Overtoun suicide bridge for dogs: riddle for Scots

Overtoun, a bridge in the Scottish Dumbarton, is one where you better keep your four-legged friend on the line. The 19th-century bridge is known worldwide as the ‘suicide bridge’ after 300 to 600 dogs suddenly jumped down, fifty did not survive.

The Scottish Overtoun Bridge was built in the mid-nineteenth century and is connected to the Overtoun House mansion of the same name. Not so much the castle, but the bridge enjoys international fame.

According to local residents, about 300 dogs were jumping down, the local media doubled that number. Either way, around 50 dogs died. And one breaks the head over the cause. Why do dogs all jump from that ‘suicide bridge’?

Overtoun suicide bridge for dogs: riddle for Scots


Elves, monsters, and trolls: you can’t think of it that way or it is told in Scottish myths. And those myths are believed. At Overtoun House – naturally – such a ghost story also belongs.

The “White Lady” of Overtoun is the widow of John White, baron and former owner of the castle Overtoun House. The man died at the age of 65 – not that early for that time – but his wife was a lot younger and lived for another thirty years, all alone with her grief. “Since then she has stayed here,” said Paul Owens, a Scottish religious teacher. And apparently the “White Lady” takes pleasure in dogs jumping off the bridge.

Wild animals

A second theory has a little less to do with myths and religion. A river flows under the Overtoun Bridge, around which there is a forest. In other words, the environment is particularly popular with wild animals such as mice and mink.

Once the smell of the wild animals is picked up by the dogs, that could lead to a jump. There are walls on the edge of the bridge. And because the dogs often do not see in time what is behind that wall, they may be surprised by the deep gap after their jump.

Heaven and earth

The location of the bridge would also be special. After all, the Celts believed that it is in a place where heaven and earth overlap. A book was even written about it and the American series ‘The Unexplained Files’ also devotes one complete episode to the mystery of Dumbarton. But despite the media attention, the mystery remains unsolved.

Most dog owners walk with a large bend around the bridge of Overtoun. Many find it “a shame” that people still visit the place. “Stay away from it,” others write on Twitter.

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