Tampa, FL

Never stop for hitchhikers on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, FL

Evie M.

There are so many stories floating around Florida. Like, you could be walking past a simple bush, and it'll have some grandiose history and probably be protected by the Florida historical society for one reason or another. I'm not trying to be rude or snarky, either. I think it's an incredible marvel and one of the reasons I fell in love with this awesome state. You could even be doing something as simple as driving over a bridge without realizing just how sinister the stories behind it are. 

Namely, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the "gateway to Tampa Bay." 

"The worst peacetime disaster in the history of the US Coast Guard"

The Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, known more commonly as the Sunshine Skyway Bridge or just the "Sunshine Skyway," is a two-bridge system with cable supports covering Lower Tampa Bay. This bridge is a staple of Florida society, conceptualized by Figg and Muller Engineering Group and created by the American Bridge Company in 1954. However, it has had quite its fair share of tragedies over only four months. The current Sunshine Skyway Bridge isn't even the original iteration. On January 28, 1980, 23 crewmembers aboard the Cutter Blackthorn and the tanker Capricorn lost their lives when both vessels collided not far west from the bridge. 

This terrible wreck will go down in history as "the worst peacetime disaster in the history of the US Coast Guard."

Then, on May 9, 1980, a freak storm caused the freighter MV Summit Venture to smack into a pier near the center of the bridge. Thirty-five people died when vehicles dove into the water when the southbound roadway buckled. 

In response to the terrible incident, the city took quick action, and soon a new Sunshine Skyway with safety measures was built, and a fishing pier, too. 

Don't pick up this pretty blonde hitchhiker on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

If that isn't enough, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is also known as one of the "most deadly bridges in the country," with 248 having jumped from it. 

And then there are the ghost stories. Many reports have been coming from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge about a pretty but mysterious hitchhiker. Kind-hearted drivers who have stopped to help spoke about a "beautiful blonde hitchhiker on the bridge." Stories say as they reach the top of the bridge, she will begin to cry but vanish when you turn around to console her. 

Could she be a lost soul that fell victim to this cursed bridge? Or something else entirely? I have no idea. But I know I will be taking another route if I can should I ever have to cross the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. If you do want to visit, though, note a few things.

Pedestrians are not allowed to walk on the bridge as it is only accessible by car. Make sure to keep your eyes on the road if you're looking out for her, and if I were you, if you see her, lock your doors. If you let whatever that is into the car, it's on you. Even I have limits. My only question is: What would you do?

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"Reader beware, you're in for a scare!--R.L. Stine"

Orlando, FL
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