Over the past 60-plus years, somewhere between 300 and 600 dogs have allegedly thrown their furry, warm bodies off of Scotland’s Overtoun Bridge and into a 50-foot gorge — a sad but curious phenomenon that today became the subject of a New York Times investigation. Obviously, there’s only one convincing reason behind this lemming-like activity: a ghost.
While only 50 or so dogs of the hundreds that have jumped off the century-old bridge in Dumbarton are said to have died, the trend is obviously disturbing. Over the years, it has come to define the area, as the bridge been given what is perhaps the world’s most devastating nickname: the “Dog Suicide Bridge.” And, while some people attempt to place blame on worldly objects, like the enticing scent of minks deep in the gorge, most people in Dumbarton know what’s up. Locals are “very superstitious,” a man named Alastair Dutton told the outlet, “because [they’ve] all seen or felt spirits up here.”
One dog-owner, Lottie Mackinnon, recalled one terrifying day three years ago, when her “something overcame [her dog] Bonnie as soon as [they] approached the bridge.”
“At first she froze,” Mackinnon told the Times, “but then she became possessed by a strange energy and ran and jumped right off the parapet.” (Sure sounds like a ghost to me…)
To their credit, the Times doesn’t omit the possibility that a spirit could be behind the mass canine suicide. In fact, they spoke to a philosophy professor and local ghost expert, Paul Owens, who published a book about the phenomenon.
“After 11 years of research, I’m convinced it’s a ghost that is behind all of this,” he told the Times, reportedly while sitting outside a pub on a rainy day. (My kind of guy.)
Locals don’t just think the bridge-dweller is any old ghost: she is thought to be the grieving widow of First Baron Overtoun, and is better known as the “White Lady of Overtoun.” Local lore has it that after mourning her dead husband for 30 years, and then dying herself, the Lady has been hanging out among the living in Dumbarton, and has not gone one day unencumbered by grief.
“Her ghost has been lurking around here ever since,” Dumbarton local Marion Murray told the Times.” She’s been sighted in windows and walking around the grounds.”
Yep, all of this makes sense! My only unanswered question is: Why do people continue to walk their dogs here?