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Mystery surrounds 'dog suicide bridge'

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Channon
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« on: July 01, 2015, 12:21:28 am »

Mystery surrounds 'dog suicide bridge'
Posted on Friday, 26 June, 2015


What is causing so many dogs to jump off the bridge ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Allan Ogg
More than 600 dogs have inexplicably jumped off the 50ft Overtoun Bridge in a rural part of Scotland.
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Channon
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2015, 12:21:54 am »

In a small village in the Scottish Lowlands there exists a 19th century bridge with a strange presence that is believed to be responsible for sending hundreds of dogs leaping to their doom off its sides.

Over the past 60 years the crumbling stonework has seen more than 600 dogs taking the 50ft plunge with many of them meeting an untimely end at the bottom. Despite several investigations in to the phenomenon nobody has been able to determine exactly what is influencing the animals to jump.

The problem became so bad that signs were erected to recommend that dogs be kept on a lead.

Some believe that a spirit, possibly that of Lady Overtoun, haunts the area and that it is her presence that prompts the animals to jump over the side.

"When Baron Overtoun, who built the bridge, died in 1908 she was said to have wandered the bridge griefstricken for years," said teacher and author Paul Owens.

For some reason only long-nosed dog breeds, such as retrievers, seem to be affected and the incidents only appear to happen on clear days.

Animal behaviorist Dr David Sands believes that the dogs may be getting attracted to the smell of small rodents known to live at the base of the bridge, perhaps not realizing the distance of the drop.

"When you get down to a dog’s level the solid granite of the bridge’s 18in-thick walls obscures their vision and blocks out all sound," he said. "As a result the one sense not obscured - that of smell - goes into overdrive."

"I think it was highly likely here at Overtoun Bridge that it was curiosity that killed the dog."
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2015, 12:23:16 am »


What’s caused 600 dogs to hurl themselves off this bridge?
WALKERS heading from the village of Milton in the Scottish Lowlands to the 19th century manor Overtoun House on its outskirts are stopped in their tracks at the end of their route by a warning that reads: “Dangerous bridge – keep your dog on a lead.”
By Dominic Midgley



PUBLISHED: 08:02, Thu, Jun 25, 2015 | UPDATED: 08:24, Thu, Jun 25, 2015
      
   
      
   
      
   
      
   
      
   
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The bridge during the dayFIVE
The haunted bridge responsible so many deaths

The sign is there not because the neo-Gothic construction is in danger of crumbling into the waters of Overtoun Burn 50ft below but for another reason: in the past 60 years an estimated 600 dogs have jumped from the bridge, more than 50 of them to their deaths.

Dozens of experts from around the world have made the pilgrimage to this tiny community over the years in a bid to explain this extraordinary phenomenon.

But despite the issue being scrutinised by specialists including animal behaviourists, academics and psychics no one has been able to produce a theory that satisfies everyone.
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Channon
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2015, 12:23:35 am »

And this week we were treated to the most outlandish idea of them all: the bridge-jumping dogs are driven to it by the apparition of a lonely dowager.

This latest theory came about after a photograph emerged of a ghostly whitish figure looking out from an upstairs room of Overtoun House.

“When Baron Overtoun, who built the bridge, died in 1908 she [Lady Overtoun] was said to have wandered the bridge griefstricken for years,” says Glasgow teacher Paul Owens, who has written a book on the mystery.

    There is no way my dog did it on purpose, there is something going on here

    Alice Trevorrow

“It is thought by some to be her presence that lingers here.” Others invoke the horrific story of 32-year-old Kevin Moy.

In October 1994, believing himself to be the anti-Christ and his two-week-old son to be the Devil incarnate, Moy threw his baby from the bridge to his death.

Alice Trevorrow, a nurse from Dumbarton whose springer spaniel Cassie jumped off the bridge a year ago but survived, is certainly convinced all is not as it should be.

“There is no way my dog did it on purpose,” she said this week.

“There is something going on here. It was so out of character for her.”

Those who do not believe the supernatural is at work have cited depressed owners passing on their suicidal urges, pylons sending dogs haywire and even noises audible only to dogs emanating from the nearby nuclear base at Faslane.

So what is known for sure about the number of incidents on the bridge involving dogs? First reports date back to the 1950s.

All the dogs involved are of long nosed breeds, such as retrievers, which have a strong sense of smell.

The “suicides” typically happen on a clear day.

These factors support a theory put forward by an animal behaviourist called Dr David Sands in 2006.

He noted that the 1950s was the period when minks – introduced into Scotland 30 years earlier – started breeding in large numbers.

Research conducted around the base of the bridge established that mink and mice were both present in the undergrowth and squirrel nests were found in the barrels of cannons embedded in the bridge.

The next step was to find out which of these animals was the most likely to attract dogs.
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Channon
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2015, 12:23:51 am »

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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2015, 12:24:06 am »

Widow Lady Overtoun’s ghost is in the window next to Alice and her dog

In order to establish this Dr Sands took 10 examples of the breeds that have composed all the victims to a field in which he had set up three plastic containers, each one containing the scent of a different animal.

The results were remarkable. Seven of the dogs headed straight for the mink container.

This was not altogether surprising as – like skunks – minks emit strong-smelling secretions.

The idea that the “suicidal” dogs are attracted by a smell on the other side of the bridge’s parapet is also supported by the fact that all the incidents occurred on dry sunny days.

As anyone who has spent time on the west coast of Scotland knows, these days are a rare thing in an area accustomed to long periods of rainfall and are the times when the scent of mink is not muffled by damp.

Which leaves us with the question of why a dog attracted by the scent of mink would launch itself over a 50ft drop?

“When you get down to a dog’s level the solid granite of the bridge’s 18in-thick walls obscures their vision and blocks out all sound,” said Dr Sands.

“As a result the one sense not obscured – that of smell – goes into overdrive.”

Hunting dogs, driven by instincts that compel them to respond swiftly to the scent of prey and unaware of the potentially fatal plunge that awaits them once they top the parapet, then take a leap into the unknown.

As Dr Sands then concluded: “I think it was highly likely here at Overtoun Bridge that it was curiosity that killed the dog.”

Or as Sherlock Holmes once said: “When you have eliminated all which is impossible then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
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Channon
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2015, 12:24:15 am »

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/586793/600-dogs-hurl-themselves-off-bridge
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