Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Ghosts of the Golden Gate Bridge


The golden gate bridge is one of the defining features of San Francisco.  No trip to the bay area would be
complete without a glimpse of this landmark.  During our recent stay, we found that really seeing the bridge is a rare gift, as it is always wrapped in a heavy fog that always seems to obscure a perfect view of this daring landmark.    Despite all of its scenic beauty and historic significance, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most haunting and haunted places in the world.

I didn't realize this until I was researching a story on Aokigahara, Japan.   Aokigahara is the notorious suicide forest at the base of Mount Fugi in Japan.  I had always thought it had the highest number of suicides committed there in the world each year, but I was wrong.  More people kill themselves by jumping from the scenic heights of the Golden Gate Bridge than any other place in the world.  The Golden Gate Bridge earned its name as one of the most popular suicide destinations in the world almost immediately.  The first jumper ended his life on this bridge ten weeks after it opened in 1937.  Since that time, it has averaged two jumpers a week.   The bridge claims the lives of its melancholy victims in one of two ways.  They either die on impact with the water since they often hit the water at 86 mph or they die from hypothermia in the icy, turbulent waters beneath the bridge. 

It isn't surprising that this killer bridge has amassed a large number of ghosts over the years.    According to The Haunted Bay (,  "The Golden Gate Bridge connects more than San Francisco and Marin County; it connects the world of the living to that of the dead. Since its opening in 1937, the 4,200-foot suspension bridge that spans San Francisco Bay has played host to on average 25 suicides per year, more than 1,000 suicides total"  This site tells the dark and haunting story of the bridge as predating the bridge itself.  It describes the ships that were claimed by the all consuming fog of the bay and the lives that were taken in these shipwrecks as the foundation upon which the darkness of the bridge began.  In fact, according to Seek Ghosts, phantom ship encounters are the most frequently told ghost stories associated with this haunted historic monument.   Visitors often describing seeing phantom ships in the mist.   They also report hearing the disembodied screams of the ghosts that lurk in the shadows.