The mysterious bridge where dogs go to kill themselves
Don’t take Fido for a walk here.
Residents of West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, love strolling over Overtoun Bridge, a picturesque 19th-century bridge. But dog owners steer clear of the structure, which has developed a reputation as a doggie suicide bridge.
Fifty pooches have leapt off the 50-foot bridge since the 1950s — and no one’s sure why, according to Vice UK. The Daily Mail reported in 2006 that five dogs jumped to their deaths in six months alone a year before.
Some 600 more dogs are said to have flung themselves off the bridge from the same exact spot and survived — after which some of them get back up and try to jump all over again.
Local Donna Cooper lost her collie, Ben, in 2005 to the deadly bridge. She tells the Daily Mail, “His paw was broken, his jaw was broken and his back was broken and badly twisted. The vet decided it wasn’t worth putting him through the pain, so we had to let him go.”
Some believe that the bridge and Overtoun House, a former estate, are haunted. (“In Scotland, everything old and Scottish is said to be haunted,” Vice UK writes.)
Another theory goes that the pups are being lured over the edge by animals hiding beneath the bridge, such as squirrels, mice and minks, which give off enticing scents to the pups.
Long-nosed breeds, such as German shepherds and Scottish terriers, seem to be the most affected, Vice UK reports.
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has investigated the bizarre phenomenon. But it hasn’t figured out what’s happening — and until it does, local dog owners aren’t taking any chances.
Could dogs be deliberately committing suicide?
Built in 1895 by Calvinist Lord Overtoun, the ornate Victorian structure arches 50ft over Overtoun Burn, the stream which runs below.
Now, thanks to stories posted on the internet, doglovers from around the world are asking: could dogs be deliberately committing suicide on this particular bridge, and if so, why?
In an attempt to solve a problem which has left many local dog owners so concerned, they will no longer walk their pets on the doomed bridge, a host of specialists converged on the west Scotland town earlier this year to investigate - and finally solve the mystery.
Rumours have long circulated that the bridge and nearby Overtoun House are haunted. In 1994, local man Kevin Moy threw his baby son to his death from the bridge, claiming he thought the child was the anti-Christ.
Shortly after he tried to end his own life with an unsuccessful suicide attempt from the same bridge.
Donna Cooper says: 'Rumour has it that he was on drugs, but he insisted the place was haunted and it does seem to have a strange effect on people and dogs.'
The Thin Place
In Celtic mythology, Overtoun is known as 'the thin place' - an area in which heaven and earth are reputed to be close.
Certainly dogs have been shown in the past to be more sensitive than humans.
Were they 'spooked' by some supernatural or external force emanating from the bridge, and deliberately leaping to their deaths?
Psychic Mary Armour took her own labrador for a walk along the bridge to test the theory. However, she reported no unusual sensations.
'Animals are hyper-sensitive to the spirit world, but I didn't feel any adverse energy.'
In fact, Mary said she experienced a feeling of 'pure calmness and serenity' but admitted that her dog did pull her towards the right-hand side of the structure.