TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwanese netizens have become spooked by a digital readout of a turnstile showing "741 people" standing on Dijiu Suspension Bridge (地久吊橋) , even though it is completely empty, with many attributing it to supernatural sightseers run amuck during Ghost Month (鬼月).
In the photo, uploaded to the Facebook group Baofei Commune (爆廢公社公), the sign on the turnstile reads "Currently on the bridge there are 741 people," however, the small suspension bridge is clearly empty as it is late at night. Many were also frightened by the fact that the bridge is only designed to hold 45 people at a time.
Taiwanese netizens quickly freaked out over the eerie image:
"My heart is pounding."
"Can someone please tell me where the 741 people are?"
"Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they aren't there."
"The midnight ghost hunters are going on a sightseeing tour."
"You didn't notice a lot of people staring back at you."
In Mandarin, the number four (四, si) is a homophone with the word for death (死, si) and one netizen wrote that the pronunciation of the number 741 sounds like "one goes to die" (去死一[人]).
(Photo from Facebook group Baofei Commune)
Normally, each time a person enters the number should go up, while it goes down with each person leaving and should reset to zero by the end of the day. However, one rational netizen pointed out the possibility that "if you keep pushing the turnstile, the number will continue to climb."
The readout on the turnstile has been known to be inaccurate, with two visitors being reportedly counted as 16 in one case. An Alishan National Scenic Area official told ETtoday that the sensor is actually at waist height and sometimes tourists inadvertently raise their hands and put them down, occasionally causing an inaccurate count. He said that errors in the count inevitably accumulate over time and personnel have to be sent to adjust it.
Dijiu Suspension Bridge during the day. (Wikimedia Commons image)
The structure is known as the Dijiu Suspension Bridge and it is located at a scenic spot on Alishan overlooking Bazhang Creek in Chiayi County. The bridge was built during the Japanese colonial era in 1937 and was named to honor the birthday of the Japanese imperial consort.
Taiwan's Ghost Month, observed in the 7th month of the lunar calendar, which this year runs from Aug. 11 to Sept. 9, is when Taoists and Buddhists believe that the gates of hell are opened for "hungry ghosts" to roam the world of the living in search of food, money, entertainment, and possibly souls. A "hungry ghost" is a being that has been sent to the underworld to suffer an eternal state of hunger for their misdeeds or for not having a proper burial.