If there's one horror story that's bound to send a chill down your spine, it's the story of Overtoun Bridge. Only, it's not fiction, it's absolutely true and just as creepy as anything Edgar Allan Poe or H.P Lovecraft could have written.
Built by Calvinist and Liberal Party politician John Cambell White, 1st Baron Overtoun in 1895, it's a marvel of Victorian engineering. It stands 50ft tall over a valley near to the magnificent Overtoun Hall, a large country house in the south-west of Scotland near to Dumbarton.
Directly below the bridge is the rocky bed of the Overtoun Burn, a tiny stream of water no more than a few feet across and less than a foot deep.
If you were to look at the two structures and imagine which one may have experienced suspected paranormal activity, you would probably guess the house. It's definitely the type of stately home you would expect to see in a movie about a haunting.
In fact some people claim that Overtoun Hall is haunted, but it's the bridge that has had the lion's share of disturbing incidents.
The bridge, by comparison - though just as beautiful as the house - seems rather tame. But it's not what's seen that may scare you, it's the unseen.
Though the Scottish mist may often rise to meet the structure, though you may hear a crow squawking late in the evening, it's not the audio-visual experience that you should fear.
It's the unknowable, imperceptible and untouchable mystery of what's been happening to the animals in the area.
You see, Overtoun Bridge is no ordinary bridge, it's become known among the locals as The Dog Suicide Bridge. This isn't some cruel money-spinning prank designed to attract gullible tourists, it's arrived at this unfortunate title for a very real reason.
Over 50 dogs have took their own lives by leaping from the parapet wall that stretches the length of the bridge, onto the hard rocks in the burn below.
Kenneth Meikle was one of the lucky ones, his dog - a beautiful Golden Retriever named Hendrix - survived.
Hendrix leapt from the parapet but managed to avoid the rocks, landing in a patch of thick moss below which broke the dog's fall. But Hendrix wasn't totally unscathed. As Kenneth picked her up, she was shaking violently, and her hair started to fall out rapidly.
“It must have been shock because when we got her home, she shook all night.”
Said Kenneth when interviewed by reporters. But shock from what? Can the shock of a 50ft fall cause a dog to spontaneously lose its hair? Or is there something darker, something supernatural at large?
We cannot ask Hendrix what she saw that almost frightened her to death, let alone what made her leap to almost certain death below, but something did. Animal behavioural experts have been studying the Overtoun Bridge for a while now, and they are no closer to solving the mystery than when they started.
Could it be something the dogs can see? The running water perhaps? Well, no. We know this because the wall of the bridge is several feet high. From a dog's eye view, you can only make out the sky and maybe a few tree tops.
There have been over 50 recorded dog suicides on the bridge in 50 years. At one point during a six-month period in 2005, five dogs took their own lives. This may suggest that whatever is happening at Overtoun Bridge is becoming more pronounced in the 21st century.
What's more, all of the deaths have been recorded from the same final two parapets on the right side of the bridge. Why the same spot?
Even worse, it's not just animals that have met an unfortunate end on the rocks of Overtoun Burn, but humans as well. It's a very sad tale, but in 1994, a local man named Kenneth Moy, threw his baby son over the wall onto the rocks.
He claimed to police that he did it because his child was the Antichrist.
Kenneth Moy may well have been completely insane. It would be fair to say he almost certainly was, but what made him that way? Was it an imbalance in his brain chemistry, drug use or past trauma?
Or could it have been the same entity that made 50 dogs jump to their deaths for no apparent reason, baffling scientists and locals alike?
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