Learning With: ‘“Dog Suicide Bridge”: Why Do So Many Pets Keep Leaping Into a Scottish Gorge?’

Learning With: ‘“Dog Suicide Bridge”: Why Do So Many Pets Keep Leaping Into a Scottish Gorge?’

Before reading the article:

Are there any stories of weird, strange or curious occurrences where you live? Are there any odd, mysterious or even cursed places — houses, parks, abandoned lots, bodies of water — near your home?

How would you explain these strange things? Do you think that everything can be explained in a natural way, or that some events are beyond the natural order?

Now, read the article “‘Dog Suicide Bridge’: Why Do So Many Pets Keep Leaping Into a Scottish Gorge?” Then answer the following questions:

1. What happened to Lottie Mackinnon’s dog, Bonnie, that was like an episode of the sci-fi television show “The Twilight Zone,” according to Ceylan Yeginsu, the author of the article? What details support her comparison?

2. How many dogs have jumped off the Overtoun Bridge in Dumbarton, Scotland, according to local legend?

3. What are some rational explanations for the dogs’ behavior?

4. What is a “thin place”? Why are the residents of Dumbarton, in particular, and Scotland in general drawn to the supernatural?

5. Describe the Overtoun Bridge. What details from the article stand out to you?

6. The townspeople have many supernatural explanations for the dogs’ unexplained behavior. Give three examples. Which, if any, do you think is most plausible?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

— What’s your reaction to the article? What do you think best explains the strange behavior of dogs at the Overtoun Bridge?

— Tell us about your experiences with dogs or animals in general. Have you ever observed strange or mysterious behavior? What do you think might explain their curious actions?

— Do you believe in the supernatural? If so, why? If not, how do you explain events that seem to be outside the natural order of things?

— Write about an event that occurred in your life or the life of someone you know that could be explained as “supernatural” (even if you yourself think it was simply coincidence or a random occurrence). How would you explain what happened? What (or who) do you think might be responsible for these “supernatural” occurrences?

— Why do you think people are interested in the supernatural? Why do you think movies, television shows and books dealing with the supernatural — spirits, ghosts, dark forces — are so popular? Do you think the people in your hometown are particularly superstitious?