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I think the title says it all . Can animals detect ghosts and why do you think this is?
Domestic animals such as cats and dogs tend to have thinner skulls than humans, so if electromagnetic fields or something similar are part of a haunting then the animal will have less shielding it's brain and therefore it will have stronger reactions. Note that people exposed to EMF's in laboratories have had haunting type experiences induced, so surely it would work on animal brains too.
Could it be that for presences, sight is not the most important sense? We still get tingles down the spine, hairs raising on the back of our necks etc.
But bearing in mind that as well as much sharper hearing and smell in both cats and dogs, such animals (mostly carnivores! but other mammals do possess them) have vibrissae, or whiskers, that can, at least in mice and probably in many mammal species, detect vibrations in the air. Is it possible then, that each whisker (stiffer and ticker than normal hair, attached with a small blood-filled sac at the follicle) act as tiny "rods" that pick up the difference in electromagnetic energies associated with presences?
Am I even right in assuming that presences give off eletromagnetic radiation of sorts? I'm sure they are detectable by some sort of energy, are they not? So while the animal does not necessarily know there is something there, the sensation is uncomfortable enough for them to react defensively (or even agressively)?
I had an early encounter with a ghost whilst I was in my teens and it was shared with my dog. I was in my room with the door open. I awoke and looked out of the room down the long corridor toward the bathroom, only to see a misty shape coming towards me. As it passed my fathers bedroom door (also open), my Jack Russell leapt from that room and flew into the ghost barking and snapping. It was attacking the ghost and continued to do so until he was shouted at by dad. The ghost vanished and the dog trotted back into the bedroom. He had reacted to something whether a visual image, energy or whatever, but it was in the exact same location of the apparition I was witnessing.
Interestingly enough as recently as this April the ghost of a hooded figure has been seen walking around my father’s bedroom.
cats, birds, dogs etc all have been noted to react. In UFO sightings in fields, sheep and cows have been noted to react, running away from the object in a state of panic, huddled in the corner of a field. Animals are the first to know if an earthquake is coming too - having been spotted making their escape before an earthquake hits hard. This once again is marked down to the electrical activity in the ground, due to the grinding of rock, being detected by the animals.
In Mysteries of the Unknown by Usborne they mention a test with four differant animals. It is a kids book but I have found this study referred to on net.....with no names or details though .
It supposedly took place in Kentucky and a dog, cat, rat and rattlesnake were each placed individually in a haunted room and then in a control room. In the control room they acted normally and in the haunted room they got very disturbed reactions from the dog, cat and rattlesnake. The rat gave no reaction.
Have any other studies been done?
I personally belive that animals can sense things that most humans cannot anymore. Years ago we used to have an old Labrador living with us who seemed to sense things in the house. One night we had a good freind around who is clairvoyant, as he walked to the kitchen he suddenly stopped and said "do you know there is an old lady here ?". It just seemed a bit coincidental that he stopped right next to the spot that the old dog used to stare at with his tail wagging.
The dog used to look up as if someone had come into the room and his tail would start going, then he would wander over to whatever he had seen and stand there as if he was being stroked.
I had an interesting experience quite a few years ago.
I went over to a relative's farmhouse and spent the night there. I had my old hunting dog with me and I had already arranged with my relative to have her sleep with me in the guest room on an old carpet. My relative and his wife did not have dogs or cats at the time.
I had a very sound sleep that night and my dog too. The next morning I found my relatives in a state of exhaustion, like they had very little sleep.
"You look terrible. What happened?"
"Didn't you hear tonight?" He told me with an astonished look.
He then went on to explain that during the night they heard a tremendous noise from downstairs, like someone moving the furniture and beating savagely on the walls. Thinking of a thief he loaded his hunting gun and, closely followed by his wife, gathered all his courage, lightened every light in the house and went downstair shouting "Stop or I'll shoot!". The noise stopped immediately and the house was absolutely spotless, not a single dish out of place. All the doors and windows were closed shut.
He told me that during the whole episode me and my dog were both sound asleep: he even remember the old pooch's snoring!
I don't think they were pulling a my leg: they are simple working countryfolks and I know them extremely well.
I later talked about the experience with my father and he told me that he had a weird happening in that same house a few years before.
He went there with my mother and his Cocker Spaniel and, as myself, planned to stay there for the night. During the evening hours they were in the kitchen with my relatives when suddenly the dog (who was sleeping in a corner after a busy day in the countryside) started to growl.
From outside there came the sound of heavy steps, like a man wearing heavy military boots. As the steps got closer the dog ("a very sweet brute, never bit anybody" as my father put it) became wild with rage. Thinking of an intruder my relative run upstairs to grab his gun. Just as he was gone the steps stopped and the dog began to whimper. My father helped patrolling the property later but no intruder was found: despite the late hour he and my mother grabbed the dog, bid farewell, jumped in the car and headed home. Not a very heroic beahvious but quite understandable.
Over the years I tried to get my relatives to talk about these weird happenings but I always got scant replies. They referred to the mysterious nightly noises as "The Midsummer Ghost" but told me little more. I've always had the idea they were not telling he whole story. Talking with the countryfolk I later learnt that the previous tenants had a "classic" poltergeist haunting, with rappings on the walls, moving objects and a few smashed dishes. Their parish priest (both were devoted Roman Catholics) called for an exorcist's help but he told them not to worry, since it was not an evil spirit but their daughter entering puberty. A few days after the exorcist's visit the poltergeist "died away". The exorcist was probably right.
Sorry for the long story but I think it's important to give all the details.
"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"
-Kalevala, Rune XIII-
Thank you for your account Mauro, it's always better to give as much detail as possible, so don't apologise for the length .
The haunting is fascinating and actually reminds me elements of two other cases I know of. One was a cottage/potting shed in the grounds of a plant nursery in the North East of England and footsteps would be heard approaching the door as the gardeners inside were potting plants. The staff got used to it though. I'm unsure if any animals were there to react to it.
The second was an old mines office, now a bar and restaurant. Reports of poltergiest activity were made. The noise of scraping chairs and tables could be heard from upstairs (the restaurant area) as the building was being closed at night, but upon investigation no furniture had been moved. After investiagetion and experimentation it turned out that no noise was originating from the restaurant. We had actually had people in there sat experiencing nothing (I was one of them), whilst downstairs the noise and racket moving furniture was reported by other investigators as coming from the restaurant above them.
Similar to your case Mauro with noises of movement etc but nothing being out of place and area's of the building where the noise was not heard. In my case it was actually caused by the wind getting under the rafters and the perculiar layout and accustics of the building.
I remember talking to a fellow who had worked in South Africa and had a similar happening: during a single night he heard like every piece of furniture downstairs in his two-story house was being broken to pieces and some giant beast was thrashing about.
Fear had the best of him and stay locked inside his bedroom until dawn was well passed. When he cautiosly descended dowstairs (he feared some kind of wild animal could have entered his house) he found everything in order and every door and window barred shut.
He later related the episode to a native friend who, concerned for his well-being, went over to a sangoma (some kind of sorcerer-advisor-alchemist) asking for help.
The sangoma listened patiently and told him "Your friend has been visited by Old Baboon. There's no need to worry, he won't come back". And, like the sangoma said, that remained the only weird happening in that house in the South African veld.
Of course the sangoma never explained who or what Old Baboon is and why he takes such a pleasure in terrifying people.
I think this proves that the phenomenon is widespread and well known by many cultures worldwide. What causes it is, of course, still a matter of debate.
I think it's amazing to hear how differant cultures react to almost identical stange experiences and indeed to hear that similar events are happening worldwide. Old Baboon may have been the name given to the ghost or even some kind of nature spirit or an African version of our faeries I suppose. If anyone has any similar accounts or can shed any light on this one I'd love to hear more
A weight of awe, not easy to be bourne,
Fell suddenly upon my spirit - cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past
When first I saw that family forlorn.. Read More »