There is a 19th-Century Bridge located in Dumbarton, Scotland. It’s a rather beautiful bridge known as the Overtoun Bridge but the reason why people know about it is quite different from what you might think. After all, it carries the nickname of the “dog suicide bridge.”
Dogs have been jumping from the bridge for years. In fact, it is known to have happened as early as the 1950s. The bridge crosses a 50-foot ravine and it has been reported on by numerous outlets. In addition, there has been at least one full-length book written about the bridge. Although it is unclear how many dogs have died jumping from the bridge, some people say that it numbers in the hundreds. Regardless of how many it is, however, it’s strange that it happens.
Not every dog that jumps from the bridge dies but if they do live, it is likely that they are severely injured. There is even a report of one dog who jumped from the bridge and survived, only to run back to the bridge again and jump a second time.
This leads many people to wonder why so many dogs have jumped from the Gothic style bridge.
One of the theories comes from an animal behaviorist, David Sands. He visited the bridge in 2010 and feels that the dogs weren’t jumping to their death on purpose. Many of the dogs that have reportedly jumped have longer noses and are known for their keen tracking skills. It may be that a wild animal scent in the area could trigger them to jump.
Some of the dogs may be able to see or smell wild animals below the bridge, says Sands. The tapered edges built into the bridge’s construction might make it look as if they are jumping to a flat, safe area from the lower point of view. It could confuse the dog and lead to them jumping.
Sands says the following in his documentary about the bridge: “I think it’s highly likely in all the cases here at Overtoun Bridge that it was curiosity that killed the dog.”
As you can imagine, there are plenty of superstitious people in that part of the country. Some feel that there is something else behind the dogs jumping to their death.
One of the theories is that a grieving widow, the “White Lady of Overtoun” is behind the deaths. Another theory points to something that happened in 1994 when a 32-year-old man threw his baby over the bridge, thinking he was the antichrist. The baby did not survive and the father ended up in an institution.
Some of the locals claim that the dogs jumped from the same spot where the baby was thrown from, but that wouldn’t explain any dogs jumping prior to 1994.
Science may someday be able to unlock the secret but at this point, they don’t have any clue what is causing it. Until the mystery is solved, it may be a good idea to keep your dog on a leash as they approach the bridge.
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