Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pooches: Can Your Dogs See Ghosts? (Stick with me on this one)

Last Halloween, I decided to try writing short scary-stories with my students. We spent a lot of time analyzing what really makes a story scary, and of all the things we discovered the ones the class found most chilling were: solemn children and pets reacting to things that humans couldn't see.
I was surprised that a lot of my students were able to share stories about living with ghosts in their homes, complete with reactions from their dogs.
Dogs awakening at 4am and barking at things their people couldn't see.
Dogs who would routinely stare in corners with raised hackles.
Multi-dog households where dogs would unexpectedly converge to bark and growl at a certain location where nothing was there.
I had never thought about it with our own pups.
Until I did need to think about it.
Since we made the decision to move to a new home, we've spent a lot of time walking the pups and  'stalking homes' in our potential new neighborhood. The other day we took our pups walking by our frontrunner home when Mr. B stopped short, and stared unblinkingly into the yard, almost
as if he saw something. Since there wasn't a cat, I thought maybe it was a sign that it was meant to be our home.
Or not.
The neighborhood we're looking at has a combination of older, traditional homes and developers swooping in to find foreclosures and tear downs and build on empty lots. The home we're looking at is new construction being built on an empty lot, but given Mr. B's reaction I was curious to find out what had been there before.
I was able to find out that the previous home on that lot had been abandoned and taken over by squatters. It eventually burned down and they found a man had died in the fire.
Which made me wonder if Mr. B really did see a ghost.
I spent a sleepless night Googling about the ghost world, trying to figure out if it still counts if it's a different house in the same area. Seeing if there are ways to ask the ghost to leave. And looking up ghost hunters I could consult with.
Though I also realized Chicago has so much history, nearly every home is bound to have some kind of death in it. And would this also mean that when someone is killed on the street our streets and sidewalks are haunted too?
But I guess the most consoling thing was when we took the pups back to the house to see if Mr. B would react again, we found out he did have another reaction.
Because the windows are mirrored and he was checking out his own reflection.
He must have liked what he saw.

Though I'm still curious...has anyone had any ghost-like experiences in your home? Or pups that can detect ghosts?

This Buzzfeed article made me feel a lot better.
Mr. B is bewildered.

Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and story lines beyond the blog.


Unknown said...

Ok.... Please don't think Im crazy, but here is my ghost story.
When I was a kid, one of my Dads most enduring habits was to stay up late and listen to Opera, mostly Carmen, on the (gasp!) record player. He would stay up till 2 or 3 in the a.m. listening and smoking with our dog Pepe faithfully at his side. About two weeks after my Dad died, Pepe woke my Mother and I up at 2am barking and wagging her butt and tail furiously..... standing in the living room and staring at the silent record player.

Debra@Peaceabull said...

We used to live in a house in which a young girl was murdered and one morning after we woke up, Asia asked me if I came in her room the previous night and sat on the bed and talked to her!

New Address!

rebecae said...

Ours stares into the kitchen constantly. It's probably a low hum from an appliance, but I like to think she's spotting a ghost and is keeping us safe.

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

Yikes -- I don't do so well with ghost stories, so I try not to think about it too much. Every once in awhile, Ed will bark and run to the backdoor even though no one is there, but I'm not sure it's a ghost he's barking at.

A Thin Girl trapped in a Thick Body said...

I believe they can. I lived in a apartment with my dog and there were many times my friendly dog would act like someone she knew came into the room. She would get off the sofa run over and wag her tail like she was seeing a friend. I didn't believe in ghosts and just thought it was some weird dog behavior but then this did make me believe. Sadly that dog got cancer and I had to put her down. I had been a long time volunteer at a shelter and some friends talked me into adopting this "project" dog. She loves me a few other people she knows and wants the rest of the world to leave her alone. One night I was sitting on my sofa, with my new dog next to me, she woke up startled, jumped off the sofa and charged to the same spot my previous dog always ran to and was basically attacking the air. This happened more than once and once I moved, has never happened again. Yes I am now a believer.

Regina Hart said...

What an adorable post! How funny that Mr. B is "haunted" by himself. Sweet, simple boy. The accompanying photos are a hoot too - love those googly-eyed stares.

Anonymous said...

You know dogs are pretty intuitive, they just might be able to see what we can't. I wouldn't rule it out!

Anonymous said...

When the dogs bark at things I can't see, it always makes me wonder!!!

OG said...

EEK! I'm sure dogs can see ghosts since they probably don't have any preconceived notions about whether they are "real" or not.
I'm sure if he did encounter a ghost Petey would be thrilled to meet it, as he is usually thrilled if anyone looks at him :)

Lucy-Fur, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

They definitely see ghosts. Our house is haunted - and it's not just me. I've had far too many people tell me they have either felt chased going up the stairs from the bottom floor, or actually seen things in our downstairs bedroom (we had a friend who was between houses stay in the bedroom for about 3 months and had several 'encounters' with our ghost. Luckily, our ghost doesn't seem to be malicious - he (and he's definitely a 'he') just likes to remind us that he's there. HOWEVER, there is a spot in the downstairs hallway where the girls will stop and bounce and bark - their usual greeting for people - and there is nothing there. The fact that they don't growl confirms the lack of maliciousness of the ghost. (And for those who thing the dogs are barking at mice, the barking/bouncing they do is definitely their greeting and not their mouse chasing/rodent sighting barking.) And there was a recorded death in the house, in the downstairs area.

-Dr. Liz, and not Fiona, who wonders what the fuss is about - she knows he's there and it's all good

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

Lately I've been watching a bunch of British mini-series about ghosts haunting the same house for 3 generations...pretty entertaining!

Our house is almost 100 years old and I often wonder about who lived here before. But no signs of ghosts...yet:/ The dogs often stare at I a ghost?

Spookylady said...

As you can see by my Google screen name, I am a believer in the paranormal. I have been ever since I was a child, mostly from experience. Long story short, I have a ghost dog that lives in my house. My four cats are aware of her presence. She (yes it's a 'she') is a kind and gentle spirit who looks like an enormous black Newfoundland. I feel safe with her around. My husband, well, he doesn't fully admit that feeling of something brushing past his legs when no cats are present is her but she and I are OK with that. :-)

Laura and Hans said...

Mr. B probably hopes those ghosts won't use him as a pillow! I love ghost stories and I'm sure your students had a fun time with this project. I've had my own 'ghost' experience but not one with Wilbur whom I seriously doubt would recognize a ghost if it bopped him on the nose.

Unknown said...

Not only does my dog see things, he scares the freaking hell out of me.

We will be sitting in the basement and he will look up towards the light and then slightly turn away in a terrified manner.

It is obvious he wants to look back at the light but he is too scared.

Then at night, if we go for a walk, he will get to a certain spot and SLAM on the brakes and plant his paws FIRM in the ground letting me no, "It's not happening pops, there is danger here".

Mind you, my dog is not the skittish type so there is DEFINITELY something going on that my eyes cannot see.

sickboicloud said...

Fuck you ghosts are fake. Your dogs are probably hearing something 100 ft away idots.

sickboicloud said...

Fuckyou dummies

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