The area is said to be haunted, with many tragic deaths taking place every year, though most of them are not human...
In the mid 1800's the land was owned by a farmer, and a quaint little farmhouse was located on the property. The farmhouse was demolished in 1859, at the beginning of the construction of the new mansion home of James White, a retired lawyer who had purchased the land.
The large granite Victorian mansion was an impressive sight, and the White family moved in before the house was completed. James White passed away in 1884 and was soon followed by his wife in 1891.
Their son, John White, moved in and extended the lands around the house, necessitating the building of the Overtoun Bridge to cross the Overtoun Burn, a stream and waterfall that bisected the property.
The house and land remained in the family until 1938 when Dr White, a great great nephew of the houses original owner, presented it to the people of Dunbarton. Since that time it has been used as a convalescent home, a maternity hospital and a youth mission.
An interesting history to be sure, but it is the Overtoun Bridge that is the focus of this tale.
The couple and their new child visited Overtoun Bridge. He dropped his newborn son off the side, causing him to be dashed on the wooded banks twelve meters below. Moy then attempted to jump off the side himself, but was prevented from doing so by his wife. Their child died from his injuries the following day.
The couple were taken to Overtoun House, where Moy grabbed a kitchen knife and slashed his wrists before being arrested. Moy survived the self inflicted wounds and was trialled and found not guilty on reasons of insanity, and was sent to be detained in a state hospital.
Moy claimed that he was the Antichrist, that his son was Satan and they would spread a disease around the world if they were not stopped. Most will agree that mental illness played a heavy part here, as Moy had been struggling with depression. Others though believed it was the bridge, haunted by evil spirits, and the land that made him do it.
A sad tale either way, but then a kind of phenomena started to take place at the bridge. Dogs began inexplicably jumping off the side to their deaths.
Dead Dog Bridge
The papers started to report on the matter of the jumping dogs, and soon it was discovered that this had been happening as early as the 50's and 60's.
It was reported that as many as one dog a month had been jumping off the bridge for the last 50 odd years. The dogs mainly jump from the same spot, on the right hand side of the bridge, between the final two parapets.
The jump/fall does not always prove fatal, and when the dogs are brought back up, they give it another shot, with second jump then killing them. This has happened often enough for the locals to refer to them as 'second timers'.
Why are these dogs jumping from the bridge taking their own lives?
One investigation found that the dogs may not be doing it on purpose, but are lured by the scent of mice and mink urine. The dogs, picking up the scent, charge off after it but can not see the lethal fall till it is too late. However, even the man responsible for this study says the reasons for the phenomena are still open.
Others believe it is because of the fact the world of the living and the dead exist very close to one another at this location, with the bridge being a symbol for crossing a divide, thereby possibly creating an overlap between the two realms. It has been often suggested that animals, especially dogs and cats, are more susceptible to seeing and hearing the spirits of the dead.
Could something not of our realm be compelling the dogs to jump?
Whatever the reason it is suggested that you do not walk your dogs over this bridge!