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The Mystery Of The Bridge That Causes Dogs To Commit Suicide

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The Mystery Of The Bridge That Causes Dogs To Commit Suicide

There are some pretty strange unsolved mysteries out there, but very few are as singularly bizarre as that of Overtoun Bridge.

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Overtoun Bridge is located in the grounds of Overtoun House in Dumbarton, Scotland. The house has stood for more than 150 years, but in the last 70 years something very strange has been going on at the bridge that leads up to it.

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Dogs have started committing suicide over the edge of it.

The bridge spans over a 50ft drop with rocks at the bottom. Since the 1950s, 50 dogs have leaped to their death, with up to 600 allegedly making the jump and surviving - mostly with severe injuries.

Nobody really knows why dogs do it, but all of the incidents have two things in common - all of those who jump are long-nosed dogs, and they all jump off at the same place, between the final two parapets on the right hand side of the bridge.

Credit: Lairich Rig (Creative Commons)
Credit: Lairich Rig (Creative Commons)
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Obviously, a lot of theories revolve around some sort of paranormal explanation. There are those who believe that the area is a 'thin place' - an old Celtic term for a place where the distance between this world and the spirit world is closer than usual.

Another theory relates to the former lady of the house, Lady Overtoun.

Lady Overtoun outlived her husband by several decades and there have long been stories of sightings and paranormal activity concerning her since her death in 1931 - shortly before the start of the dog deaths.

Paul Owens, the author of a book on the subject said: "It's a very strange place. One of the things peculiar to the location is that it can seem very peaceful and tranquil, but it can turn at a moment's notice.

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"You can experience great joy, but at the flick of a switch you are filled with horror and terror, I've felt it and I've seen it happen."

However, there are slightly less far-fetched explanations that have been suggested over the years.

Credit: Dave Souza (Creative Commons)
Credit: Dave Souza (Creative Commons)

Dr David Sands, a canine psychologist, performed some actual research and has suggested that a combination of sensory deprivation and the presence of mink could be the answer - I did say 'less far-fetched', didn't I?

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You see, mink emit a strong smell, and the bridge makes it so the dogs can't see or hear anything below. The argument is that this makes their sense of smell go haywire, causing them to chase the mink scent off the bridge.

Sands told a Channel 5 documentary: "When you get down to a dog's level, the solid granite of the bridge's 18-inch thick walls obscures their vision and blocks out all sound. As a result, the one sense not obscured, that of smell, goes into overdrive.

"I think it's highly likely in all the cases here at Overtoun Bridge that it was curiosity that killed the dog."

Whether it's the ghost of Lady Overtoun, the smell of mink, or ancient Celtic spirits, one pressing question remains.

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Why the hell do people keep walking their dogs up there?

Featured Image Credit: Allan Ogg (Creative Commons)

Topics: Paranormal, Weird, UK, Scotland, Ghosts

Tom Wood
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