Located near the village of Milton in the burgh of Dumbarton, Scotland, there exists a bridge that for some reason or another has been attracting the dogs for suicide attempts since the early 1950s. Why have as many as 600 dogs committed suicide by jumping off from this haunted Overtoun Bridge?
A century-old haunted bridge, Overtoun seems to have a strange effect on dogs that fills them with an urge to leap over the edge. Studies have shown that since the 1950s or 1960s numerous dogs have leaped from the bridge at the rate of about one per year. The bridge has claimed the death of nearly 50 dogs with some 600 dogs in total have reportedly mysteriously jumped off the bridge.
There have been numerous theories surrounding this phenomenon. Explanations range from the curious canines being over-excited, to ghosts haunting the century-old bridge next to Gothic castle Overtoun House. Locals in West Dunbartonshire, where the bridge is located, believe the spirit of the ‘White lady of Overtoun’ is behind the mysterious phenomena.
Others meanwhile speculate that the bridge is in fact haunted by a man named Kevin Moy who threw his two-week-old son from the bridge resulting in the child’s death in 1994 and now he roams the bridge, somehow persuading dogs to jump to their ultimate fate. It was said that Moy believed he was the Antichrist and his son was a reincarnation of Satan.
More scientific explanations exist as well. Some of them believe that the sound of the water below mesmerizes the dogs to luring them to it. Dogs that leap over the bridge parapet fall 50 feet (15 m) onto the waterfalls below. The only linking factors for this unexplained event are that dogs mostly jump from the same side of the bridge, in clear weather, and they are the breeds with long snouts.
As the unexplained phenomenon received international media attention, the RSPB sent an animal habitat expert, David Sexton, to investigate the causes as to why dogs kill themselves at Overtoun Bridge. His study suggests that Minks below the bridge are responsible for attracting dogs with their powerful musk scent. He said that the potent odour from male mink urine was possibly luring keen-nosed dogs to their deaths. However, local hunter, John Joyce, 50 years resident of the area says that “there is no Mink around here. I can tell you that with absolute certainty.”
According to dog behaviour consultants, the canines can’t have suicidal thoughts hence there must be something below the bridge, a sensory stimulation of some sort that compels them to take the leap. A sign now warns dog owners of the “dangerous bridge” reading: “Please keep your dogs on a lead.”