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Weird “Dog Suicide Bridge” In Scotland

By James Donahue

A strange phenomenon of dogs jumping to their deaths from a gothic stone bridge near Dumbarton, Scotland, has kept occultists and researchers scratching their heads for years. It is said that over the past 50 years, more than 50 dogs have apparently committed suicide by jumping over the side of Overtoun Bridge to the rocks some fifty feet below.

Because of the strangeness of the number of dogs, and the way in which they have all jumped from the same place and on the same side of the bridge, natives have dubbed it the “Dog Suicide Bridge.” During one six-month period in 2005, five dogs leaped off the bridge to their deaths. Sometimes the dogs are accompanied by their owners when they jump unexpectedly.

The ornate 110-year-old Victorian granite structure arches 50 feet over Overtoun Burn.

Because of its reputation as a death trap for dogs, local dog owners no longer walk their animals on the bridge. But the bridge is attracting a number of researchers from all over the world who are trying to find out why the bridge lures so many dogs to their deaths.

Some people in the area say the bridge is haunted. There is a story that a local man, Kevin Moy, tossed his baby off the bridge in 1994. He claimed that he was the Antichrist and that the baby was Satan. Moy then jumped off the same bridge but survived the fall. He remains today a patient in the maximum-security psychiatric ward of Carstairs State Hospital.

There is another old Scottish myth that the bridge is located in what the Celts called a “thin place,” or a place where two worlds, that of the present and the world of the spirits, meet. Many of the old Scots, still linked to Celtic mythology, believe there are various places in the world where the veil between this world and the “other world” is so thin that it is possible for men and spirits to pass from one to the other. They say that when the two worlds meet, time stands still.

The theory is that dogs are more sensitive to the spiritual aspects of being near a “thin place” and are spooked by some supernatural or external force. This causes them to jump over the side of the bridge and fall to their deaths.

Other researchers refuse to believe in Celtic mythology and other spiritual hocus-pocus, and look instead for a more logical solution to this mystery.

One such theory is that the dogs are committing suicide because they are picking up on the depressed mental state of their owners. Dumbarton, the community near where the bridge is located, is experiencing a severe economic decline. Some say it is among the most depressing places in the UK to live. Suicide among adults has risen 200 percent in recent years and is now the leading cause of death among young men in the area.

Researchers that have tested the suicide theory have found, however, that the owners of dogs that jumped from the bridge were not having suicidal thoughts prior to the event. So are the dogs picking up signals from other people in the area?

Dr. David Sands, a contemporary “dog whisperer” professionally known as a canine psychologist, tested the bridge by walking the only dog known to have survived the fall back over the bridge, and “tuning in” on the thoughts and behavior of the animal.

Sands reported that the dog first walked happily across the   first part of the bridge until it reached the place where all of the animals make their death leap. At that point, Sands said   this dog grew tense and it was obvious that something had captured its attention. But what was it?

David Sexton, billed as an animal habitat expert, next visited that spot on the bridge. Special equipment was used to test the possibility that ultra low or high sounds audible only to dogs. But acoustic experts found nothing that might explain what was causing the dogs to jump off the bridge.

Sexton laid bait in the undergrowth below the bridge and found that mice, squirrels and mink were living there. Next he put odor from all three species in a field and unleashed ten dogs. All but two of the dogs went straight for the mink.

Because of that test, a new theory has emerged. Researchers think it is possible that the dogs are attracted to the smell of the mink and that this is the catalyst that is causing the dogs to behave so strangely while crossing that bridge.

It it possible that the smell of mink is luring dogs to jump to their deaths on the bridge? If so, why is it that all of the dogs have jumped at the same place and on the same side of the bridge. The mink are found throughout the area.