Friday, March 2, 2012

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: Why do dogs keep jumping to their deaths off the Overtoun Bridge?

(photo @

If you are in Scotland and a dog owner, there is one place that you should completely avoid if you and your four legged friend decide to go for a walk: The Overtoun Bridge.

Located on near the Overtoun House, a beautiful house and estate in West Darbuntonshire, the bridge runs approximately 50 feet (or 15 meters for you snooty folks) over the River Clyde.

The entire area is about as beautiful as anyone could imagine, wish lush, green hills and beautiful waterfalls.  It's exactly the type of place that a person who wanted to see Scotland would go to take a stroll...and a place that apparently inspires dogs to commit suicide.


Come for the scenery, stay for the trauma and death.

Since the 1950's, numerous reports have been made about dogs inexplicably jumping to their deaths on the rocks below the bridge.  The exact number is not known, but some place it as high as 600.  

In one particularly heartbreaking report by the Daily Mail, a woman named Donna Cooper watched in horror (along with her husband and 1 year old son) as their collie, Ben, suddenly bolted away from the family and leaped from the bridge.  His injuries from the fall were so severe that he had to be put down.

"Nearly a year on, Callum (her son) still asks about Ben," Donna lamented. "He was very upset by the dog's death and wants to know if his leg has been fixed in heaven."


...and if his goldfish, Nemo, is swimming in Heaven's plumbing system.

It gets weirder

Want this story to get even more creepy and depressing?  Well, in addition to the multiple reports of dogs committing suicide successfully on their first try, there are also reports of dogs that after safely landing (or landing with only minor injuries) decide to give it another go. "Second timers" will climb back up to the bridge and jump again.

So is there a rational explanation for this?  Maybe: A recent study by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCPA) determined that a particularly potent type of urine from male minks in the area may be attracting the canines (and inspiring dogs to launch themselves into the air with reckless abandon).


"Rodent urine?  ALRIGHT!!!!  No time to take the stairs for this!"

The strong smell, combined with a lack of visibility for a creature of a dog's size, may be overtaking their senses to the point that the dogs don't realize they are jumping off of a bridge...which completely doesn't explain the repeat jumpers or why the jumps all seems to be happening on one side of the bridge and in one small area.

Is there a paranormal/irrational explanation?

This is, so of course the answer to that question is an emphatic 'YES.'

In Celtic mythology, Overtoun is known as the "thin place," an area in which heaven and earth are supposedly very close.  While that by itself doesn't mean very much, it does when you consider this:

In 1994, Kevin Moy threw his two week old son over the Overtoun Bridge to his death.  He then attempted to jump over himself, but was pulled back by his screaming and hysterical wife.  He then attempted to kill himself once again with a kitchen knife.

Moy had suffered from depression for years before this incident, but had never shown any signs that he was delusional or that he would harm others.  

When Moy was taken into custody, he claimed that the murder of his son and his own attempted suicide was an attempt to save the world:  According to Moy, he was the anti-Christ and his son was actually Satan himself.

To be fair, anyone that has changed a dirty diaper has at least 
considered the possibility that their child harbors unspeakable evils.

Moy was deemed by a jury of his peers to be absolutely crazy, found not guilty, and sent to a maximum security psychiatric hospital.

Since this type of homicidal craziness can apparently be cured and/or forgiven, Kevin Moy was released in 1999.

While this terrible incident was most likely explained/caused by a mentally deranged man (who's full psychosis had yet to reveal itself), it is a bit interesting/unsettling that it happened over the same bridge as the mysterious dog suicides that continue to occur.

So while we can't offer you any definitive answers as to what is causing his morbid phenomenon, we can offer you a few pieces of advice/observations.

1. If you are in Scotland and you have your dog with you, do not go near the Overtoun Bridge.
2. If you ever meet a man named Kevin Moy from Scotland and you have children, do not let him hold them.
3. If there is a supernatural explanation for the dog suicides at Overtoun, than the evil force behind it is a total jerk; dogs are the best animals in the world.

The Devil:
Clearly a cat person