Sunday, August 23, 2009

Take Your Dog To Work: Dogs on Ghost Hunts

I was thrilled to see “Ghost Hunters International” using a dog on one of their expeditions, albeit short-lived. I’ve always felt that there’s a very reasonable and practical place for dogs on ghost hunts. Humans can miss the signs of activity, dogs don’t.

When I lived in California, the neighborhood dogs were our first warning before an earthquake. When I was pregnant, my head in the toilet in the morning in October 1987 when we were about to get a 6.0, it was the neighborhood dogs howling and barking incessantly that made the hairs rise on my neck. I crawled to my “safe spot” in the crappy old second-story apartment just in time. They didn’t steer me wrong. Each time an aftershock came, they let me know with their cacophony of yipping. When I was done with checking the apartment building's gas main and the neighbors' safety, I went and gave the dogs over the fence some hot dog bits. When I was growing up at Aspen Grove, our family dogs were the first warning sign when something was in the room with us. Their reactions were amazing, from hair standing up down their backs, tail between their legs, growling and barking at the unseen, to rushing from the room and hiding under beds. One time, they were so upset, they appeared to try to lunge and grab at something, one of them suddenly squealing as if he were kicked. He rushed out of the house with the other dog and cowered under the barn for several days!

If a dog won’t venture into a space, I know it’s a hot spot. If a dog stares at the unseen, I know it’s telling. If the dog refuses to enter, I know it’s bad.

Dogs may not always be practical on hunts, such as in someone’s residence where they don’t wish to have a dog or a public building, but when they can be used, they should be used. I’d prefer a dog to a thermometer and EMF meter any day—much more reliable. You can walk them through the site first and then try unleashing them, ignoring them so they’re not focused on attention, and then wander yourself around the place and see if the dog tries to come between you and something else. If he’s acting protective, take note of it. The only time a dog will lead you astray is if he finds a scent he likes more or a moving rat that’s more entertaining.

Consider taking one on your next hunt. They’re not just man’s best friend, they’re also his very own ghost meter!


  1. I've always been fascinated by this sense that dogs have.
    In the haunted house I lived in when I was a child, my younger brother and our dog were playing in the yard. For some reason, he wander into the garage, I don't remember why, and the dog followed. The dog started barking toward the door and then the door slammed shut. When my brother went to open the door, he could not open it, no matter how hard he tried. He started screaming and my mom came out and opened the door with ease. He couldn't understand why he couldn't open the door, but he knew something was very wrong and the dog knew it before it all happened.
    Has there been any studies done on this?

  2. This was a fantastic read! It's about time someone said it.

    I've always believed that dogs are psychic. You mentioned dogs' abilities to sense coming disasters, such as earthquakes. What's amazing to me is the stories that come out every other year (or so) about a dog being separated from its owners. In some accounts the owners move away without their dog or go on vacation without their dog or accidentally leave their dog on vacation. But in all these stories the ending is the same. The dogs will travel hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles, through places they've never been before, and reunite with their owners at the exact location where they're staying. So-called "scientists" have tried explaining this by suggesting that dogs have can pick up on their owners' scents and follow that scent until they reach their owner, but you and I both know that would be impossible to do for days on end with literally thousands of other scents through adverse weather conditions. The only thing that makes sense, the easiest explanation in this case, is that dogs can tap into a psychic energy that allows them to connect spiritually with their owners, like finding their owners by picking up on their psychic scent or something. I've often wondered if the conversation that Eve had with the serpent (Genesis 3) might have been some kind of psychic or telepathic conversation that we could have with animals nowadays if we only knew how.

    You also mentioned that dogs can see things we can't. The Bible is full of animals that can see things we can't. When the Israelites were trying to leave Egypt, for example, the tenth plague was the Angel of Death killing all the Egyptians' first-born sons. Exodus 11:7 says that all the dogs in Egypt were growling, while the dogs in the Israelite camp (where the Angel of Death didn't go) the dogs remained calm. In the case of Balaam, an angel stood on the road with its sword drawn and was about to slay him. Balaam's donkey saw the angel and stopped going forward, saving his master's life (Numbers 22).

    When my wife's cats died, I had a dream that they came to me. I'm not saying for sure that this was some kind of spiritual visitation, but I will tell you that the next day my wife told me she had the exact same dream. So it does make one wonder.

    Again, thanks for the post.

  3. I can not point out enough how touched i am by your comment. The fact that you thought of me when you heard the news means so much to me. Thank you. We are safe here in this part of Athens but my magickal spot i was talking about a few days ago is not. I hope it will suvive this catastrophe.
    I have also had an experience with dogs barking before a quake. They are awesomew animals. But since i moved in here my cat stares at the unseen and sometimes tries to scratch the air. It is pretty scary and it makes no sense because no one died in the building but she knows better than me.

  4. Sandra;
    Isn't that amazing? The stories of pets helping people from the paranormal is extensive. It's strange that so many people living in haunted houses notice their dog's reactions and yet no one talks about the potential for a truly alert and concerned ghost hunting partner.

    I have to admit "Homeward Bound" was one of my favorites as a kid, as was "My Side of the Mountain" where the kid went to live out in nature by himself. Our dogs were quite amazing in their ability to track back home. Our property was surrounded by woods and they never got lost. I agree that it's not scent. I think that an animal such as a dog that's used to being part of a pack makes a tie with his owner that's inseparable (as you see is the case in dogs who have been abused, still love their owner). They're loyal to the extreme. How they find the owners without scent, without knowing the territory? It has to be psychic. Your references from the Bible are interesting. It seems man has always known about this sort of psychic link. If you ask any dog owner, they'll tell you that their dog seems to know when they're sad and gives them more attention. We hear every day about some dog that rescued an owner from a calamity or ran off for help when he was injured. I can't think of a partner that would be better to take on a hunt.

    I'm relieved that you're safe. It sounds like a real inferno there. We've had some miserable fires here in Arizona too and I can relate to how unnerving it can be. I will be hoping your special spot is safe and beautiful and you can return there soon. Your cats actions could be as simple as light shining on the wall from outdoors that catches her interest, but it could be something fleeting. If your building has no history, I wouldn't worry about it being of a spiritual nature, but since you live in a geologically active area, it could be tectonic activity that has her acting strange. They really do get unsettled at the tiniest quake (even ones we can't feel at all). When we had the big quake in California, my best friend had three cats, all of whom sat on the kitchen floor and stared at the ceiling at the same time. She said she saw them lined up, looked up at the ceiling, saw nothing there, but felt the hair rises because it was like a circus trainer had them form a line and look up. Then, the quake hit. Admittedly, dogs are better indicators because we all know cats get distracted by sparkly lights and pretty things. My cat when I was growing up stared at the shiny light my mom's huge diamond ring would make when she'd be reading her paper and the lamp would shine on it. He'd chase after the light squiggles on the wall and lunge at them. We thought it was hilarious. You might want to see if something is causing her attention to be distracted like that.

  5. With my past experiences with my dogs, seeing things that were not there, I would definately take them with me.

  6. I haven't had much experience with dogs and the paranormal. But with cats I have had experiences basically since birth. Being re-told from my mom, when I was a infant we lived in a very old home. My mom said she would hear me wake up in my crib only to come in and find me reaching out to the wall and smiling and cooing. In this same spot the cat would stare and sometimes rub against the wall. 28 years later and I have two cats of my own. Both who seem to see things that aren't really there. I've even seen them arch their backs and puff out their tails. Maybe its something more.

    But yes I believe animals have the ability to sense and see things that we cannot.

  7. You know, I'm glad you wrote about this. I always think that's what I'd take with me (my Murph) to go ghost hunting. Or my cat Mr. Meow. He sensed (as did I, but in part because of him) that Death was near when our other dog, Budly, died. I always believe in my pets and their keen instincts and think maybe Animal Planet should come up with a show featuring animal ghost hunters. (Hey, if Cartoon Network can have the Othersiders, I think Animal Planet should be able to cash in too! ;)

  8. I'm behind on reading the blog post, so I just saw this (a week late). I do believe that animals have a sense that we can not see. We are taking our pug with us to Gettysburg in a few weeks when we go back up there, and I have been wondering how she is going to react. Should prove for an interesting few days.