a love triangle between self, the Golden Gate, and death


In 1975 Dr. David Rosen conducted a psychiatric study among six people who were known to have survived jumps from the Golden Gate Bridge. His analysis was the first to utilize this specific control group—an exotic breed considering a plunge from the Golden Gate is 99 percent fatal. Rosen had gathered a minority that had somehow emerged from a widely accepted point-of-no-return, gems in the world of suicidology, where opportunity for follow-up is as frequent as immortality. Through a set of private interviews, Rosen discovered that each subject had specific suicide plans that involved only the Golden Gate Bridge. They collectively described the location as romantic, notorious, accessible, and effective—the perfect combination of myth and practicality. One subject imagined a sort-of love triangle between himself, the Golden Gate, and death. “There is a kind of form to it,” he said. “A certain grace and beauty.” Another denied even attempting suicide; he believed the Bridge was a set of “golden doors” leading from the material into the spiritual world. “It was the Golden Gate Bridge or nothing.” The group’s recollections assume a tone synonymous with people who have been there and back, a pitch the rest of us cannot quite perceive. They were thankful for their lives, but also for having experienced the once-in-a-lifetime sensation of jumping to one’s own death. “I felt like a bird flying,” one subject remembered.

more from Candace Opper at Guernica here.