Bridging the Tragedy By Bill Kousoulas PhD, Jacqueline Kousoulas

  • Narrated by: Michael Hacker
  • Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins
  • Release date: 08-22-23

Bridging the Tragedy By Bill Kousoulas PhD, Jacqueline Kousoulas AudioBook summary

Trauma manifests in myriad ways….

On December 15, 1967, trauma erupted in West Virginia as the small river town of Point Pleasant had just experienced the deadliest bridge collapse in US history. Early that evening, lives in the Ohio River Valley were forever altered as the Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant to Kanauga, Ohio collapsed into the icy river below. One hundred and fifty American Red Cross volunteers worked feverishly overnight to rescue people and debris from the frigid waters, while friends provided comfort to the weary and hopeful with missing friends and family members. Concerned others supplied food and fire to nourish and warm the workers. “Efforts to dredge the waters of the Ohio River were hampered by the murkiness of the winter’s waters, as well as the deep, persistent cold of the December air.” (Bolte, 2010)

Before the bridge collapse, scores of area residents experienced a year-long barrage of paranormal phenomena. Reports of UFOs, lights in the sky, and Mothman plagued the area for 13 months to the date, halting abruptly when the 39-year-old structure collapsed. During this period, witnesses discussed their experiences—with police, with The Athens Messenger correspondent Mary Hyre, with paranormal researchers John Keel and Gray Barker—each of whom has since published extensively about the topic. The anomalous activity and catastrophic bridge collapse caused great emotional, physical, and psychological strain to the people of this otherwise idyllic Appalachian region.

In 2020, Phenomenology Research Professionals began developing a plan to conduct a scientific study about the after-effects of the Silver Bridge Disaster, the associated paranormal phenomena, and the good things that have come to pass in the region since the late 1960s. Having commuted to Point Pleasant regularly since 2016, we had already developed several relationships in the community. After a COVID-defiant 2020 trip, we constructed the outline of the present study, an investigation of the 1966-67 happenings to learn about the good outcomes that developed from the unexplained phenomena and the Silver Bridge Disaster.

Bill completed his doctorate in psychology in January of 2021, specializing in positive psychology, the science of “what goes right in life”. Most of his doctoral research is in the area of post-traumatic growth: the good outcomes that we gain by navigating our challenging life experiences. Later in 2021, we formed Phenomenology Research Professionals, a practice in which we focus on the correlations between paranormal experiences and post-traumatic growth. This discipline allows us to combine multiple interests into a passion for investigating the unknown, learning how people and communities grow from trauma, and helping others to understand that good things can and do come from traumatic events.


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