and Other Ghostly Animals
Humans aren’t the only creatures whose disembodied spirits can remain earthbound after death. For centuries, ghostly animal apparitions have returned from beyond the grave to warn of danger, comfort a bereaved owner—even to seek revenge against those who have mistreated them. Phantom Felines and Other Ghostly Animals features the best true stories from all over the world, presenting a faithful picture of the many animal spirits that still walk among the living. Featuring cats, dogs, horses, birds, and a menagerie of wild animals, the authentic tales in this unusual book will give you a glimpse into a world that is much closer than you ever realized.
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UNDERSTANDING PARANORMAL ANIMALS
"Never dismiss the possibility of the existence of apparitions for not only does this attitude resemble that of the proverbial ostrich, but it could result in some unpleasant experiences if you come face to face with a ghost."
— Andrew Green, parapsychologist.
Throughout the centuries, tales exist of animal apparitions appearing to the living as a warning of impending danger or death. Animal spirits have also been known to appear, either visually or in dreams, to act as guides or to comfort people in their grief over the death of a beloved pet. There are even terrifying stories about animals returning from the dead to seek revenge against their tormentors and killers. But the main reasons why most animal ghosts (particularly those of pets) appear to the living are to let their loved ones know they are all right in the next world, or simply to bid them farewell. This type of paranormal phenomena most frequently occurs when there exists a strong emotional bond between individuals and their pets.
Often, after the animal's "mission" has been accomplished, its spirit finds peace and is never seen or heard again. (That is, of course, until the animal and its loved ones are reunited on the other side.)
Just as there are houses and other areas that are haunted by the ghosts of persons who died or were killed there, so, too, are there many places where the ghosts of cats, dogs, birds, and other animals have been encountered. The Whaley House and Arundel Castle are two such places.
Preserved as a historic museum, the Whaley House in San Diego is officially recognized as "a genuine haunted house" by both the United States Chamber of Commerce and the State of California. Within this mid-nineteenth-century mansion, visitors have sighted the fleeting apparition of a dog on a number of occasions. On the other side of the Atlantic, a spectral white bird is but one of the many ghosts that haunt England's eleventh-century Arundel Castle. When a death is imminent, the bird appears and flutters against the windows.
Another interesting place where animal ghosts have been sighted is the L.A. Pet Memorial Park (originally called L.A. Pet Cemetery), which is located in Calabasas, California. Founded and dedicated on September 4, 1928, it is the oldest facility of its kind on the West Coast. Its beautifully landscaped hillsides are the final resting place for many of Hollywood's animal actors (such as Hopalong Cassidy's horse, Topper, and the Little Rascals' pit bull, Petey) as well as the pets of movie stars and the rich and famous. Over 40,000 animals, ranging from hamsters to lions, are interred there. However, the majority of the graves belong to dogs and cats.
Many different animal ghosts have been sighted at L.A. Pet Memorial Park over the years. But the one that draws the most attention is Kabar — a Great Dane whose master was the Italian film star and heartthrob, Rudolph Valentino. The dog, which died in 1929 (three years after Valentino's death) is said to be a friendly and playful ghost that appears from time to time and licks the people who walk by his grave. Some visitors to the cemetery have also reported hearing the sound of a dog panting in the area where the Great Dane is buried.
My husband and I visited the pet cemetery on Halloween of 2005. We arrived there at 9:30 a.m. and walked around the grounds and took pictures. We also took a number of electromagnetic field readings with our ELF-Zone detector, all of which were in the normal range. (A high or fluctuating reading is, in some cases, an indicator of paranormal activity.) After an hour and a half, we finally located the grave of Kabar and took another reading; it was normal. I then knelt down, placed the palms of my hands upon Kabar's grave marker, and started talking to the dog as if he were still alive. Neither my husband nor I felt any presence or cold spots, and Kabar gave us no sign. (Perhaps it was because his spirit was no longer earthbound, or maybe he somehow sensed I was a "cat person" at heart.)
After a while we moved on and came upon the grave marker of Hopalong Cassidy's horse, Topper. We said hello to him, took another reading, and then decided to call it a day. As we walked away from the grave, both my husband and I heard the clear and distinct whinny of a horse. It was quite an odd thing since there were no horses (at least not living ones) anywhere around and, with the exception of a gardener who was working on the other side of the cemetery, we were the only ones there. We left the cemetery with the feeling that Topper's ghost had acknowledged our presence.
Earthbound Spirits and Spectral Sightings
Not all animals that die return as ghosts or spirits. The reason for this can be attributed to several factors. Just as a violent or tragic death can prevent many a human spirit from resting in peace, so, too, can a death of this type cause an animal spirit to remain earthbound. In addition, a strong emotional bond between a human and an animal or a person's constant grieving for the loss of a beloved pet can sometimes serve as a catalyst for the animal's ghostly departure from the grave. In such cases, however, the spirit usually remains earthbound for only a brief time.
Some people believe that only intelligent species possess spirits (or souls). But I personally believe that all living creatures do. Hauntings involving many different types of animals have been reported throughout the centuries and in just about every part of the world. But judging by the types of animals reported in ghost sightings, it appears to be far more common for the spirits of cats, dogs, and horses to haunt the areas where their deaths occurred or to attempt contact with the living.
Spectral sightings are a universal phenomenon and ghost stories of all types can be found in every culture throughout the world. However, Great Britain, with all of its ancient castles, graveyards, and battle sites, seems to rank as the most haunted place on earth. In her book, 500 British Ghosts and Hauntings, Sarah Hapgood says, "Great Britain has more ghosts per square mile than any other country in the world." This fact, according to Hapgood, is a source of pride for many Britons.
Animal Sensitivity to Hauntings
Many believe that animals, including pets, are gifted with a higher degree of psychic sensitivity than the average person. They possess the uncanny ability to sense impending danger and, where the supernatural is concerned, quite often are able to see, hear, and feel things that normal human senses are unable to perceive.
In Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, Rosemary Ellen Guiley states, "Many psychics like to have animals accompany them when they are investigating apparitions and haunted houses, because animals are assumed to be more sensitive to ghosts and spirits." She also says, "Many dogs and cats have been known to visibly react with fear when placed in a suspected haunted house," which I know to be a fact from my own personal experiences.
Many years ago my family lived in an old Victorian house in upstate New York. The place was haunted, and strange, unexplained things happened there from time to time, such as loud banging sounds coming from the attic, window shades rolling up by themselves, and grayish misty forms that materialized from out of nowhere, glide across a room, and then suddenly vanish. Prior to such happenings, one of our housecats — a female Himalayan named Delilah — would often exhibit signs of uneasiness and go into hiding. Occasionally she stalked or stared at something that was invisible to our eyes. The fur on her back and tail would bristle all of a sudden, she'd hiss or give a low growl, and then take off running as though frightened by something that only she could see. This curious behavior was almost always observed in the evening hours and was usually accompanied by a noticeable drop in the room's temperature — a phenomenon commonly associated with ghostly visitations.
Animal Hauntings vs. Human Hauntings
As a paranormal investigator who specializes in animal apparitions and hauntings, two of the questions I'm frequently asked are: What are the symptoms of an animal haunting (as opposed to a human haunting) and how can you determine whether an unseen ghost or spirit is one belonging to an animal or a human?
In response to these questions, a typical animal haunting can produce one or more of the following symptoms:
* Cold spots, which indicate the absorption of heat energy by an earthbound spirit, can sometimes be felt at a location where an animal has died or been killed. Many ghost hunters employ infrared thermal scanners to detect cold spots, which can range from twenty-five degrees to sixty degrees colder than the surrounding air temperature. This type of phenomena is also experienced in buildings and places haunted by human ghosts.
* Animal sounds, such as meowing, barking, growling, hissing, chirping, scratching, and the fluttering of wings, or the pitter-patter of paws when no animals are present. It is also possible for these types of sounds to be picked up on magnetic recording tapes. Typically, EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) animal sounds are inaudible during recording but are heard when the tape is played back.
* The sounds of things crashing to the floor or shattering are common in hauntings. Almost always, upon investigation, nothing in the house is found to have been disturbed.
* Doors that are pushed open on their own can indicate the presence of an animal ghost or spirit, although this phenomenon frequently occurs in human hauntings as well. However, if the turning of doorknobs or the closing of doors is observed, this almost always indicates a human, and not an animal, haunting. (Unless, of course, the animal possessed in life a rare, but not unheard of, talent for turning knobs or closing doors.)
* The unexplained disappearance of small items and their equally inexplicable reappearance, often in unusual locations. Although this type of phenomena can also occur in human hauntings, it is often attributed to phantom cats and dogs, especially if the animal, during its life, had the habit of making off with small objects and hiding them.
* The physical sensation of an animal pawing, licking, or nipping your skin; rubbing against your leg; running or flying past you; jumping up on the bed; and so forth. Other sensations can include the feeling of being followed or watched when no one else is around.
* The appearance of orbs with long contrails can be an indication of paranormal activity. Appearing as round or diffuse luminaries that defy gravity and rapidly change direction, orbs are believed by many paranormal researchers to be a form of energy of unknown origin. These anomalies are not normally visible to the naked eye, although ghost lights (which are similar to orbs in their shape in behavior) are. Orbs can, however, be viewed through infrared monitors and even captured on photographic film. (It is rare to capture a true ghost orb on film, and, despite the claims of many amateur ghost hunters, the majority of "orbs" appearing in pictures taken by modern digital cameras are nothing more than airborne dust particles reflecting the light from the flash. Rain droplets, snow, pollen, flying insects, and other things not of a paranormal origin can also be mistaken as ghost orbs.)
* Smells — either pleasant or unpleasant — that are associated with animals are common. This can include the distinctive odor of pet food, excrement, catnip, a leather collar, or even a rubber chew toy.
* Lights and electrical appliances are often affected by ghosts of both the animal and human variety, and it is not uncommon for them to turn on and off by themselves and, in some cases, even short out. The reason for this, many paranormal researchers believe, is because ghosts are made up of electromagnetic and electrostatic energy.
* Visible apparitions are probably the less common of all the haunting symptoms. But when they do manifest, they may appear to the eyewitness as being real and corporeal with definable form and features. Or they may instead take on a luminous, transparent, or wispy appearance. Apparitions have been observed moving through walls, closed doors, and solid objects. And contrary to popular belief, they can also cast shadows and be reflected in mirrors. It seems to be the nature of most apparitions to appear and disappear suddenly, while some just fade away as though evaporating into the ethers. In addition to apparitions, shadows in animal shapes have also been observed and are usually seen out of the corner of one's eye.
There are also a number of signs that definitely point to a haunting that is human, and not animal, in nature. These include the following:
* The materialization of human apparitions and human-shaped shadows and shapes.
* The sound of a disembodied human voice whispering, crying, singing, laughing, calling one's name, etc. The sound of ghostly music and human footsteps are also sometimes heard.
* The smell of perfume, cologne, or after-shave lotion.
* Objects that are thrown across the room or the moving around of furniture by unseen forces.
Sometimes animal and human ghosts or spirits will coexist within a particular dwelling or location. When this happens, symptoms of either, or both, types of hauntings may be experienced. The apparition of a horse-drawn carriage and its coachman is but one example of a paranormal animal/human coexistence.
There are, of course, times when it is difficult or even impossible for one (including a well-seasoned ghost hunter) to determine whether a ghost or spirit is of animal or human origin. For example, if it is unknown who or what died in a particular house and a person there merely senses that he or she is being watched when alone or hears the sound of a creaking door, it would be next to impossible to know with any amount of certainty if an animal or human spirit was at work. In such cases, the services of a reputable psychic or spiritualist medium can sometimes prove to be beneficial.
It is not uncommon for some paranormal researchers to work side by side with psychics. However, many prefer to take a strictly scientific approach when investigating ghostly phenomena and anomalies.
Communicating with Four-Legged Ghosts
Some ghosts of animals and humans are thought to be earthbound spirits of the dead. These entities are able to interact with the living and possess an intelligence that opens the door to communication on a mediumistic level.
Communication between living humans and the earthbound spirits of animals is not impossible, although it does have its limitations. As with living animals, those in spirit form may understand certain spoken words and commands, as well as the tone of a human voice. Depending on the type of animal, they may respond to the sound of their name. To make their presence known or, as in some cases, to warn the living of impending danger, they sometimes emit a ghostly barking, growling, purring, hissing, wailing, or whimpering. In the case of ghost birds, the sound of chirping or the fluttering of invisible wings may be heard.
Sometimes such entities communicate with humans simply by leaving them with the feeling of being brushed against, pawed, or sometimes even licked or nibbled. A misty animal apparition that appears for a second or two and then vanishes from sight can be a ghost animal's subtle way of communicating to the living that it is still around, missing its human or animal companions, or perhaps watching over the household from the other side.
Communication with animal ghosts must be approached differently than communication with the ghosts of human beings. Obviously such devices and methods as Ouija boards and automatic writing are not very effective when it comes to dealing with spirits that are incapable of reading or writing.
I have found that the best way of making contact is to go to an area where the animal died or has been frequently sighted, move very slowly as to not frighten it away, and talk to it in the same manner as you would a living animal. Call out its name and make kissing sounds or whistle, if that is the sort of thing it responded to in life. When you begin to sense the animal's presence, a simple "here, boy" or "kitty, kitty" will probably work better for you than asking your dearly departed Rover or Fluffy what it's like in the afterworld or asking them to forgive you for having to put them to sleep. Do not expect them to understand questions or everything you say. Remember, you are talking to an animal after all. It does not speak in a human tongue.
If you sense that the spirit is afraid, agitated, or in pain, the best thing to do is speak to it in a soothing and comforting tone. (This approach also works well with human spirits.) However, instructing them to "go into the light" will most likely yield the same results as talking to the wall in Pig Latin.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Phantom Felines"
Copyright © 2006 Gerina Dunwich.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Understanding Paranormal Animals,
2. Phantom Felines,
3. Hounds and Hauntings,
4. Other Ghostly Animals,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This compilation of stories displays the uncanny bond between man and animal that cannot be broken even in death. I laughed and sometimes cried and yes, some of the stories chased me into my dreams making me want to leave the lights on!