Locals in the area say that the bridge is a hot spot for suicides and that the bridge is haunted by ghosts that tempt people into jumping to their deaths. However, there is a specific ghost that is often seen on the west side of the bridge. According to witnesses, the ghost appears as a young Hispanic woman wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. She is often mistaken as a “real” person as she walks east on the south walkway of the bridge. When she reaches the center, she suddenly vanishes.
The most creditable witness is a State Trooper who encountered the ghost one evening while on patrol in October of 2001. He was heading west on the bridge when he passed a young juvenile Hispanic woman who was walking east on the structure’s south walkway. Thinking that she may have had car trouble, he continued crossing before turning around near the bridge’s identification marker. As he turned his patrol car around, the headlights illuminated the bridge ahead. There was nobody there.
Since it would have been impossible for the woman to completely cross to the other side, he accelerated back towards the location where he last saw her. The only logical conclusion would be that the woman had jumped off of the bridge. After pulling over near the center of the bridge, the trooper used a high powered spotlight to search the area of the gorge below. There were no signs of anything unusual but it was possible that the body landed in the river and drifted down stream. He radioed in the incident and prepared a report. However no missing person reports were filed and no body was found. Three months after this encounter, the same State Trooper saw this woman again, walking on the same section of the bridge. Once again, when he proceeded to investigate, the woman mysteriously vanished. Since that time he has heard stories from other State troopers that have had similar encounters with an identical woman. Other stories of this phantom woman have been told with elements of the story being very similar. Most of the stories are told by a few locals with the exception of several which have been posted on ghost forums on the Internet.
The first hypothesis we looked at was to see if a person could maneuver and hide on the other side of the railing (thus giving the illusion of jumping). From our observations, this could be possible but would be very unlikely due to the degree of difficulty and the skill required.
The second hypothesis is that, somehow, the woman was able to sprint across the bridge before the trooper could turn his car around at the other end. We were able to test this since we knew the approximate location where the woman was when the trooper spotted her. This testing failed as well. Even with our fastest “runner” no one was able to get anywhere close to the other side before our car turned around.
It is indisputable that many people have committed suicide on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. While our research was unable to find a young woman matching the description of the ghost that is seen on the bridge, the list complied during our research is far from complete. While this site has some interesting stories, it does not seem to be overly active. It is possible that certain stories could have been embellished over the years and contributed to the development of another urban legend. However, confounding variables are presented by the accounts of the State troopers and the veridical information that exists between their accounts.