The bridge where dogs die: Why do they end their lives?

Why do dogs leap to their death from Over­toun Bridge?

Chat It's Fate - - Contents - Paul Owens, 52, from Glas­gow

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.

The­o­ries

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.

Pushed

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

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