Location Description and History
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was designed by the New Mexico State Highway Department Bridge Design Section and it won first place for the most beautiful span in 1966 in competition sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction.
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.
We arrived at the bridge around 9:30pm, parking our cars in the rest area parking lot on the west side of the bridge. After a short briefing we moved towards the bridge and began to walk across towards the center. Initially we got several readings on the Trifield meter, mostly spikes up to 4 nt. This was the only area of the bridge where we obtained any readings. As we continued out towards the center, we took photos and EM readings from the bridge walkway, which trembled with vibrations from passing trucks and cars. Near the center of the bridge there are several areas that jut outwards. After surveying these areas we proceeded back to the parking lot.
Many of the stories of "ghosts" tempting people to jump from the bridge appear to be nothing more than urban legend. The ghost of the young woman is abit more interesting as the area where she is often seen is also the only location where we obtained any EM readings.
Sept, 1990: Patrick Chase, 43, of Taos. Chase, a Taos loner who made smudge sticks for a living, disappeared leaving his vehicle at the rim of the Rio Grande gorge. No body ever found.
15 Nov 1990: Mike Finley, 45. Finley's body was found in the sage west of the gorge bridge. The report states that Finley committed suicide but it doesn't say how. He worked as a telephone technician in Taos.
16 Dec, 1991: Dennis Magnusen, 54, of Astoria OR Magnusen jumped to his death from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
27 Aug, 1992: Katherine
Seed Kimbril, 50, of Taos (for 8 years)
31 Aug, 1992: Matt Aurand, 20, of Dixon. Aurand disappeared and his truck was discovered at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. On 9 September kayakers find a body which authorities speculate may be Aurand's. No further information reported.
28 March, 1996: Elmer
D. Parham, 75, of Fairview
15 Aug, 1996:: Alicia Lauritzen, 51. Lauritzen, a psychotherapist with two children, jumped to her death from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
22 Nov, 1996: Charlie Sutherland, 21 and Kamala Sutherland, 21. The newlyweds jumped to their deaths from the Gorge Bridge; the bride suffered from bi-polar disorder.
14 Jan, 2000: Dwight John Juers, 30, of St. Paul, MN Juers,, described as a loner and a wanderer, apparently jumped to his death from the Gorge Bridge.
19 June, 2000: Tomas
Montoya, 40, of Rio Rancho
3 Oct, 2001: Charles Smith, 37, of Santa Fe. Smith disappeared, abandoning a rental car at the Gorge Bridge containing his wallet and keys, in early October. Originally from Mississippi, Smith had lived and worked most recently in Santa Fe, though he had been in Taos for a while staying at motels. His father said he suffered from depression. On 8 November, his body was discovered in gorge by rafters.
November 13, 2002
7 March, 2003: Herson
27 April, 2003: Mariana
4 June, 2003: Susan
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.
But where does the truth began and the legend ends?
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