Is The Paranormal At Work In Mysterious Dog Deaths?

The dog suicide bridge makes headlines every few years when another dog jumps off this eerie bridge in Scotland’s countryside. Some locals believe the bridge is some kind of portal linking our world into the next. Some also believe that the dogs see spirits on that bridge and they somehow prompt the dogs to jump.

Yahoo News reports on March 1, that the bridge, which was built in 1895 by Lord Overtoun, has had more than 50 dogs jump to their death since the 1950s. This is not a busy bridge, it looks like the only traffic it sees is maybe a stray cow once in a while, so it’s not as if traffic scared the dogs.

The death of these dogs do have some factors in common, like almost every reported dog death happened on a sunny, clear day. The bridge averages one dog death a year, but several have died at that spot during a 6-month period of time, which is way above average.

Another pattern seen in the dog suicides besides the weather is the breed of dogs jumping. The most predominate victims are dogs with long-snouts like retrievers, collies and Labradors.

Historic Mysteries calls Overtoun Bridge a “romantic looking stone bridge,” but many canine tragedies have happened here. They describe the scene as, “Beneath the Overtoun Bridge, the burn is shallow and rocky. As such, it is a deadly jump for even agile dogs, though a few have survived.”

Another strange reported phenomenon, is that “some of them(dogs) even jump again after surviving, according to stories. So, we know why the dogs die when they make the jump, but the question really is why they make the jump in the first place.”

Kennethh Meikle’s dog Hendrix, a golden retriever, was one of the latest dogs to jump off the bridge. Meikle’s dog was lucky enough to land in a patch of moss below breaking its fall. The dog’s owner explains how one minute the family was taking a leisurely country walk and the next minute their beloved dog jumped over the side of the bridge plummeting 50-feet below.

While his daughter screamed because the dog went over the bridge, Meikle went around and down the embankment to find the dog. Hendrix was alive, but very shaken. He scooped up his best friend and brought him home, where Meikle describes his behavior as like being in “shock.” The dog started to lose clumps of hair. This shock-like state with the dog still shaking lasted through the night and then the next day Hendrix was fine.

According to Yahoo, some believe that the bridge has paranormal activity taking place on and around the bridge. Some believe the bridge “is actually haunted, describing the structure as a ‘thin place’ – somewhere where the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead are at their closest.”

One theory given for the strange suicide-like behavior of dogs on the bridge is that “the bridge “is crossover between Heaven and Earth. This “would mean dogs – who some believe are more sensitive to the world of the paranormal – could be seeing ghosts and spirits.”

Some of the facts noted about the events on the bridge are:

Long-nosed dogs commit most of the suicides at Overtoun Bridge

Long-nosed breeds are bred for tracking or retrieving prey

The weather is typically clear when a dog jumps

The bulk of the dogs jump from the same side of the bridge

The dogs have to climb the walls of the bridge to jump, which takes little, but at least some effort

If dogs had the tendency or the innate ability to commit suicide, this would be seen all over the world with dogs, but it is not. The dog deaths on the bridge are more like an accidental suicide, as something is drawing them to the bridge wall, where they jump to their deaths below.

A more reasonable explanation and an explanation based in science is offered by Historic Mysteries. They write:

“The answer to the Overtoun Bridge dog deaths may rest in their superior senses of smell. Dogs, particularly long-nosed breeds, are very attracted to the scent of prey and there is plenty of it below the bridge. Apparently, there are odoriferous minks living on the burn.”

The dogs cannot see over the bridge walls before they jump, so they have no idea what danger looms on the other side. So if they smell the minks they may head over the wall with minks and only minks on their minds. The minks are similar to skunks because they secrete a musk with a very heavy odor from their anal glands, so chances are if the minks are there, the dogs smell them.

The dogs may believe they are just jumping over a wall found on flat land, not realizing there is a 50-foot drop on the other side. Under this theory, the dogs, who look as if they suddenly decided to commit suicide with this jump, were actually doing nothing more than following their noses.

The Historic Mysteries said that this mink theory does have some holes in it as the dogs who came back to the bridge after surviving a fall had walked by minks and never made a move for them, yet when they got to the bridge, they jumped again.


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).