Wednesday Weirdness: The Dog Suicide Bridge

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageWelcome to another Wednesday Weirdness. Today, I have a strange tale that will certainly strike at the heart of any pet lover.

Many people love to take their dogs for a walk. Whether it’s a turn around the neighborhood, a stroll down a country lane or a jaunt through the park, it’s a relaxing experience for owner and companion. If you have a dog, you may have even meandered across a bridge or two, your best friend trotting happily at your side. The image certainly conjures a quaint picture.

Unless you happen to be walking your pet on the Overtoun Bridge in Scotland. 

Looking across Overtoun Bridge. Stone bridge with greenery on either side, rain puddles in pathway

Looking across Overtoun Bridge. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia. Lairich Rig [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Tucked into the countryside, near the town of Dumbarton, the Overtoun Bridge is a gothic looking structure that carries a much darker name—the Dog Suicide Bridge. Built in 1895, it soars fifty feet over a placid stream below.

Since the 1960s more than fifty dogs have leapt to their death from the bridge. Making that anomaly even stranger is the fact all of the dogs have jumped from the exact same spot, and each apparent “suicide” has occurred on pleasant, sunny days. All of the dogs involved have been “long-nosed” breeds—collies, labradors and retrievers.  A few, fortunate enough to survive the fall, returned to the top of the bridge and leapt from the same spot again, as if compelled by a supernatural force.

Why this horrifically odd behavior from man’s best friend? Is it possible a dog can suffer depression and commit suicide? Or is the bridge cursed, as some speculate?

Overtoun House, forbidding Gothic looking abode at end of long drive

Overtoun House, Photo courtesy of Wikimedia. By dave souza (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s long been believed animals have a keener sense of the spirit world than humans. Perhaps the dogs in question sensed a malevolent presence in Overtoun House, a nearby residence rumored to be haunted. Or perhaps they detected something extraordinary in an area considered a “thin place.” According to legend, Overtoun exists in a region where Heaven and earth are nearly joined.

The most practical explanation to date involves the presence of mink below the bridge. In marking their territory, it’s believed the mink emit a scent powerful enough to lure the dogs to their death. Overcome by the odor, the dogs react instinctively. Blinded by the wall rising beside them, they fail to realize the height from which they plummet.

Why, however, would any animal that survived such a fall, willingly return to the bridge and jump again?

Perhaps the answer will never be known. Thus any dog-owner should be wary when taking their pet for a stroll across Scotland’s Overtoun Bridge. I certainly would!

73 thoughts on “Wednesday Weirdness: The Dog Suicide Bridge

    • A good question, Noelle. I didn’t delve into the history of Overtoun House, but it would be interesting to know what tragedies took place there. I got the impression there is a negative energy associated with the house from hauntings that could be influencing dogs on the bridge,

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    • Wow! A co-worker once told me her German Shepherd used to do the same thing when it sensed her late husband in the room. I do believe animals are sensitive things we aren’t. Thanks for sharing, Mary Lou!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Such a strange thing to keep happening and rehappening. I couldn’t imagine taking a dog there that wasn’t firmly on a leash. Makes you wonder what they are seeing that humans aren’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a sad and fascinating tale. My dog just nearly strangled himself falling over a railing when I was trying to drag him away from it. The leash got stuck on the crossbar and I had to untangle him. He went right back to the same spot to investigate whatever caught his attention in the first place. And he’s a Lab. I’d like to think it’s the breed’s innate sense of smell combined with curiosity, but if I’m being honest, this dog is just spoiled, strong, and not the brightest bulb in the box. Thank God we don’t live by that bridge!

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    • I’m the same way, Soooz. Things like this always get me thinking. I find them fascinating and love speculating about all the “why” possibilities. I feel so bad for the poor dogs, but it is interesting examining what could cause success a thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is totally bizarre, Mae! There is no logical explanation. It has to be something that the human eye can’t see or sense. It certainly leaves a lot to speculation. Thanks for sharing such a weird phenomenon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Seven Links 10/19/19 Traci Kenworth – Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger

  5. Very creepy and tragic, Mae. I have no idea why dogs would do such a thing. So sad. 😦
    And I was watching a tv show about monsters and had no idea that the mothman of Point Pleasant is a real thing. I was jumping up and down, pointing at the tv, and yelling at my husband,”I read that book!” Just had to add that. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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