This encounter happened about 1982. That's quite a while ago, but it's stuck in my memory as one of the first encounters I've had with a spirit. Luckily, they seem to appear as normal people to me, so at the time I'm not especially frightened. The place was under the north pier of the Golden Gate Bridge. There's a parking lot and an incline that leads down under the north tower. It's surrounded by granite blocks that are huge. Probably 10 feet wide and 8 feet tall. They were cut as supports for the bridge as it was being built and were never removed. When you're in your early 20's it's a romantic place to walk. There's a very small lighthouse, called the Fort Point Light, that was decommissioned when the bridge was built and you can sit there and watch the fog roll down over the city and hear the foghorn blast from under the south tower,
I was dating a man who lived in San Francisco and we were young and broke so we went to Ghirardelli Chocolates and then went for a walk under the north tower to spend a little time alone enjoy the sunset. It was almost sunset as we parked and walked down to the lighthouse. We sat on the little jetty next to it and talked until it was fully dark; probably about 8:30 because it was either September or October.
I don't know if you've been to San Francisco, but it gets very windy and cold as the sun goes down and we had only light jackets on. We decided to go back up to the car and head to a little coffee shop on 18th Ave to warm up. As we got closer to the granite blocks I noticed a man in a red flannel shirt and what looked like wool pants and work boots on sitting on top of a block smoking a pipe. What sticks in my mind is the glow from his pipe and the smell of tobacco that carried on the breeze.
I nodded to him and said hello (we were walking within about 5 feet of where he was sitting) and he said "Hello, fine evening isn't it?" I asked him if he needed a ride anywhere because the parking lot was empty except for our car and he answered very politely that he was waiting for his wife and daughter but thank you. I asked if they were driving to meet him and he laughed and said no, he'd been there for quite a while but he would see them walk up. Odd.
At about this time, it registered on me that my date was jiggling. Literally, he was hopping from one foot to another like he was in a windstorm and he was tugging frantically on my jacket sleeve. He grabbed my elbow and pushed me in front of him up to the parking lot and shoved me into the car. I was pretty irritated and couldn't figure out what his freaking problem was. It was bad enough that he hadn't said a word to the nice man but he hadn't even let me say good bye as we left.
I turned to yell at him as he backed out and peeled out of the parking lot as fast as he could but I was stopped by how pale he was. He looked as if he were about to cry! He didn't say a word until we got off the bridge and then started yelling "Who were you talking to?". It turns out he didn't see the man. He didn't hear him either. He only smelled pipe smoke and saw me talking to a granite block. He said he felt freezing air and was afraid that if we didn't leave something horrible was going to happen. He was afraid we'd disappear were his exact words.
Well, I was a little freaked out and started doing a some research on who this man might be. The Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1938 and several workers were killed while building it. My guess is that he was one of the men who died during the construction and his spirit was tied to the place. As for waiting for his wife and daughter? Maybe they still lived in San Francisco and he was waiting for them to pass and he would cross over at the same time. It doesn't sound like a bad place to wait. I never saw my date again after that night, but who can blame him? I was talking to a spirit. That would be enough for anyone to decide to find a girlfriend who didn't talk to people who weren't there. I've had a lot of encounters since then but I'm grateful that he was sweet and polite. It taught me to stop and remember that mostly they're just people and not purposefully trying to frighten you.