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[00:00:04]

Hey, and welcome to the short stuff, I'm Josh Clark and there's Charles Ruff Bryant and Jerry.

[00:00:10]

Oh, no, Roland is out there somewhere to put us all together, have a really weird Scottish type mystery for this short stuff.

[00:00:22]

That's right.

[00:00:23]

The mystery of the Overton Bridge.

[00:00:28]

That was great. You suddenly turned into like a character the Scooby Doo gang would meet toward the beginning of the episode. Who'd set everything up for them?

[00:00:36]

You know, when we did our tour of Edinborough, Ambre, I met a met a dog there. I met a very kind lady on a walk through town and she was walking her dog that looked sort of pit bull ish. And she was just so friendly. And I love that accent. So I'll do anything to get them to talk to me. And so I engaged her and her dog and I went, oh, what's the breed?

[00:01:00]

And she said, Oh, just a wee Staffy Staffordshire. Jerry is great.

[00:01:05]

I remember you telling that story because you were saying that you were missing your dogs because that was toward the end of that, too.

[00:01:12]

Yeah, I remember hearing about that dog, but this dog did not leap to its death.

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No. Which think good. Probably because it was nowhere near Dumbarton, Scotland, or maybe Dunbarton. Let's go with probably Temperton, not Dumbarton dumb.

[00:01:30]

An American is more like it. Exactly. Dumdum Burton Scotland. You know, it's way better. There is a bridge there, the Overton Bridge, like you were saying, and it's really beautiful. It's made of stone. It's nice, very ornate. It's not the longest bridge you'll ever see. It's pretty short actually, and it's fairly low.

[00:01:50]

But it does cross a substantial gap. Something like 12 metres are about 50 feet drop into a ravine, a little stream with rocks and all sorts of stuff below it. So there's a good reason for that bridge. And it's also not the oldest bridge in the world. I think in the mid 19th century, it was built to connect this estate that had just been built there, Overton House, to the rest of the town. So it was a pretty useful bridge, too, but it is now considered widely considered a haunted supernatural death bridge by the locals in Dumbarton.

[00:02:28]

Yeah, and namely because of the weird thing that has happened dating back to the 1950s, at least as far as we know, there have been many cases and we don't know how many I've seen. There was a terrible website that said six hundred. But and I was going to read some of it actually. But then I felt bad because it was in very broken English, OK, was either about writing it or it was someone who doesn't speak good English.

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Well, we have a good twenty or thirty years before you need to empathize with bots.

[00:03:00]

OK, it was pretty funny though, but they reckon about six hundred other people have said in the hundred, some people say fewer. But dogs leaping off of this bridge evidently unleashed. I mean, yeah, this is a very easy way to stop this. I mean, that's kind of the elephant in the room here. But I guess, you know, it's it's a quaint bridge and it looks like a pretty lovely small town. So maybe people can just walk around with their dogs off leash.

[00:03:29]

But these dogs leaping that fifty feet and many of them dying, many of them suffering bad injuries, supposedly one of them jumped from the bridge, survived and ran up and jumped off again.

[00:03:42]

Man, which is just crazy that second time's on the owner, if you ask me. Yeah. You know, for jump from bridge once.

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Shame on you. Second time. Shame on me. The dog owner. That's right. I saw in the New York Times article on this that they seem to think that there is at least 50 that have been definitely documented. So this isn't just like local legend like this is. This is known to happen. This actually happens. These dogs are jumping to their deaths off of this bridge.

[00:04:12]

And it's a really weird thing that no one has been able to explain and we won't be able to explain it. But in 2010, the Dumbarton Council, the city, the town council, contacted a behaviorist to animal behaviorist named David Sanders and said, hey, can you come help figure this out? Because we're actually a fairly superstitious town. And right now, the prevailing theory is that it's the white lady of Overton, the ghost of the widow of the son of the guy who built Overton House that's causing these dogs jump and it's giving the white lady of Overton a bad name because why would she want to do that?

[00:04:51]

You know, why don't you want to have all these dogs die by their own part? I don't know. Maybe she just always thought dogs were just so stupid. So now in death, she's amusing herself by making them jump. All right, well, let's take a quick break here, and we know that was a terrible cliffhanger, let's say something happy and positive instead. Rainbow Brite.

[00:05:10]

Rainbow Brite.

[00:05:10]

OK, go ahead right back and talk about David Sands right after this.

[00:05:24]

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[00:06:25]

All right, so they bring this animal expert over there, David Sands. He visits this bridge. I love how this article says he concluded first that the dogs were doing this on purpose. It's like, yeah, I think suicide is uniquely human. But he was taken he earned his money right out of the gate and someone will probably prove him wrong.

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There's probably some animal that does this, but certainly not dogs.

[00:06:49]

Well, don't even bother writing in with lemmings, everybody, because we debunked that years ago. That's right. So he had a couple of things to say. One of which was that the way the bridge is built and the part of it has to do the tapered edges of the bridge, part of it has to do apparently saw somewhere else that the foliage around it creates a little bit of an optical illusion that looks like you may be able to just run right off this bridge on the ground.

[00:07:18]

I was surprised when I looked at the bridge. I thought they were slipping through a trestle or something on ground level. But it's, you know, it's a wall like they have to jump up and over right.

[00:07:28]

Thing. Right. Which is totally on the owner.

[00:07:31]

No, totally. It is, like you said, like the dogs that are that are the victims of this are the same dogs that belong to people who like to show off how cool their dogs are, that they don't need to be on a leash, that kind of thing. But the dogs, like, inevitably go up in, like, approach another dog or get too close to somebody who's scared of dogs. It never ends very well. But, yeah, the dog does have to jump over this wall into a 50 foot drop below.

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Right. The second thing that he came up with was he said, I think that it could be possibly just some of these smells down there driving these dogs crazy of these animals. He reckoned it was make urine. I did see where one local hunter said, you know, there's there's no mink around here. Oh, really? That's what one local hunter said. But then an official like an animal, I don't know who the official body for animal.

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I don't know if it was rescue or just preservation or ASPCA.

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Oh, is it the Scottish SPCA? All right.

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Well, I think it was an official from there did say that where these dogs are jumping specifically on the bridge, he said there are lots of mice, squirrel and make nests. So they refuted this hunter at least.

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Yeah. So the I guess the the theory from Sande's and Sande's also points out that the dogs that are jumping are by and large, by and large dogs with long noses that are scent dog scenting dogs, hunting dogs, that they would be more prone to pick up on a bunch of scents or respond to a bunch of sounds like mink, especially mink urine. And that that combined with this potential optical illusion that there is flat ground right on the other side of this wall is what's causing these dogs to jump.

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That's probably what it is. Apparently, they even did a little testing in mink urine just makes these dogs crazy.

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So here's the thing like, yeah, that would seem like the most logical, reasonable explanation. But then the the the next question you have is why is it just this one bridge? Why is that not a thing all over Scotland or all over the world, wherever there's mink or there's, you know, whatever kind of animal is going to set off a certain kind of dog, like what is it about this one bridge? And that kind of it doesn't fully, like, dismissed Sande's theory.

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It just suggests that there's some weird combination of things here that we haven't quite put our finger on yet.

[00:10:03]

Yeah, totally. You did mention the white lady of Overton haunting the place. There is also another kind of story theory that in 1994 there was a man and this is just terrible. Thirty two year old father threw his baby off of this bridge because he thought his baby was the Antichrist. All right. The baby died the next day and the father was committed to an institution, obviously mentally ill. And some people say that they're jumping from the same spot that this man threw his baby from.

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But this was in 1994. It's been happening since the 50s. Yeah. Yeah.

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It's just kind of like an eerie addendum, almost, you know, I think so, you know, or some people I think think like, oh, it is supernatural. And this man was responding to the same thing. The dogs are.

[00:10:51]

And the Celts, actually, who used to live in the area, actually had a name for this kind of thing. They called it a thin place, which is where the spirit world and our world kind of overlapped with. The fabric between the two was thinnest, which is pretty interesting. And then there's in that supernatural camp, there's an author named Paul Owens who wrote The Bearing of Rainbow Bridge. And from what I can tell, Owen's book basically says and also you have to see the cover of this thing.

[00:11:19]

It was it's adorable, but also like insane. Like he Photoshopped. Dogs jumping in mid-air and made it look like they're jumping off the bridge, and for some reason, Vladimir Putin is dressed like a stage magician in the magician in the background. It's a very odd cover of a book.

[00:11:38]

I'm looking now. That's weird. So I didn't like I look like Putin. He sort of does.

[00:11:45]

But from what I can surmise, Paul Jones thing is he's kind of mashed up the Rainbow Bridge thing. Yeah. With which is I guess what what pets follow into the afterlife.

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Yeah.

[00:11:56]

With like real life and somehow suicide like he I guess he thinks like the dogs are actually purposely taking their lives. And like you said at the outset, that's just not that's a human thing that's exclusively human because from what we know, we're the only ones who can conceive of what a life is. And so therefore, we're the only ones who can think of, like, ending that life, you know, and saying like dogs, as far as we know, dogs and other animals are not capable of that.

[00:12:24]

What do you think of the whole Rainbow Bridge thing?

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I don't know anything about it. You've mentioned it before. It ended up in the book, I think was where I first ever saw it and I haven't seen it. Is it a book, a kid's book now?

[00:12:37]

I actually don't know the origin. I just know that that's something that some people say, like your pet has gone over the Rainbow Bridge or whatever. I, I don't subscribe. Obviously, they don't it's not supposed to be real, but I'm just don't it's a little kind of goofy and hoo hoo for me. But if that's your thing and that makes you feel better and stuff, I'm certainly not making fun of it. It's just it's just not for us.

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I gotcha.

[00:13:02]

So, yeah, I have no opinion about Rainbow Bridge, but don't get me started on Rainbow Brite.

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You got anything else but nothing else. So the mystery remains, which is our kind of thing.

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We love that. Hopefully you do too. And that means everybody, that short stuff is out. Stuff you should know is a production of I Heart Radio for more podcasts from my heart radio. Is it the radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows?