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Why Are Dogs Hurling Themselves Off The Mysterious Overtoun Bridge?

Updated September 23, 2021 10.8k views10 items

There are plenty of mysterious places and unexplained phenomena in the world. There's the Bermuda Triangle, the Bridgewater Triangle, the Vile Vortices - and, of course, the Overtoun Bridge. The mystery of the Overtoun Bridge, which lures dogs to their deaths, has not yet been solved. There are many theories, including unusual scent patterns, sound frequencies, and even interference by the spirit world, but none truly explain why there are so many dogs jumping off the Overtoun Bridge each year.  

The Overtoun Bridge is a stone bridge, constructed in 1895 near Dumbarton, Scotland. The bridge covers a small river, called the Overtoun Burn, as well as a valley. It's on the former Overtoun Estate, and is now open to the public. Of course, these facts do nothing to explain why there are dogs hurling themselves off the Overtoun Bridge on a continual basis. Read on to investigate this strange and tragic mystery.

  • Dogs Just Jump Over For Seemingly No Reason At All

    Back in 2005, members of the Cooper family were walking their dog, a collie named Ben, over the Overtoun Bridge. Without any warning, Ben wandered ahead of them, jumped over a railing, and tumbled over the side of the bridge. He fell 50 feet to the bottom, and injured himself so badly (he broke a paw, his jaw, and his back) that he had to be put to sleep. The family claimed that Ben did not exhibit any odd behavior prior to his leap from the bridge. It just happened.

  • The Smell Of Mink Lures Dogs In And Drives Them Crazy

    Photo: Lairich Rig / via Wikimedia Commons

    The mink is a small mammal that is related to otters and weasels. Like otters, mink are partially aquatic (meaning that they live both on land and in the water), so it's entirely possible that they live in and around the Overtoun Bridge. Dr. David Sands, a canine psychologist, investigated the bridge on the behalf of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He and another expert, David Sexton, came to the conclusion that mink in the area produce an overpowering scent that lures in dogs and messes with their senses. The dogs are left so overwhelmed, that before they know it, they are at the edge of the bridge and can't stop themselves from going over the side. 

  • A Sound Only Dogs Can Hear Beckons Them To Their Doom

    One story of a dog that jumped over the side of the Overtoun Bridge and survived comes from the Meikle family. They were walking their Golden Retriever, Hendrix, in the area, when he decided to break away from the group and went off the bridge. Hendrix wound up landing on a patch of mossy ground that broke his fall. Thankfully, the dog lived, although he went into shock and lost some fur.

    One theory is that something in the area makes a sound that only dogs can hear, and the pooches in the area try to find out its source. There are telephone pylons nearby that may create unusual sounds, as well as the possibility that the bridge itself may have odd acoustics. Although experts spent some time with acoustical equipment on the bridge and failed to record anything unusual, this doesn't necessarily mean that odd sounds don't exist in the area. 

  • A Certain Spot On The Bridge Is A Gateway

    Whatever is under the bridge, it is certainly appealing to the dogs that jump over the side and risk their lives to get to it. So appealing that some dogs do this more than once. Witnesses have seen dogs leap over the bridge's parapets, survive the fall, climb back up, and then do it again. The dogs also leap from one single spot on the right side of the bridge at the very end, between two parapets. It's possible that this point is the gateway to some other dimension, one that greatly appeals to dogs.