Overtoun Bridge's Dog Suicide Mystery

The Overtoun Bridge, Scotland, has become infamous in recent years due to around 60 dogs leaping 50 ft to their death, onto the waterfalls, and rocks below, since the 1950s. Seemingly for no apparent reason. 

Now there have been some commonalities between each incidence: The dogs mostly jump on the right hand side between the final two parapets, it is always a clear day, and they are breeds with long snouts.

Alice Trevorrow a nurse, whose springer spaniel jumped and survived, said, “There is no way my dog did it on purpose. There is something going on here. It was so out of character for her.”

Some locals have long believed the bridge to be haunted, and that is at least part of the explanation. Overtoun means ‘the thin place’ in Celtic mythology, an area where heaven and earth are understood to be close. Some people believe that dogs are sensitive to perception beyond human capabilities. Possibly the dogs were sensing something? But it still doesn’t offer a conclusive solution. In 1994 Kevin Moy threw his baby off the bridge, believing him to be the antichrist. Moy is believed to have been on drugs at the time, and it may not be related, but he was a believer of the bridge being haunted.

In search of a more practical answer, the RSPB sent David Sexton, an animal habitat expert to investigate the bridge. Initially canine psychologist Dr. David Sands had inspected the area, but his results were inclusive. After eliminating sight and sound, Sexton believed the cause to be rooted in smell. He eventually concluded that the dogs might be smelling mink, and that was what led them off the bridge. John Joyce, a local hunter of 50 years, disagrees, "There is no mink around here. I can tell you that with absolute certainty."

Now many locals refuse to walk their dogs along Overtoun, and there is a sign at the entrance reading, “Dangerous bridge - keep your dog on a lead.”