Sep 4 2012 12:30pm

Magnets of Misery: Haunted Spaces

The famously haunted Colorado Street Bridge, aka Suicide Bridge, is a real location in Pasadena, California, where roughly 200 people have jumped to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1913. 

But the Colorado Street Bridge isn’t the only location that seems to incur more than its fair share of suicides. Why are certain locations suicide hotspots? Do these hotspots share common characteristics? To answer that, let’s look at the two most popular suicide spots in the world—Aokigahara Forest in Japan and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. 

The Sea of Trees, Aokigahara ForestAokigahara Forest, known as The Sea of Trees, is a ruggedly dense, fourteen-square-mile forest at the base of Mount Fuji. It’s the second most popular suicide spot in the world; each year, upwards of 100 people commit suicide in the depths of this forest. Methods of suicide vary. In 2011, the most common methods were hanging and drug overdoses. No one quite knows when the suicides began; the location has long been associated with death and Japanese folklore and demonology. But the suicides continue today with disturbing and steady regularity.    

Since it opened in 1937, it is estimated that nearly 2,000 people have committed suicide by leaping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, making it the most popular suicide spot in the world. Even today, an average of one person jumps off the iconic bridge every two weeks. 

The Golden Gate BridgeOn the surface, Aokigahara Forest and the Golden Gate Bridge have nothing in common, save for the staggering number of suicides. At the Golden Gate Bridge, people jump to their deaths. It’s as if they are consciously leaping through this life into the next. At Aokigahara Forest, there is no common method of suicide—self-inflicted gunshots, hanging, self-mutilation, and drug overdoses all occur. The only conclusion I can draw is that the method of suicide is irrelevant; it’s the locations themselves that possess the true power to end human lives. 

During the seven months I was writing Devil’s Gate, which involves the Colorado Street Bridge, three people committed suicide there. Two of these victims jumped to their deaths during the same week in April 2010. The day after the third suicide, a psychic I knew, but hadn’t spoken to in some time, called me out of the blue. She knew I was working on some project relating to the bridge. She asked if I had heard about a suicide from the day before. 

This psychic acquaintance told me that she had actually met the woman who jumped—that their children attended the same school. Then she told me something that gave me chills. She said the woman who jumped was coming to her in spirit and that she had a message she wanted delivered to me. This acquaintance then asked me to take her and another member of her psychic circle beneath the bridge to try to communicate with the spirit of the latest victim.    

A few days later, I accompanied these psychics on a visit beneath the bridge. I detail many of the events that occurred that day in my blog including a disembodied voice that appeared on an audio recording and my run-in with a full-body apparition.   

Lennon at the Colorado Street BridgeThe psychics conducted a séance near the spot where the latest victim fell. They claimed the spirit of the woman did come, though I didn’t see or hear anything out of the ordinary (mind you, this is before I knew there was a voice on my recorder from earlier that day).  

The message this suicide victim wanted to give to me, according to the psychic, was that she had made a terrible mistake, that she was mentally ill and off her meds, that she couldn’t resist a force that attracted her to the bridge. She said that her suicide didn’t end her pain. That suicide victims live on, and so does all the pain that drove them to suicide, as well as a new level of pain created for their loved ones in the wake of their suicides. And because of the intensity of all this pain, these lost souls were now trapped there.

I believe this spirit shared a very relevant message with me. Today, I believe that places like Aokigahara Forest, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Colorado Street Bridge are like giant magnets. But instead of metal, these magnets ceaselessly attract raw emotions like hopelessness and despair. For each suicide that occurs at these hotspots, the magnetic pull becomes that much stronger.  As the magnet of misery becomes more and more and more powerful, those tuned into this magnetic frequency of desperation are drawn on a destructive path directly toward it. And the broken spirits of the suicide victims who perish at these sites, still existing with all of the pain they experienced in life, plus more, become stuck to the magnet between worlds.    

In my mind, the real message of suicide hotspots around the globe is this: there’s no peace on the other side of suicide. Just more pain and sadness. 

If you or someone you know feels hopeless or suicidal, please call the Suicide Prevention National Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).

Image of Aokighara Forest via mtzn
Image of Golden Gate Bridge via gnahcgem

To enter for a chance to win one of  five copies of F.J. Lennon’s Devil’s Gate, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2012/09/magnets-of-misery-haunted-spaces-f-j-lennon beginning at 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) September 4, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET on September 18, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at https://www.criminalelement.com/page/official-rules-the-devils-gate-comment-contest. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

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F.J. Lennon is a novelist and independent interactive executive producer and designer. He is the author of Soul Trapper and Devil’s Gate, the first two installments in the Kane Pryce trilogy of novels. Over the course of his career, he has been involved in the development of numerous original computer games and educational software titles. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters. Find out more at www.fjlennon.com or at his official Facebook page.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Margot Core
1. AnnaZed
That's chilling! I live right near there. I'm looking forward to reading your book.
sean pynaert
2. spynaert
I am a registered member - please enter me in the contest.
Cecilia Huddleston
4. cjbh
I've read about the "Sea of Trees" in Japan recently...it's such a creepy & sad place. I feel for those that think there is no escape from their problems, their mental or physical anguish except to end their own life. I also can't imagine how those people must feel that have lost ones in this manner. They must feel guilt besides the pain of loss. I hope to never have to know this type of pain.

I would really like to read your book, "Devil's Gate" as well as "Soul Trapper". Please enter me in this contest to win "Devil's Gate". I'm very interested in reading both of these novels.

Cindi Hoppes
5. CindiHoppes
In Eureka Springs, Arkansas, our son stayed in a hotel that is supposed
be one of the most haunted places in the United States...I find your post
very interesting and would certainly enjoy reading your book! I think
my degree in Psychology is just one reason that people have always
fascinated me...Many thanks to you! Cindi
Michael X
6. MichaelX
Very interesting not to mention somewhat spooky! Soul Trapper sounds like my kind of read, I'll have to pick it up. And then keep my fingers crossed that I win a copy of Devil's Gate.

Michael X
8. jim162065
vvery cool idea.
Vickie Couturier
9. vickiecouturier
enter me too please,my husband loves this type of book
vicki wurgler
10. bison61
I'd love to read this book sounds kind of eerie

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com
11. Patricia
This book would be a great read just for the chills and melancholy feel.
Melissa Keith
12. melly801
Devil’s Gate appeals to me immensely, F.J. !!
I enjoyed your post. I have had a lot of experiences with the paranormal. However I didn't know about these 'suicide hotspots'. I visited a graveyard once, and as I leaned against a headstone to rest, I heard a man thank me for visiting 'them'. When I went around to see who was buried there it was a man and his son.
That's just one of many stories I could tell. Maybe I should write my own book, eh? Anyway I would feel very fortunate to win your book. Have a great weekend, all!
F.J. Lennon
13. fjlennon21
Thank you for all of the comments. And thanks to all who are going to read my novels. Feel free to ask any specific questions.
Susan Simko
14. shsimko
Sounds interesting and incredibly sad. Can't wait to read it now that you have sparked my interest!
Carol Gowett
15. clynsg
The really horrible thing about suicides is that there is no way for it to be retracted when it has happened. It is almost more painful to think that the person remains in pain after death--for some families, they may get some comfort if they can believe that their loved one is now at peace, but it would not be good to take whatever comfort they can get from that away.
16. orchid7
Woah... I didn't know that about those bridges. I guess that's why our tour guide in San Francisco told us to "watch for jumpers" as we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. I had no idea he was serious. -_-
Your book sounds interesting- I'm going to have to check your series out.
Anne Muller
17. anne38
Didn't a hollywood exec. just take a jumper in CA?
Deborah Dumm
18. deb730
this sounds like a cool series will have to read it. thank you!!!!!!!
Becky Hantsbarger
20. BeckyIA
Very interesting. And also, as shsimko said, very sad.
F.J. Lennon
21. fjlennon21
Clysng: You make a good point. Perhaps many souls do mercifully move on after their suicides. But clearly, in these haunted places, many don't. I'm not insinuating that it's all or nothing in regards to suicide victims remaining trapped or moving on in death. Who knows, really?
F.J. Lennon
22. fjlennon21
anne38: yes, Tony Scott, director of Top Gun, among a long list of hits, committed suicide by jumping of the Harbor Bridge in Los Angeles. Shocking. The news media reported initially that he had terminal cancer. Then that story was retracted a few days later. Very strange. What a tragedy!
Laura K. Curtis
23. LauraKCurtis
This is national suicide prevention week in the US. So check on your loved ones...depression is an evil, evil thing.
Charlee Griffith
24. Possum
This sounds quite interesting! I look forward to reading it - winner or not. :-)
Anna Mills
25. Anna Mills
Sounds like the best one you have offered yet! And that is saying something!
Thanks for the chance!
Diana  Meyer
29. vvwoman
It makes you think, look forward to reading more.
Rebecca Brothers
32. RileyC
Sounds perfert for the Halloween season!
susan beamon
33. susanbeamon
always been told suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. intersting idea that the problem continues for the dead. maybe that meme will stick to discourage more people from ending things early.
Mary Ann Woods
34. puttputt1198eve
There seems to be somewhat of the paranormal in this book. I think I would enjoy it!
John Kilgallon
35. affordableghost
Sci-Fi channel’s Destination Truth, produced an episode where its investigation team went to the Aokigahara Forest to conduct a paranormal investigation. As I recall it was quite creepy.

F.J. Lennon
36. fjlennon21
affordableghost: Saw that episode. It was scary and disturbing.
Jerrilynn Atherton
39. jerrilynn
Sounds right up my alley...going on the TBR!
Sharon Haas
41. kazul
So sad! One hopes that at least the person is no longer in such anguish and to think that isn't so makes it even sader
Megan Mariner
43. luckeeblackcat
Sounds creepy and intriguing! Looking forward to the read!
Cheryl U.
44. matkeltri
This is a fascinating subject and sounds like a great read.
Crystal Fulcher
46. cfulcher
Interesting yet sad post, suicide really saddens me and scares me. I honestly did not know about these three "suicide hot spots". It does intrigue me to read Devil's Gate.
Kelley Tackett
47. tackettfamilyky
I can't wait to read this book. Sounds fascinating!
48. Kgirl
What a macabre read.
50. Shannon Baas
Looks like an interesting book.
Michael Papagermanos
51. MPAndonee
This could be interesting and inspiring if you're a writer.
54. undermyappletree
Sounds like my kind of book. Thanks for the giveaway.
55. edq143
sounds very interesting
58. runner
Groovy book-a-roni!
F.J. Lennon
59. fjlennon21
If you read the book, please share your feedback with me at fj@fjlennon.com
61. James Murray
Sounds like an interesting book.
Leslie Mcewan
62. mosey49
this sounds facinating would love to win it
Helen Gibbs
63. hrg126
I lived in a haunted house about 1o years ago.
F.J. Lennon
64. fjlennon21
hrg126: What's your best ghost story from the house?
kacey robling
67. spirit3112007
registered and ready to read this awesome book!
kathy pease
68. klp1965
Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in :)
69. Daniel M
love reading about the paranormal
LeAnn Knott
72. knottlady
This looks thrilling to find out about all these spookey places! Hope to read it soon!!!!
Kimberley Meier
73. MRSMEIER5627
I love the paranormal this book sounds awesome!!
Buddy Garrett
It sounds very interesting but sad.
Cassandra Marquez
76. cassandraashley
this seems like when i read it i wont be able to sleep lol! looking forward to it :)
Heather Cowley
81. choochoo
Hmmmm, hits a little close to home. Should be an interesting read.
Regina Marlborough
82. marjeannie
I, and all the rest look forward to reading this.
Marie Oetzel
83. slcdragon89
Sounds like a good book. This intrests me fasinates me.
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