This week children across the country will don costumes and trick or treat their way to a pillowcase full of candy. Haunted Houses, corn mazes and hayrides have been in full swing since the beginning of October. Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31. But its origins go back much further. History tells us the holiday originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a day to honor all saints. Not long after, All Saints Day and Samhain traditions were combined. In the 1800s, Irish and Scottish immigrants brought their Halloween festivities to North America. The celebration’s ties to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Dayare fading in secular America. Today people associate Halloween with black cats, sweet treats and all things pumpkin.
Believe it or not, bridges are also getting their fair share of the Halloween action. Ten bridges are famous for their roles in numerous ghost stories. Peckforton Castle in England was built in the 1850s. The castle draws tourists because of its strange architecture, but the small footbridge visitors have to cross is considered haunted. Locals claim if you walk under it and keep your eyes trained straight ahead, you’ll see the ghost of a servant woman from the castle. Anyone who sees the woman will be dead within a year. You can read about the rest of these scary structures here.
Another category of scary bridges are those spans that people find too frightening to cross. You don’t need to be suffering from gephyrophobia [fear of bridges] to feel your blood pressure rise when you take a look at some of these.
The Trift Suspension Bridge, built in 2004, is one of the longest and highest suspension bridges in the Alps, poised 328 ft. above the Trift Glacier. Higher handrails and stabilizing cables added in 2009 help cut down on the structure’s tendency to sway in the wind. Sort of.
A suspension bridge in Shiniuzhai National Geological Park, China is made of glass and stretches 1,410 ft. between two mountains. Just don’t look down at the 984-ft. drop if you decide to cross it. On Mount Hua in China, a “bridge” made of wooden planks hugs the mountainside at a height of 7,000 ft. To cross it you must clip your harness to the rope that runs the length of the mountain and then shuffle across as you hold on to a chain. You can read more about these bridges here.
Deception Pass Bridge in Washington state’s Deception Pass State Park looks like something right out of horror movie. On a foggy day visibility is zero. Drivers are afraid to travel over the turbulent waters of Puget Sound. The narrow pedestrian lane perched on the edge of bridge take’s the fear factor to a new level.
Billed as the world’s longest crossing over ice, Canada’s Confederation Bridge links Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick. The eight-mile structure is considered an engineering marvel because it can withstand the powerful ice flows that routinely strike it. Pointed shields at the base of its piers help break up the ice and prevent damage. Drivers up for a white knuckle experience are advised to the check the website which posts updated wind advisories every six minutes. You can read more about these bridges here.
Whether you plan to enter the darkness of a Haunted House this week or perchance cross one of these bridges, keep your wits about you.