The Mystery of the Overtoun Bridge

By Brett Barnett · Last Updated 7 years ago
The infamous bridge where multiple dogs have leapt to their deaths.

In 1994, Kevin Moy believed that he had conceived a physical incarnation of the devil himself and, in an attempt to save the world from evil, he threw his two-week old son over the wall of Overtoun Bridge. He fell fifty feet to the rocks below.

Kevin then attempted to throw himself over the same wall, but he was pulled back by his wife and taken to Overtoun House, where he attempted to slit his wrists with a kitchen knife before being apprehended by police.

Witnesses to the incident rushed down to the rocks below the bridge, where Eoghan lay beside the river. He was rushed to hospital, where he died the following day.

What could drive a man to commit such a terrible murder? Well, to some, the incident suggested that the bridge was subject to some paranormal force—an explanation which may have also explained a number of unusual deaths at the bridge.

James White bought Overtoun Farm in 1859 with the intention of building a mansion as a country getaway. When he died in 1884, the estate passed to his son, John, who expanded the estate. The new land was separated from the old land, however, by a river and waterfall. To join the two sides, Overtoun Bridge was built.

In the past fifty years, the bridge has developed a reputation after a staggering number of dogs have been known to leap over the bridge to their deaths.

Donna Cooper has experienced first hand the disastrous mystery of the bridge. While walking her dog, Ben, with her husband and son, Donna was witness to the strange phenomenon when Ben suddenly leapt over the bridge. His injuries were so severe that the family were forced to put Ben to sleep.

"Nearly a year on, Callum still asks about Ben," Donna said, speaking of her two-year-old son. "He was very upset by Ben's death and wants to know if his leg has been fixed in heaven."

Ben's behaviour was identical to that of the previous canine victims of the Bridge's 'curse' - he leapt to his death between the final two parapets of the bridge. Every canine 'suicide' that has happened on the bridge has occurred between these two parapets.

Perhaps more oddly, all of the incidents have taken place on clear days and all the affected dogs so far have been long-nosed breeds.

Overtoun House, which overlooks the bridge (Dave Souza)

When canine psychologist David Sands was brought in to investigate, he attempted to cross the bridge with the only dog known to have jumped and survived. While the dog seemed happy to begin with, nineteen-year-old Hendrix soon tensed up when they reached the mysterious spot.

Dr Sands concluded that something was affecting the dogs' sense of smell, but wanted to find further evidence of this. He carried out an experiment, releasing ten dogs into a field containing a variety of scents belonging to animals known to live in and around the bridge, in order to establish which scent they were most attracted to. An overwhelming 70% of the test subjects were immediately drawn to the scent of mink.

The mystery of Overtoun Bridge is now widely accepted to have been solved by the experiments carried out by Dr Sands, and the canine suicides are generally put down to the overpowering scent of the mink living below the bridge, drawing unsuspecting canines over the edge.

As for the strange case of Kevin and Eoghan Moy, the explanation is much more likey to be psychological in nature. Kevin was tried in 1995 and found not guilty of Eoghan’s murder, with the court ruling that he was insane at the time; a sick man victim to his delusions.

References & Further Reading

Father who threw 'devil' baby from bridge sent to Carstairs, The Herald. February 1st, 1995.
Overtoun Bridge Mystery, Sands, David. The Animal Behavioural Clinic.
Why have so many dogs leapt to their deaths from Overtoun Bridge? The Daily Mail. October 17th, 2006.

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