This Terrifying Washington Bridge Looks Straight Out Of A Horror Movie

Bridges are pretty useful for getting from point A to B, aren't they? Like their inverted cousins, tunnels, they are simply one of humankind's greatest innovations for cutting down on travel time. Symbolically, they are as inspiring as some of their views, representing hope, stability, connections, and progress. Bridges can have a spiritual connotation, too, evoking the link between the world of the living and the afterlife. When it comes to movies, however, bridges are often used to generate scares and suspense: Just take the rope bridge finale of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" or the nail-biting river crossing in William Friedkin's "Sorcerer," for example. From the roster of real-life bridges, Deception Pass Bridge in Washington State has the terrifying drama nailed down, looking like something straight from a horror movie. 

Located on the beautiful Pacific Northwest coastline, Deception Pass Bridge sweeps gracefully 180 feet across the cold waters of its namesake strait. Its singular name is somewhat deceptive as it refers to two bridges: one spanning Deception Pass and the other crossing Canoe Pass, with Pass Island in the middle. It is the centerpiece of Deception Pass State Park, and the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It's a scenic spot for a drive, yet under certain conditions, it can look positively terrifying. No wonder it was chosen for a cameo appearance in Gore Verbinski's creepy 2002 supernatural horror "The Ring."

How Deception Pass Bridge got its ominous name

The beautiful coastline of the Pacific Northwest has a high proportion of dismal-sounding points of interest on the map: Cape Disappointment, Destruction Island, and Massacre Bay, to name just a few. Deception Pass follows this trend, acquiring its name in the late 1700s when the Spanish and the British were exploring the region. Originally, the waterway seemed to be a small bay or river mouth. It was only when Joseph Whidbey, the chief navigator of Captain George Vancouver, successfully sailed through it did they discover that it opened onto the Saratoga Passage. Thus, the strait was given the name Deception Pass.

A bridge across the turbulent straits was the brainchild of Captain George Morse in the 1880s, who envisioned a bridge using Pass Island as a central support for the structure. The idea became a reality when construction began in August 1934 and was completed almost a year later. The bridges are beautiful in their simplicity, two elegant steel arches spanning the waterways. The 28-foot wide bridge crossing carries two lanes and a narrow walkway on either side, making for a picturesque drive or an atmospheric stroll. It is less appealing when it gets foggy in the winter months, as visibility can drop to almost zero and the bridge eerily vanishes into the rolling mists. On days like this, Deception Pass Bridge truly looks like something from John Carpenter's "The Fog."

Is Deception Pass Bridge as scary as it sounds?

Deception Pass Bridge is known as one of the most beautiful places in America's state and national parks, but is it as scary as its name suggests? The waters of Deception Pass are known for fast currents, whirlpools, and strong winds that can present a challenge to even experienced sailors, but the bridge itself isn't particularly deadly. It can be nerve-racking for people without a head for heights, and it takes a brave soul to venture across it when it is shrouded in fog, but fatal accidents are few and far between. The potential is there, however. In 2021, strong winds tipped over a semi-truck, leaving it dangling perilously over the side railings (luckily, no one was hurt). That aside, the only real danger is by one's own hand. Deception Pass Bridge has unfortunately experienced multiple suicides over the decades with several people taking their own lives each year, leading to calls for extra barriers to prevent such terrible tragedies.

If you are easily spooked or simply don't like the idea of crossing a narrow bridge in thick fog, perhaps the best time to visit the area and marvel at the views is during the peak months of July and August. If you really want to experience that horror-movie vibe that Deception Pass Bridge can have at times, then bundle up and make the trip during October, which is often the foggiest month in the area.

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