Clarissa Johal: Thoughtful Thursday - The Overtoun Bridge Mystery

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday - The Overtoun Bridge Mystery

Photo courtesy of Allan Ogg Creative Commons License 
Overtoun Bridge, an arched bridge near the village of Dumbarton in the Scottish Lowlands, has gained quite a bit of media attention. Over the past 60 years, the crumbling stonework has seen more than 600 dogs taking a 50 foot plunge, with many of them meeting an untimely end at the bottom. All of the deaths have occurred at virtually the same spot, between the final two parapets on the right-hand side.

Rumors have long circulated that the bridge and the nearby Overtoun House are haunted, with the spectres said to be responsible for influencing the living. In 1994, a local man threw his baby son off the bridge, claiming the child was the anti-Christ. Shortly after, he tried to end his own life with an unsuccessful suicide attempt from the same bridge. In Celtic mythology, Overtoun was known as 'the thin place' - an area in which the veil between heaven and earth could easily be passed.

Animal experts have conducted experiments as to why dogs would be jumping to their deaths. Their conclusion? The musky smell from mink living under the bridge was the culprit. For those who are not satisfied with that explanation, you are not alone. Dogs who survived the jump didn't run off to catch those minks--they ran back to jump off the bridge again. 

The bridge now has a warning: "Pet owners should only walk their pets at Overtoun with extreme caution. Dogs should be leashed, leash-trained and under the control of an adult."

The mystery continues.


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