The Dog Suicide Bridge

The Overtoun Bridge is an arch bridge located near Milton, Dumbarton, Scotland which was built in 1859 and has become famous for the number of unexplained instances in which dogs have apparently committed suicide by leaping off of it.

The incidents were first recorded around the 1950's or 1960's when it was noticed that dogs - usually the long-nosed variety like Collies - would suddenly and unexpectedly leap off the bridge and fall fifty feet to their deaths.  In some cases, however, the dogs would survive, recuperate, and then leap off the bridge again.  The locals have a name for these dogs: second-timers.

What makes this tragic mystery even more mysterious is that many of the dogs that jump from Overton Bridge jump from the same side and from almost the same spot: between the final two parapets on the right-hand side of the bridge.

But why is this happening?  What would compel otherwise contented canines to leap from the stone structure?

Some believe that the bridge is haunted.  In 1994, a man threw his baby son off the bridge claiming that it was the anti-Christ.  Later, the man attempted suicide there as well.  Was Overton Bridge responsible for this tragic event?

Another theory comes from Celtic beliefs that Overton Bridge is a "thin place" where the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead meet and sometimes cross over.  Some believe that dogs are more sensitive to the paranormal and perhaps they are getting spooked by spirits.  In fact, one psychic toured the bridge and, although she admitted that she felt nothing malevolent - only peace, her dog pulled on its leash to the right side of the bridge.

A more rational explanation for the "dog suicides" could be the mink population that resides under the bridge in the brush.  Veterinarians and animal experts have pointed out that a dog, overly excited at the smell of the minks and unable to see over the sides of the bridge, might leap over the side on impulse not realizing that they are on a bridge at all.

Whatever the explanation for the famous Dog Suicide Bridge actually is could be debated for years without satisfaction.  Just take some advise from the locals and keep your best friend on a leash when visiting Overton Bridge.

 

 

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