In the past half-century, some 50 dogs have leapt to their deaths from the same historic bridge. During one six-month period last year, five dogs jumped to their deaths. All of the deaths have occurred at virtually the same spot, between the final two parapets on the right-hand side of the bridge, and almost all have been on clear, sunny days. Furthermore, the dogs which have perished have all-been long-nosed breeds: labradors, collies and retrievers.
Dorren Graham, of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals calls the phenomenon a 'heartbreaking mystery'. 'There are lots of owners whose dogs have died and who are trying to find out why they jumped.'
Could dogs be deliberately committing suicide?
Built in 1895 by Calvinist Lord Overtoun, the ornate Victorian structure arches 50ft over Overtoun Burn, the stream which runs below. Now, thanks to stories posted on the internet, doglovers from around the world are asking: could dogs be deliberately committing suicide on this particular bridge, and if so, why?
In an attempt to solve a problem which has left many local dog owners so concerned, they will no longer walk their pets on the doomed bridge, a host of specialists converged on the west Scotland town earlier this year to investigate - and finally solve the mystery.
Rumours have long circulated that the bridge and nearby Overtoun House are haunted. In 1994, local man Kevin Moy threw his baby son to his death from the bridge, claiming he thought the child was the anti-Christ. Shortly after he tried to end his own life with an unsuccessful suicide attempt from the same bridge.
Donna Cooper says: 'Rumour has it that he was on drugs, but he insisted the place was haunted and it does seem to have a strange effect on people and dogs.'
The Thin Place
In Celtic mythology, Overtoun is known as 'the thin place' - an area in which heaven and earth are reputed to be close. Certainly dogs have been shown in the past to be more sensitive than humans. Were they 'spooked' by some supernatural or external force emanating from the bridge, and deliberately leaping to their deaths?
Psychic Mary Armour took her own labrador for a walk along the bridge to test the theory. However, she reported no unusual sensations. 'Animals are hyper-sensitive to the spirit world, but I didn't feel any adverse energy.' In fact, Mary said she experienced a feeling of 'pure calmness and serenity' but admitted that her dog did pull her towards the right-hand side of the structure.
Suicidal or depressed feelings
If there is nothing supernatural propelling animals to their deaths, could they be picking up on suicidal or depressed feelings of their owners? Kendal Shepherd, a veterinarian behavioural specialist, believes dogs can indeed suffer from psychosis, and anyone who has ev
er owned a dog would agree they can pine, look listless and go off their food when they are depressed.
To learn more about this "scary place" watch this Youtube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ysvn2JDzVw8