by Tony Harrington
A group of us were sitting around one day talking about ghosts and about seeing family members after they have passed on. The usual stories of grandparents, brothers, sister, and parents paying a final visit or continuing to stick around after they have passed away were shared and the general consensus seemed to be that most people feel the presence of a deceased loved one from time to time. Some went as far as to say their loved ones remain in the house where they lived, refusing to let go for one reason or another.
One of the gentlemen involved in the conversation announced casually that his dog haunts his house. This drew some chuckles from the group but he insisted that his beloved pet continued its routines after it had passed away. It began the day after the family had lost their beloved pet and as the man and his wife sat on the sofa that evening they heard the familiar sound of the dog waiting at the door leading to the backyard. The man’s wife looked up and saw her deceased pet staring in through the glass as though it had just finished using the bathroom and wanted to be let back inside.
She pointed to the door and the man glanced casually over as the image of his best friend vanished from view.
Other familiar sensations of the dogs presence manifested: from the sound of it pacing the floor and walking in circles before laying down to occasionally the sound of it sniffing the air could be heard.
Most of the people involved in the discussion simply nodded and quickly changed the topic back to human hauntings but the idea that pets and other animals involved in hauntings stuck with me though and I was curious if other people had experienced ghostly animal phenomena. I took to the internet and posted the subject on a forum asking people if they had encountered hauntings that seemed to involve a pet or another deceased animal. The topic went untouched for weeks and was eventually closed by the moderator as a “dead thread”.
It was literally months later when I received an email from someone who claimed they had seen my original post and didn’t respond on the board simply because she would have thought people would make fun of her. Here is here story, with her name removed per her request:
“I moved into a house in a New Jersey suburb about two years ago. Shortly after moving in I would hear what sounded like a dog whimpering or crying on the back patio. I never made a big deal about the patio because it overlooked a small backyard that was overgrown and in need of much TLC that I simply didn’t have time to give. The patio was covered with rust colored stains and it wasn’t much of a patio anyway, approximately a ten foot by ten foot block of concrete. I should mention that the backyard gave me the serious creeps but the price was right for a full-time college student who worked part-time as a dental assistant.
I was watching a horror movie one night while curled up on the couch and eating a pint of ice cream (don’t judge me please). In hindsight I suppose this was the beginning of the strangeness that I would begin to encounter on a regular basis. It was during this horror movie that I got a serious chill like a cold wind had passed right through me. It was winter and the mid-Atlantic windchill in Jersey was brutal. The house, being old, was not the best insulated home in the state and I thought that perhaps the seal on the back door was letting in cold air that would ultimately cause my heating bill to go through the roof.
I got up from the couch and wrapped my blanket around me to keep the chill away and crossed the small room to the creepy glass door that looked out over the even more creepy backyard. I dropped to my knees and ran my hand along the bottom of the door and up the sides feeling for cold air. I looked ahead through the door and was face-to-face with a what looked like hyena. It barked at me and as I screamed and scampered away on my hands and knees the dog vanished. I was later told the dog I saw was something called a Blue Heeler. Upon learning the name I searched Google images and can say with certainty that this was the breed that I saw on my porch.
Each day from that first encounter I would hear whimpers, crying, scratching all coming from the back door. I even got brave enough to open the door and investigate my rust-stained porch but whatever I was hearing was either in my head or coming from next door or nearby. Convinced this was the case I met my neighbor coming home from work one day and introduced myself. She was just getting back from the grocery store and was carrying a bag of kibble from the back of her soccer-mom van. I pointed to the dog food and implied that her dog must have been on my porch last night and she replied and indicated that she meant no offense, but that she nor anyone in the neighborhood would let their pet on my patio after what the previous owner did to his dog.
Against my better judgment I inquired just what she meant and she filled me in. Apparently the previous owner/renter of the house had a dog that he neglected. The dog had been chained to the patio out back where it only had enough lead to make it to the grass to do its business. The dog was not fed or given water for a week at a time, it howled and barked and cried all night. The only time the man paid attention to the dog was to beat it. The poor dog ended up dying after a few months of neglect and torture. The man left the dog’s body tied to the porch for days. It began to disintegrate and the smell alerted the neighbors of the dead animal. They couldn’t see because of the overgrowth of trees and plants, but they knew from the silence that something had become of the once noisy dog.
It turns out that the crying and whimpering and the scratching at my door came from a ghost dog. And those rust colored stains on the patio was liquefied dog. So that is my story, it’s not pretty, it’s not eloquent, but it is true.”
So there is one story, a first-hand account of a haunting by the ghost of an animal. Her story made me think of all the stories I have heard and read where people are attacked/scratched by an unseen force where there is growling associated with the attack. We chalk it up as demonic or some other angry spirit like an entity or poltergeist/elemental but what if these types of attacks are actually committed by the ghosts of animals.
Whether it is the whimpering or scampering footsteps of a dog or the gentle mew and purr of a cat or perhaps the squeak of a hamster exercise wheel long since dismantled, our pets may never truly leave us and continue to give us signs that they are still here and that they still love us and think of us as often as we think of them.
Conversely, there is a darker side to animal hauntings. Whereas family pets are devoted and loving, there are those pets and wild animals that are not and in death they can be just as aggressive as they where when they roamed the earth.
Johnny Parker, one of The SPIRIT Seekers own investigators had a strange encounter on an investigation once. He was standing in a room with another investigator listening quietly trying to focus on the environment when he felt something cold brush against his legs. He described it as the sensation of a cat walking around his legs, brushing its body against him.
“It felt exactly like that, you know, when a cat rubs against you. Except this was very cold, but it felt exactly like a cat.”
Have you had any experiences with the ghost of a deceased pet or perhaps with the ghost of an unfriendly animal that has long since left this earth? Share your ideas and stories with us by commenting on this article.