For most people, just walking across one of China’s glass-bottomed bridges or skyways takes all the courage one could muster. And since one bridge on Henan’s Yuntai Mountain cracked back in 2015, sending tourists into a panic and resulting in its closure, most of these scenic walkways have gone out of their way to demonstrate their safety and security.
For example, owners of the Zhangjiajie bridge held numerous rounds of “safety testing” to assure the public of its structural soundness ahead of its opening. Media stunts included driving huge SUVs over the bridge, and getting strongmen to smash the glass panels with mallets.
But one spot near the city of Handan has decided to take a more sadistic approach: Instead of reassuring people of the safety of its bridge, the Hebei scenic area is preying on people’s worst fears. As visitors walk across the glass skywalk which hangs 3,871 feet above sea level off the side of Taihang Mountain, the panels appear to fracture beneath their feet. Using video screens, pieces of broken glass, and even sounds of glass shattering, visitors are made to think that the glass walkway is shattering, and they are about to fall to their doom.
Watch as one as one tour guide happens across the illusion:
OK, so maybe the tour guide was in on the joke.
But those who aren’t privy to the illusion might have a less amusing reaction to thinking they are about to tumble through broken glass, down a gigantic mountain to their deaths. With the realization that such an experience could trigger a heart attack, the East Taihang tourism administration issued an apology for the prank.
The official apology explains that the splintering glass was merely an “effect” it worked into a portion of its bridge, in order to be “provocative.” While officials are “very sorry that people got frightened,” they have no plans to remove the shattered panels with regular ones, because they hope people will want to come and experience them for themselves.
Just a head’s up: that apology link takes you to a letter that has been translated into English. It’s an interesting read despite–or because of–the awkward translation, and one sentence in particular seems to hit the nail right on the head: “I’m sorry, we’re going to be outrageous.”