The bridge where dogs die: Why do they end their lives?
Why do dogs leap to their death from Overtoun Bridge?
Standing on Overtoun Bridge, I stared down into the churning grey water and treacherous rocks below and shuddered. This otherwise picturesque bridge, situated in front of 150-year old Overtoun House in Dumbarton, in the Scottish Lowlands, is known locally as ‘Dog Suicide Bridge.’
In the last 70 years, more than 600 dogs have leapt from the bridge, plunging 50 feet into the river below – often to their deaths. Witnesses say they’ve seen dogs that have survived one jump running back to the top of the bridge and jumping again. At least 100 canine lives have been claimed by this bridge.
I've known about it for decades. I used to visit the bridge as a five-year old with my parents. Now, as a paranormal investigator, I was on a quest to discover what's going on.
Many any experts from all over the world have put forward their own opinions about why the dogs are jumping. One theory is that the bridge is an optical illusion, which confuses dogs.
I’ve ’ve spoken to other scientists who believe that a wind tunnel effect is created underneath the bridge and the high-pitched noise is what attracts the dogs.
I once met up with Dr. David Sands, from the Animal Behavioural Clinic, in Chorley, Lancashire. He believes that wild minks live below the bridge and their notoriously strong scent is attracting the dogs and causing them to jump.
But ut I don’t believe any of these theories because the dogs jump mainly from the north-west west end. If a specific smell or noise was the cause, then dogs would leap from both sides.
Plus, the smell of mink doesn’t linger. And no minks have ever been seen in this part of the country - I’ve interviewed local hunters.
I believe there’s a paranormal explanation. As I stood on that bridge, leaning over the stone balustrade, I felt someone shove me from behind.
I teetered perilously, feeling myself falling forward, before I managed to regain my balance once more.
‘Get away from me,’ I gasped in horror, spinning round – but there was nobody there…
This confirmed what I already suspected. ghost of lady ov er toun is pushing the dogs off the bridge.
When Lady Overtoun’s husband Baron Overtoun, who built the bridge, died in 1908, she wandered the estate, grief stricken, for years. Now her ghost is said to haunt the house and the bridge.
Her white translucent figure has been spotted on numerous occasions, drifting about the grounds or peering from the castle windows. Someone has even taken a photo of her ghost! Once I’d recovered from my terrifying episode on the bridge, I went back, took my dowsing rods down under the bridge to test the energy. The rods went crazy, suggesting the presence of a spirit. There’s definitely something dark and sinister is going on. I think that the dogs are seeing the ghostly figure of Lady Overtoun - and that she, for reasons of her own, is the one enticing
The Baron of Rainbow Bridge: Overtoun’s Death Leaping Dog Mystery Solved by Paul Owens is out now (Scarlet Quill Publishing, £14.99). paulowens.org.
A woman's ghost haunts the grounds
them over the edge. She might not stop at dogs – so if you ever find yourself walking over that bridge, keep your wits about you and don’t go near the edge! Lady Overtoun? Ghostly woman:
Dowsing: Spirit under bridge