ministers not listened to William Branham? Do they not believe the "Message?"

Years ago, the "Message" world was severely shaken when the "Bridge Prophecy" was exposed by Many were suddenly made aware that the bridge construction did not take place "twenty two years" after Branham's claim, and "sixteen men" did not perish in its construction by drowning. In fact, not a single person drown according to the daily logs by the United States Coast Guard. It was such a successful operation that future bridge designs used the same technique to avoid catastrophe.

To my knowledge, this is one of only two instances where Voice of God Recordings has actually responded to the numerous questions concerning Branham's claims. While Branham asked the people to "go to [his] hometown" and verify his claims, the cult presented a video of an attorney (who is apparently not a 'believer') describing rumors of men buried in the pillars of the Clark Memorial Bridge. Again, SearchingForVindication examined the claims, finding that the cult's attorney was either confused or giving false testimony.

Why would cult headquarters offer a defense of this "prophecy" with rumors from an apparently non-believing attorney. Wouldn't you think they'd offer some real evidence to support Branham's claims, just as the cult leader instructed?

Numerous other statements were made defending the failed "Bridge Prophecy." The most outrageous was that the newspaper articles printed before the 1937 flood were destroyed. Had any cult victim listened to Branham's instructions, and came to the city of Jeffersonville, they'd find all articles neatly arranged in the "Indiana Room" of the Clark County Public Library in Jeffersonville. Unfortunately, many believed VOGR rather than heeding Branham's advice: "come and see." But the records do exist. Since these records exist, why does the cult not provide the names of the alleged sixteen "victims?" Wouldn't that be far more believable than a recording of a man who heard a rumor from another person?

Another argument, one that is almost just as outrageous, is that "newspapers don't print such small events." This one actually got a laugh from several of our researchers. The local newspapers were happy to print ANYTHING that would fill space in the local papers. From women hosting tea parties to men who traveled to neighboring cities, to a woman twisting her ankle in a pothole, the Jeffersonville newspaper is FILLED with news. Especially tragedy. A tragedy of this magnitude is exactly what news reporters across the nation seek to find.

The actual event William Branham was referring to was not the result of a prophecy. We have provided articles describing "sixteen men drowning like rats" in an event that happened long before William Branham's birth on a different bridge. On January 10, 1890, fourteen men (later upgraded to sixteen men) were trapped in a caisson during the construction of the Big Four bridge that connects Louisville Kentucky to Jeffersonville, Indiana.

John Knox, Frank Mahar, James McAdams, Patrick Naylor, William E. Haynbes, Thomas Johnson, Thomas Ash, Frank Soper, Monroe Bowling, Joseph Gordeg, Hamilton Morris, Charles Chilles, Robert Tyler, and Thomas Smith were reported deceased in the Jeffersonville Evening News on January 10, 1890. James Morrill, Frank Haddock, Abe Taylor, and Lewis Couch almost drowned, but escaped with their lives.

This was not the only tragedy during the construction of the Big Four Bridge. Three years later, a section collapsed, drowning even more men. In December of 1893, the Jeffersonville Evening news reported even more deaths: Frank D. Burns, C. W. Cook, Courtney James, Frank Miller, Charles Murphy

These tragedies on the Big Four Bridge made local, state, and national news. Once can read the account from any of the local cities, across the river in Louisville, and even several states spread across the nation. When a bridge collapsed, it was not small news. Newspaper reporters were eager to get the news out, and (unlike a religious cult) were eager to spread awareness rather than conceal it.

During the construction of the Clark Memorial Bridge, there were two documented deaths -- neither of which by drowning as William Branham "prophesied." Richard Pilton died after being hit in the temple with an iron crank on June 19, 1929. Lloyd McEwen did fall from the bridge, but landed on a barge. Instead of drowning, he broke his neck.

William Branham asked people to come to his hometown and prove his claims. We listened. The public library in Jeffersonville is filled with news -- undamaged by the flood -- and is enough to help any cult victim find enough information to escape. We have the names of those who died on the bridge.

Now we challenge cult ministers to the same. Heed the words of the "prophet." Travel to his "hometown." Prove his words.

We have offered the names of the victims that actually died in the actual event William Branham seems to be using as the basis for his fictional story. Your turn. Find the names of the men who died by drowning in the construction of the Clark Memorial Bridge.

No cheating! No telling your congregations that the records were destroyed by the flood! They weren't. No telling your congregations that this is a "hidden mystery," or that the "government is hiding it," as many are now doing. It isn't.

If Branham's words are true, and you believe them, then they can be verified. If you are afraid to verify them, then not only do you not believe, you are not heeding the words of "the prophet" ;)

Do you really believe the "Message?" Or is your easy, steady income more satisfying than the truth?

Our page on the "Bridge Vision" has been updated! Local news articles found here: