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The Ghosts of the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge

One of the places I knew was haunted that I wanted to see when we went to San Francisco was the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the things I never expected to do was walk across it. Drive maybe, but not walk.

However, the day we visited was my husband’s birthday. He wanted to do something memorable. Neither of us could think of anything more memorable to do to commemorate the day than walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, so that’s what we did.

Because the weather was perfect, the bridge was jammed packed with people. It was the rare span that we weren’t passing another soul. Which made me wonder how anyone could jump from the bridge in broad daylight.

THE MOST POPULAR SUICIDE BRIDGE IN THE WORLD

Because, of course, besides being an architectural jewel and engineering marvel, the bridge is a favorite spot for desperate people eager to give up the ghost. In fact, it’s the top suicide site in the world. The evidence of this dark side of the bridge was not hard to miss.

In the middle of the bridge, at about the best point for anyone thinking of jumping into the waters below, you’ll find what I came to think of as crisis phones.

Full view of the crisis phones.
Close up of sign above the crisis phone was a sobering reminder some people start out on the bridge with no intention of simply crossing it and admiring the views.

I later found out pedestrians are not allowed on the Golden Gate Bridge at all hours of the day. The bridge is accessible to pedestrians starting at 5 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m. (during Spring, Summer and Fall). During Winter, pedestrians are allowed from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.

At any rate, as we walked across, I had a ton of time to think about all those people whose lives had become so hopeless they felt they had no other choice but to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. (Estimates put the number of suicides at around 1,600. There are a lot of unconfirmed deaths too. Ones where the bodies were never recovered.)

I expected to feel a little creeped out as we walked across. Especially after seeing the crisis phones. Instead, I just felt so very sad for the people who successfully committed suicide from the bridge. (Not all who have tried have died. Most have, yes, but a handful have actually survived the fall.)

SO MANY DEATHS, SO FEW GHOST STORIES

With the Golden Gate Bridge being the site of so many deaths, I expected more ghost stories to abound. People spotting phantom jumpers or something like that. Or even some of the men who died during its construction. There was a bad accident in which 10 lives were lost all at once at one point during construction.

Most of the ghost stories don’t involve apparitions. Screams coming from the fog are common reports. However, since it is a bridge crossing water, which is frequented by seagulls, whose screeches might be mistaken for screams (especially if the birds were shrouded by fog), it’s hard to say whether the screams are of supernatural human origin or plain old aviary one.

The ghost story that intrigued me most involved nothing to do with the bridge, however. It did involve the area that the bridge spans, though.

THE GHOST SHIP OF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

The area that the Golden Gate Bridge stretches across is called the Golden Gate Straight. In 1853, San Francisco’s famous fog swallowed the  SS Tennessee.  She got swept up in the currents which led her to the dangerous rocks. She sunk.

However, witnesses have reported seeing the two-masted ship sailing again…as a phantom vessel. People have claimed to see it and then watched it disappear into the fog.

In 1942, sailors aboard the USS Kennison even claimed to have seen it sail right past them. They didn’t spot a single soul aboard the decks. They said it didn’t register on their radar but it did leave a wake. It just sailed silently past them before disappearing into the fog.

NO GHOST SHIPS FOR US

The day we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge we did not see any ghost ships or fog. We did see a ton of boats, including two practicing for the America’s Cup.

From the bridge you can see Alcatraz. This shot captured the haunted prison island with some sailboats in front of it.

 

Here were the America’s Cup boats practicing before the big race. I heard many people comment about how excited they were to see the Oracle boat’s flags flying.

 

By the Golden Gate Bridge’s spires, the walkway fanned out over the water. I was trying to be creative with my photography by catching that part of the bridge with the America’s Cup boats below.
Another shot of the boats as they raced away from the bridge.
A shot of San Francisco’s skyline from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her on a tennis court somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
http://www.courtneymroch.com

10 thoughts on “The Ghosts of the Golden Gate Bridge

  1. I’d be WAAAAY too gutless to walk that distance that high above the water!! The ghost ship is intriguing – but the statistics of so many suicides kind of takes the gloss off it.

    Hope all is well with you!

  2. Hi Red!!!! I’ve missed you! I haven’t had time to stalk you lately. Hopefully I’ll get back to that soon. THANKS for remembering me and stopping by though. Always good to see you! And YES…the suicide thing puts it in perspective, doesn’t it? Kind of morbid, but hey…that’s a part of me I’m not always proud of but I am who I am…

  3. I watched the movie about all the suicides during one year…very sobering…very sad…I was at the sanfrancisco ballet co. 1969 …love the city then…still do…

  4. Hey I saw a portion of that movie I want to say, Gay. Was that the one where the man set up a camera to run across from the bridge and he caught so many of them? I want to say I saw an interview with him, if not a portion of his documentary. You’re right. Very sad and sobering stuff. Thanks for the comment! And did you dance for the ballet in ’69? Or just attended? Either way…San Fran in the 60s, especially right then, had to be WOW!!!!!!!

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