When I was first told about the Overtoun Bridge being the “dog suicide bridge” I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. I thought that it sounded completely silly, and not paranormal enough for an article but once I dug a little deeper I was in for quite a surprise! Turns out dogs aren’t the only ones who mysteriously die here, but also people too.
Overtoun Bridge itself is constructed as a gothic style stone structure. Located near Dumbarton in Scotland. The bridge spans a narrow gorge which lays on the grounds of a 19th century manor called the Overtoun House, and since the 1960s approximately 50 or so dogs have leapt to their deaths from the side of the bridge. In the same exact spot no less! Many more have jumped and have survived since then luckily, but some even returned for a second leap onto the sharp and jagged rocks some 50 ft. below. Currently, there are signs posted advising any dog owners to make sure their pets are secured to a leash if they are going to cross the bridge because it is so well known in the area. These odd canine suicides have completely baffled their poor owners that were unlucky enough to witness their dog jumping off the “suicide bridge” which is when suspicions arose of supernatural forces or wether the bridge may be haunted or cursed.
A terrible tragedy in October of 1994 fueled these rumors further when a man by the name of Kevin Moy threw his 2 week old son from the exact same bridge because he believed he had been possessed by the devil. He then attempted to jump over the bridge himself, but his horrified wife was able to pull him back. He was finally subdued and taken to the Overtoun House when he grabbed a kitchen knife and started slashing at his own wrists before authorities arrived. A jury later found him not guilty due to insanity since the man said he himself was the anti-christ and that his son was Satan. Moy also stated the child had a birthmark on his head and that he and his infant son were to blame for the Gulf War. Then he continued by saying he feared that he and his son would spread a virus that would infect the entire worlds population, so he committed the act to save humanity from damnation. It was later revealed that Moy had been diagnosed earlier with a disease called ME or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis which presents with symptoms of marked fatigue and weakness, general sickness, and cognitive dysfunction. But he apparently showed no signs of this when the child was born even though he had continued living with his parents afterwards due to his severe depression.
Since this occurrence people have feared the bridge and some research groups in 2005 contacted the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They enlisted the help of a canine psychologist (I’m a veterinary technician myself and have never met one so I must admit this seemed a bit odd to me) and an animal habitat expert. The two men investigated the bridge from a dog’s point of view and after taking in the sights, smells, and also sounds into account, all with canines securely in tow, they came to the conclusion that the cause of the dog suicides was most likely a result of a strong scent of mink coming from underneath the bridge which was luring the dogs over the edge. Since the scent was so strong they think it dulled their other senses and prevented the dogs from realizing how close they were to the edge until it was too late. It’s obviously not a definitive answer, although it is a bit more comforting to think of it this way instead of the bridge being haunted or cursed to the point that it makes Lassie want to take a leap over the edge to her doom.