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Ghost Cat. Photo: OliBac

Ghost Cat. Photo: OliBac

The Ghosts Of Pets And Other Animals

Acording to scientific surveys of people who have experienced ghosts, more than four fifths of all apparitions are of men, women, and children who have died. However, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of disembodied spirits reported to British researchers were manifestations of animals.

The ghosts of pets are the non-human spirits that most frequently make themselves known to people. In fact, visits by dead pets to their former owners seem to be a fairly common occurrence. People who responded to two surveys taken by Britain’s Institute of Psychophysical Research reported more apparitions of cats than of any other animal. Ghost dogs were next, followed by the spirits of horses.

Other ghost animals that popped up either in the British survey or in other types of reports including the media include bears, pigs, poultry, hares, deer, and birds. In his 2012 book, Ghosts—A Natural History: 500 Years of Searching for Proof, author Roger Clarke mentions “a couple of phantom bears in London,” a 17th century preacher in Cornwall, England, who supposedly returned in the form of a “demonic black rooster,” and a white bird that purportedly appears to the inhabitants of Arundel Castle in Sussex, England, when one of them is about to die. Clarke adds that headless dogs and horses were a frequent theme of 19th century ghost stories.

As for barnyard animals other than horses—headless or otherwise—The ruins Of Scotland’s Carscreugh Castle allegedly are haunted by the ghost of a white pig.

The ghosts of cats almost always appear alone, and are usually seen rather than heard. Often, a person who has lost a beloved cat will continue to glimpse the animal from the corners of his or her eyes, or catch sight of it sitting in the shadows. These apparitions tend to fade with the fading over time of the pet owner’s grief.

Ghost dogs frequently appear accompanied by people—usually an owner who is also dead. Phantom canines also often make themselves known via sound rather than sight, with grieving owners reporting that they’ve heard them bark, breathe, or snore—or been startled by the sound of their claws on the floor.

Not all ghostly dogs are friendly. According to Roger Clarke, “demonic” ghost dogs of the “elemental” type are known to frighten nighttime travelers at rural crossroads and other isolated locations.

As for dogs and cats that are still among the living, it has been claimed—though never proven—that they are able to sense apparitions unseen, unheard, and otherwise undetected by their owners. Perhaps that is why cats so often to stare into what seems to be empty space, and dogs so frequently bark seemingly at nothing. . .

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