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Animal Ghosts

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

What is the element that haunts a certain place? The easiest answer would be the soul. But what does that mean? How is the soul defined when there is a reference to its energy? One might argue that ghosts are something more than a site-specific memory trace. There might be a reference to a “living” presence, a non-human existence that can freely come in contact with humankind. Whoever supported the theory above would have a lot of similar stories to narrate. One might argue, that these presences may be even constituted by the extracted energy of a human after their death. If that is true… what happens with the clothes? How can ghosts appear in full clothing? A thought like this can be distracting to the idea of accepting a story that involves shadows and spirits. Since we are not the only occupants of this planet it is not only humans who have the right to haunt our world! There are also a lot of rumours about animal ghosts…

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Strange Dog Visions

Animal ghost stories are usually referencing dogs. In ancient times, dogs were the guardians of the underworld – Anubis in Ancient Egypt, the god of death and Cerberus the three-headed guardian of Hades. In the house of Dr.John McLoughlin, also known as the “Father of Oregon”, during the 1970s a series of strange appearances and sounds started to terrify the visitors of his mansion. In addition to the appearances of the old owner and a red-headed boy there was also a black and white dog who started to appear and leave footprints on the carpet of the haunted house. In Durham’s Darlington rail station in England, a lot of passers-by claim to have witnessed the presence of a man, who once committed suicide there, jumping into the railway lines. The man’s ghosted figure is always followed by the ghost a black dog, who once bit a passerby according to witnesses. No trace of bite was found under their ripped clothes! In an area near London, which is considered to be the “Ghost Capital”, the renowned psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, would once experience a series of strange events during the summer of 1920. It is said, that when he lied on the bed of a small hotel, strange repetitive whispers and intense trembling from the furniture of the bedroom would start to occur. Every now and then, there was even a bad smell. “During the first two days, I did not give great importance to these events until the third night something even weirder happened. There were loud sounds like there were coming from a dog that was running across the room. The noise stopped when the first ray of sun appeared.” Unfortunately, the events did not only stop there. The weird sounds would continue for many more nights until “During my fifth weekend on the hotel, the situation had become unbearable that led me to ask for another room. It was a beautiful night, when whispers, running, and banging sounds started to occur in the room.

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I had the feeling that something was standing right next to me. I opened my eyes and saw an old lady’s head hovering above my pillow. Her right eye was wide open, while the left part of her face was missing. This view was so sudden and unexpected that I stood up from my bed and lid a candle. I spend the rest of the night sitting on an armchair.” This hotel was later on demolished, as its creepy reputation, prevented people to visit it! There are testimonies that imaginary dogs also appear in other parts of London. In Amen Court, there is a spot in which one may find the ghost of a black dog. This presence, according to testimonies, has been seen since the 13th century. There is another story about the renowned Black Dog of Newgate, which dates back to the era of King Henry III (1207-1272). During that period a great plague stroke the city of London, leading many citizens to cannibalism! Some prisoners at Newgate killed and ate a man who was imprisoned there. The man was accused for witchcraft. Starting from the following night onwards, a strange creature appeared in a doglike form. Fire was coming out of the creature’s eyes, and blood was dripping from his mouth. Legend has it that the creature, later on, killed whoever tasted the human flesh of the man. Prisoners who were not killed by the creature, killed the guards and left terrified. It is said that all of them found tragic death by a black spectral dog after a few nights. Following killings, it is said that the dog returned to Newgate prison and resided there until the building’s demolition in 1902. Everybody was convinced that the haunt would be terminated after the demolition. Up to this day, there are many witnesses who see the shadow of a dog wandering around that spot. Another story states that a wandering dog is also said to be found in a tavern, across the St.Pauls cathedral in Achor. According to locals, during a night of the 18th century, a group of drunks were intensely fighting with a habitué of the tavern. The verbal conflict led to a violent fight and the dog took part in the action in an attempt to protect the habitué. Someone from the group tried to close a door and cut the dogs’ tail by accident. The poor animal left crying and never returned back. Therefore, as it is said by the local community, a tailless old dog occasionally approaches the old tavern and disappears again in front of the passersby’s eyes. The haunted animal stories are not only about dogs…

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Demonized Ferrets and the Legend of Black Dogs.

One might argue, that these stories hide serious existential questions. If one of them is true, then there are serious interrogations to be examined about the nature of spirits. The older generation, has linked those incidents to the devil. In 1120, Abbot Guibert of Nogent reported that people of his parish were terrified by a demon ferret! In 1474, Authorities in Basel, Switzerland sentenced a rooster to death for laying eggs! According to a witness, the executioner, opened the rooster at two and discovered a large number of eggs! In 1692, during the Salem witch trials in the United States of America, the terrified crowd hanged a rooster as they believed it was a transformed witch! Back then, many believed that only a demon in the form of a beast could transcend the rules of nature. Tommaso d’Aquino supported that thought but also believed that animals were not to be blamed and should not be punished. He believed that demons possessed animals just like they did humans. Many people were not supporting this theory. It is easier for people to blame rather than to forgive! Thus, all witches would be accompanied by “demonic creatures” like a cat, a frog, or an owl. These animals were called familiars and they had all the properties of a demon or a ghost, as they could appear and disappear according to their own will. The stories about the legendary black dogs are also scary enough! The dogs, according to the legend were freely traveling across the British countryside. These dogs are also known as Black Shuck, a name which is believed to derive from the Anglo-Saxon scucca or sceocca, a literal translation to demon or Satan. The black dogs are considered to be real creature visions that guard specific areas of the British land. For many, they are considered to be a death omen! One of the most recent events, occurred in Yarmouth in April of 1972. Graham Grant was traveling on a coast guard boat when he noticed with his binoculars the figure of a strange black dog sitting on the nearby shore. All of a sudden the dog disappeared, Graham did not give great importance to the event until a colleague informed him about the legend of the black dogs and he warned him of the upcoming misfortune. The sailor did not pay attention and ten weeks later he suddenly fell dead by a heart attack. Undoubtedly, such stories could be interpreted with less dramatic theories, but many believe they are true. Some people, have managed to photograph some of the ghosted dogs. However, in those images, the captured creatures do not appear to have flaming eyes or headless bodies!

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