Overtoun Bridge in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland was built in 1895 for ease of access to Overtoun house. While it is quite a nice looking bridge, it isn’t anything special compared to most historical sites in Scotland… except for the fact that dogs crossing the bridge feel compelled to throw themselves to their inevitable demise.
This phenomenon has been occurring since the 1950s, with the bridge claiming the lives of dogs at an average rate of one per year.
At this stage, Overtoun Bridge has claimed more than 50 dogs’ lives that we know of. It’s likely that the figure is much higher if canines unaccompanied by humans are taken into account. The lure of the bridge is so strong, that some dogs have leapt off a second time if they happened to survive the first.
There are some striking similarities in most cases of documented dog “suicides” at Overtoun. Most of the incidents seem to happen at the same place – between the final two parapets of the bridge on the right hand side. It mostly happens in clear weather, and it also tends to happen with breeds with long snouts such as labs, collies and retrievers.
The mystery has been studied in depth, and the best answer anyone could come up with was that dogs were being lured to their death by a potent odour of male mink urine. This is despite a local hunter swearing that there were no mink nearby. Even if there were, mink are not confined to that one corner of Scotland, and this phenomenon doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else.
The Overtoun Bridge mystery opens up a lot of questions about domesticated animals and whether they would deliberately commit suicide. Considering it only happens at that one spot, there seems to be something else at play here, however.
Local legend claims the bridge is haunted, and at least one human victim has experienced its effects. In October 1994, a man named Kevin Moy threw his two week old son from the bridge, condemning the infant to death as he believed the child was the Anti-Christ. Moy then attempted to end his own life in the same way, though was unsuccessful.
A sign has been erected in recent years at Overtoun Bridge, warning dog owners to keep their pets on a lead.
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