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A Monstrous Bridge

According to a Glasgow, Scotland electrician named Danny Thomas, on a particularly cold and wintry evening in January 1879, his great-great-grandfather, who had apparently suffered from some form of severe mental affliction for years, committed suicide by violently hurling himself off Scotland’s Tay Bridge, and right into the harsh and churning waters of Dundee’s Firth of Tay far below. But this was to be no ordinary, tragic suicide.

In the immediate days that followed the family’s sad loss, ominous reports began to quietly circulate within the close-knit confines of the neighbourhood of a shaggy-haired man-beast  with glowing, silver-colored eyes that was seen roaming the Tay Bridge late at night, and that came to be known locally – in distinctly hushed tones – as the Shuggy.

It’s a term that instantly evokes thoughts of Rendlesham Forest, England’s Sasquatch-like Shug Monkey and the Bigfoot-infested grounds around Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire, England. That the term” Shug” is derived from an old English term meaning “demon” only makes matters all the more intriguing. Even more intriguing, the death in the Thomas family was not the only tragedy that occurred at the Tay Bridge in 1879.

TayBridge3As far as the known data are concerned on the other disastrous event, at least, the story goes like this:

Almost two miles in length, the bridge – which was built according to the plans of Sir Thomas Bouch – was the longest on the planet back then. Proposals for such a vast project dated back to the 1850s, with the initial foundation stone put into place in July 1871.

The first engine duly crossed the bridge on September 22, 1877, and it was officially opened by Queen Victoria on June 1, 1878. Ulysses S. Grant worded it correctly when he commented that it was “a big bridge for a small city.” But that situation soon changed – and most definitely not for the better.

TayBridgeDisasterIt was an appropriately dark and stormy night on December 28, 1879 when, shortly after 7.00 p.m., and as a veritable storm of truly deluge-style proportions was blowing right down the length of the estuary, the central navigation spans of the Tay Bridge collapsed and plummeted into the Firth of Tay – taking with them a train and all its carriages that resulted in more than seventy untimely and tragic deaths.

An official investigation was quickly put into place and which came up with at theory that the collapse of the Tay Bridge resulted from was “…the insufficiency of the cross bracing and its fastenings to sustain the force of the gale.” Plans were duly made for a new bridge to be built – according to the designs of one William Henry Barlow. The first stone was laid on July 6, 1883; and, by the time of its completion, no less than fourteen of the construction workers were dead, all from a variety of accidents.

TayBridgeIt must be said that Danny Thomas was most definitely not an adherent of the theory that the Tay Bridge disaster, and the many accompanying deaths, could be attributed to something as down to earth as the stormy and relentless British weather. No: It was his firm belief that the dark and sinister forces of the Shuggy were at work on that most tragic of all nights.

Moreover, Danny was of the opinion that the precise cause of the Tay Bridge disaster of December 1879 was his great-great-grandfather; returned, after his January 1879 death, to our plane of existence in the spectral form of some vile man-beast that haunted the darkened corners of the bridge – positively oozing negative energy and creating an atmosphere of death, doom, tragedy and decay as it did so, albeit briefly for a few weeks following the collapse of the once-mighty bridge.

A doomed bridge, indeed.

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  • http://twitter.com/mitziflyte Mitzi Flyte

    This was a very interesting story. I saw some similarities with the Silver Bridge disaster at Point Pleasant, WVA about 90 years later.

    Mitzi