600 Dogs, a “Suicide” Bridge, and Black Shucks

Note: When articles cross two or more topics I routinely research, I’m planning to post those articles here. It’s simpler than trying to choose one of my other websites… and risk selecting one that isn’t the best match.

Black shucks – made famous in Conan Doyle’s story, The Hound of the Baskervilles – have always fascinated me. As a child, I was terrified of large dogs, and that may have contributed to my interest in them.  (Eventually, I outgrew my fear of large dogs… but I’d still prefer to avoid black shucks.)

Dangerous bridge and black shucks - a connection?In 2008, when Armchair Reader: Weird, Scary & Unusual asked me to write a chapter about black shucks, I was delighted to share what I’d learned about those mysterious creatures.

So, what are black shucks?

In 1901, author William Dutt described the black shuck. “He takes the form of a huge black dog, and prowls along dark lanes and lonesome field footpaths, where, although his howling makes the hearer’s blood run cold, his footfalls make no sounds.”

  • Shucks have been reported for centuries. They’re not just legends. As recently as the late 20th century, police officers have encountered them.
  • Most shucks are reported along England’s east coast, including the town of Cromer.
  • The Cabell family (the basis of the Baskervilles, in the Sherlock Holmes story) has other ghost stories, but the black shuck may be the most famous.
  • In Norfolk’s town of Overstrand, there is even a Shuck Lane where shucks have been seen.
  • Shucks and eerie black dogs have been reported in Wales and Scotland, too.

Some of the most reliable recent stories place black shucks at or near bridges. (Coltishall Bridge, just north of Norfolk, is one of them.)

Often, those bridges have suicide stories, as well. So, though I’m sad (beyond words) to read the following news story, it may be important for paranormal researchers. Will black shucks appear there in the future? I’m not sure if I’d want to see – or even hear – one.

Of course, I’m not sure a black shuck is a “ghost.” It may be something people categorize in the fae realm, perhaps the Unseelie Court. Or perhaps it’s best categorized in cryptozoology.

Also – as you’ll read in the following article – there are the other, actual ghost stories at this active location.

Be forewarned: this story is horrifying. I don’t want to sound callous, or as if I’m trivializing how awful this is. As an animal lover, I hope they find an answer to this terrible situation, soon, if they haven’t already resolved it.

But, as a paranormal researcher, it was also of note for future investigations. Maybe nothing weird is going on. Maybe it can be explained by minks in the area, or something else.

If you’re investigating around Overtoun, keep this in mind.

Here’s part of the article, “600 dogs have attempted suicide from the mysterious ‘haunted suicide bridge’ in Scotland.” (The full article is linked at the foot of this page.)

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Around 600 hundred dogs have attempted suicide from the Overtoun bridge in Scotland. And all the dogs jumped from the exact same point!

Experts are baffled and are unable to explain the mystery.

600 dogs have leaped from the bridge (Image source: Twitter/)

The bridge has a history of 160 years and has been responsible for the deaths of a specific kind of dogs: those with long snouts, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Scottish Terriers.

A number of locals believe that the bridge as well as the Overtoun house is haunted by the spirit of ‘The White Lady of Overtoun’.

The bridge is nicknamed as ‘Dog suicide bridge’. 

…  The bridge even carries a signpost warning people to keep their dogs on a lead.

Overtoun Bridge
The signpost warning against dog suicides at Overtoun Bridge. (Image source: Twitter/Ruben)

Dogs have continued to leap from the bridge, and this strange phenomenon has gone unexplained since as early as the 1950s. Experts believe that dogs might be attracted by the animals hiding under the bridge, causing them to leap.

Dr. David Sand of Animal Behavioral Clinic explains that it is impossible for dogs to attempt suicide… He elaborates that there could be other factors motivating dogs to carry out such a misadventure, one being mink urine.

Overtoun Bridge
Locals believe that the bridge is haunted. (Image source: Facebook)

Paul Owens, the author of ‘Baron of the Rainbow Bridge: Overtoun’s death leaping dog mystery’, argues that there is a supernatural presence on the bridge, forcing the dogs to leap.

The mystery behind the bridge has attracted worldwide attention and supernatural theories have been proposed so far, some even calling it the ‘Thin Place’ where afterlife and physical world meet.

Different theories have been put forward to explain the dogs’ bizarre behavior. However, there have been no solutions; the mystery bridge continues to claim lives of the dogs.

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